Women’s History Month is upon us, dedicated to recognizing and honoring some of the most influential women and girls. We will undoubtedly see media highlights of female pioneers past and present, as companies highlight the achievements of their female employees and fierce executive leaders.
But it’s also B Corp Month, which recognizes businesses that are audited for their impact on all stakeholders, not just profitability. So make room for another worthy mention: women-owned businesses and female entrepreneurs who strive for social and environmental impact alongside profit.
According to a recent study published by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, in 2021 the overall women’s early-stage entrepreneurial activity (TEA) rate was 15.2% in the United States, up from 13.6% in 2020. Motivating many of these female entrepreneurs was the desire to make a difference – an astonishing 70.5% of those surveyed.
One such company, FoundHer, aims to combat the discrimination mothers often face when returning to work after a career break. As an entrepreneurial, woman-owned recruiting firm, FoundHer fulfills this mission by placing women and mothers with corporate clients who value flexibility and implement fair pay practices.
“When clients come to us, we’ve already crossed the threshold of having to explain career breaks on behalf of our candidates,” explains Runa Knapp, co-founder and chief business development officer. “We won’t always say yes to taking on a client. It is important for us to understand the client’s policies on supporting women through parental leave, promoting women internally, hiring women in leadership roles and implementing policies around flexibility and equal pay.”
FoundHer recently received its B Corp Certification, a private certification issued by B Lab to for-profit companies based on their “social and environmental performance.” The movement around corporations and entrepreneurs using business as a force for good has grown over the years, and according to B Lab statistics from self-reported data, approximately 40% of US-based B Corps are currently managed and led by women.
Another recent addition to the B Corp roster is The Produce Moms®, an influential brand on a mission to put more fruits and vegetables on every table. The Produce Moms® uses its content platform and brand partnerships to educate consumers about the benefits of eating fresh produce, the growing process and how to select, store and serve fresh food.
“I felt strongly that this concept of educating people online about fruits and vegetables could do amazing things and make a difference not only to stay-at-home moms like me, but to all stakeholders in the supply chain,” explains Laurie Taylor, Chief CEO and Founder of The Produce Moms®.
The company’s clients include farmers who engage with Taylor’s content and message marketing team over the course of the crop season or calendar year. Customers are evaluated on criteria such as: paying fair wages, environmental protection practices and implementing sustainable practices, among others. But just as important as the choice of suppliers and the output they produce is the message to consumers.
“The world of influencer marketing isn’t usually rooted in values: it’s rooted in metrics, money, and getting people’s faces famous. Studies show that up to 90% of people feel worse about themselves after scrolling through social media and being exposed to influencer marketing content, and we’re trying to change that.” Taylor adds.
An early adopter of integrating purpose with profit, The Tea Spot was one of the first B Corp certified companies in Colorado in 2011. As a leading tea brand for healthy hydration, founder and CEO Maria Ouspensky created the company’s social entrepreneurship model from incorporating its mission to promote health and wellness through loose leaf tea with its 10% Wellness Program. Ten percent of all profits are donated in-kind to cancer survivors and community wellness programs.
“We insist on the highest standards of food safety and quality from all our sources and suppliers. And as a Colorado-based public benefit corporation and certified B Corp, our company donates 10% of all profits to wellness,” Ouspensky said. “To date, The Tea Spot program has donated more than 1 million cups of tea and $100,000 through our 10% Wellness Pledge. One of the things I love most about our commitment is that it is so inspiring to our employees.”
FoundHer follows a similar sentiment as The Produce Moms® and The Tea Spot when evaluating their own “supply chain.”
Knapp adds, “We hold ourselves to the same standards we look for in our customers. As a purpose-driven business, we seek diverse and/or small women-owned businesses for our own vendor needs, such as legal, marketing, PR, etc. Just as we hope future customers will see our added value, we intend to provide the same opportunities to others as we do.”
By building loyalty in the supply chain, Knapp, Taylor and Uspenski have seen increases in profits, repeat customers and meaningful engagement at events and on social media, leading to real impact.
“At The Tea Spot, we define success in our business as a function of the scope of our impact in promoting wellness through tea. As a recipient of the World’s Best – Community award from the highest level B Corp, we are inspired to extend this reach to many more millions of people around the world,” concludes Ouspensky.
With women leading the charge, there will no doubt be countless other businesses that will continue to fuel the power forever.
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