3 Ways Social Enterprises Can Attract Millennial Investments

Money talks, and with millennials representing $2.45 trillion in spending power, corporations are paying close attention to this generation’s financial interests. Having grown up with globalization and economic disruption as the norm, millennials are interested in investing towards a more equitable future for all. One recent study found that the average millennial donates nearly $600 per year to charitable causes. This social responsibility extends beyond what millennials purchase to how the companies they support are choosing to spend their profits.

Here are a few ways social enterprises can find success among millennials:

  1. Open up an online shop with a purpose

Millennials like supporting small businesses that are less likely to exploit their workforce or cause damage to the environment. Online stores can appeal to this demographic by weaving social responsibility into their platforms. The eyewear company Warby Parker capitalized on this trend by offering stylish yet affordable prescription eyewear and committing to donate a pair of glasses for every pair sold. They also train men and women in developing countries to perform basic eye exams and sell glasses as part of their program. Since launching in 2010, the eyeglasses company has grown from an online shop to 61 retail showrooms in the United States and Canada. The Australian family-owned company Bottle 4 Bottle has a similar business model and donates bottle of premium formula to orphaned or abandoned children in need for every lotion or spray tan bottle sold.

  1. Make a significant social impact through your corporation

According to Cone Communications, 70 percent of millennials are willing to spend more on brands that support causes they care about. In order to capture this segment’s attention, companies should conduct research to find causes that fall in line with their business interests. Millennials expect transparency, so the cause should be something that business owners genuinely feel called to address.

Retail giant Target lets customers choose the cause with their Target’s Bullseye Gives Program.  They invited their sizeable Facebook community to vote on ten nonprofits over a two-week period and portioned out $3 million based on voting percentages.  Since then we’ve seen corporations like Pepsi and Chase Bank launch similar social media giving campaigns.

Meed is working to redefine financial mobility with our SocialBoost program. Through this initiative, our users have the opportunity to earn funds by referring friends and family, who sign up with one of our Member Banks.  And as Meed rolls out across more countries, SocialBoost will help every Meeder who is working towards financial security, whether they live in Latin America, Asia or North America.

  1. Expand volunteering programs for employees

As a whole, millennials are more generous with their time than previous generations. They appreciate working for companies that provide volunteer opportunities and seek employees’ input on how to engage in social causes.

Rachel Hutchisson, vice president of corporate citizenship & philanthropy at Blackbaud, a leading technology company that provides solutions to the philanthropic community, advises that, “Social responsibility and HR should work together using data gained from engagement and volunteerism surveys — to determine what programs are most compelling for each audience.”

Not only will this strategy appeal to the millennial workforce (which is estimated to grow to 75 percent of the American workforce by 2025), but it will emphasize your commitment to social causes and draw more millennial customers.

5 Social Enterprises in Southeast Asia That Are Making the World a Better Place

Southeast Asia is quickly becoming a hotspot for wandering expatriates and ambitious millennials looking to capitalize on the region’s growing support for social enterprises. Vietnam is just one country that’s taking advantage of this trend, and in 2014 the country amended enterprise laws to provide social entrepreneurs with special consideration and the ability to obtain investments both domestically and abroad. Here are a few social enterprises helping developing countries compete in a global market:

  1. Zo Paper is creating a demand for the high-quality, traditional Vietnamese “Do” paper by finding modern uses for it with lamps, notebooks, envelopes and greetings cards. This helps employ rural villagers and preserve what was a dying tradition. Zo now has a gift shop in Hanoi that sells beautifully handcrafted supplies to locals and tourists alike.
  1. Tohe encourages playfulness and creativity by repurposing children’s artworks into lifestyle products such as clothes, accessories, housewares and toys. They host creative workshops for disadvantaged children and selected artworks from those classes are then redesigned and sold to help fund their classes and scholarship programs. Tohe has locations across Vietnam including major airports.
  1. Dexterity Global is creating the next generation of leaders through educational opportunities. The social enterprise provides educational resources and training to middle schools and high schools in remote areas of South Asia. They hope to connect promising young students with opportunities that will equip them with the mentality to solve “21st-century problems with 21st-century solutions.”
  1. Based in Cambodia, FunkyJunk is an innovative social enterprise that seeks to address pollution and provide opportunities for disadvantaged communities. They upcycle plastic bags from the streets and fields and turn them into beautiful, functional, long-lasting treasures.
  1. Founded in Singapore in 2014, WateROAM develops simple, portable, and affordable water filtration solutions to significantly improve access to clean drinking water. This enterprise promotes social change in rural areas and helps bring about quick access to clean drinking water at disaster-hit locations.

Once upon a time, doing social good was mostly restricted to charities. But in today’s world, social enterprises make it possible to do good and support local and global economies at the same time. As a social enterprise in Vietnam ourselves, we’re glad to be in good company!