Tuesday evening, Goizueta room W320 became a mini food court of sorts.
Worthwhile Wine Company’s wines, High Road Craft’s ice cream, El Carrizal’s homemade jams, Tamale Queen’s authentic Mexican street food, Sugar-Coated Radical’s artisan chocolates, and one-of-a-kind handmade baskets by the Bhutanese Basket Cooperative, were all on display — as was an entrepreneurial spirit.
To be specific, social entrepreneurism: the idea business owners can operate with a purpose and be profitable.
On hand for the event were BBA and MBA students from Peter Roberts’s social enterprise classes. Roberts, Associate Professor of Organization and Management as well as the leader of Goizueta’s Social Enterprise Initiative, hoped students would see not only that entrepreneurs can “have business aspirations made more laudable because their primary interest is doing something good for others,” but that meeting and talking with entrepreneurs would make “ideas of social entrepreneurism become real.”
After each organization offered a brief explanation of his or her operation, students circulated the room, asked questions and sampled products such as the tamales doled out by Tamale Queen, a restaurant and food truck business with the company tag line: “Feel Good Mexican. On Wheels.”
An offshoot of Fugees Family, Inc., a non-profit organization devoted to working with child survivors of war, Tamale Queen’s profits help support the Fugees Family organization. According to Tamale Queen co-founder Bouran Quadummi, the company employs mothers of the child survivors.
Tamale Queen’s first truck hits the streets in April.
Launched in 2010 by Keith Schroeder and Hunter Thornton, High Road Craft Ice Cream, Inc., an organic, local specialty ice cream and sorbet outfit, caters to high-end restaurants and outlets. Schroeder was on hand with ice cream samples and advice for students.
To date, High Road’s wares are in 100 establishments. This summer products will make a debut at Whole Foods Market.
A well-known Atlanta pastry chef, Taria Camerino is co-founder of Sugar-Coated Radical, a socially conscious company that creates chocolate confections such as “Black Lava Salt Caramel.” She explained the company works only with those Fair Trade suppliers that practice sustainability, provide organic alternatives and pay a fair wage.
Tom Lynch, the founder of Worthwhile Wine Company, is a successful entrepreneur who’d founded and sold a marketing research company. With Worthwhlle Wine, Lynch aims to operate a triple bottom line business that generates profits, helps people and is good to the planet.
Introduced to kudzu while planting a community garden in late 2009, a group of Bhutanese refugees decided to turn one man’s headache into a business — basket weaving. To date, the Bhutanese Basket Cooperative has sold $30,000 worth of kudzu-based products. While helping fund a cause, it also serves a purpose. Noted Craig Gilbert, the volunteer manager of the Bhutanese Basket Cooperative.
“It really helps teach [the refugees] about capitalism,” he said.
Ellen Williams, Project Manager of the Social Enterprise Initiative’s 2010 trip to Nicaragua introduced a sampling of jams produced by El Carrizal Jam Cooperative in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. The jams are made from locally-grown fruit and processed in El Carrizal by local women.
Student Jessica Crawford [MBA 12] was impressed with the entrepreneurs on hand.
“It has to be a great product, not just a great cause,” she said, digging a knife into a jar of El Carrizal jam. “You have to be able to compete. If it’s not a good product, it’s not going to be sustainable.”
– Allison Shirreffs