Four finalists have been selected for the 2016 Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award presented by The Metropreneur and Rotary District 6690. This year’s finalists encompass the many forms social enterprise can take to make an impact in the Columbus community.
Read more on each of the finalists below.
Art & Clay on Main
One address in Lancaster houses two social enterprises operated by the Fairfield County Board of Developmental Disabilities. Art & Clay on Main and Square Seven Coffee House provide employment to individuals with developmental disabilities during a 10-week program designed to provide individuals with the skills they need to find employment in the community. Since 2014, 64 percent of Art & Clay’s interns are currently employed in the community or actively seeking employment.
For more information, visit artandclayonmain.com.
Through its volunteer connection platform, BESA volunteers have completed some 19,335 hours of volunteer work in high-impact opportunities at local charities. The platform is not only helping individual volunteers to corporations find opportunities and measure their impact, but recently-launched BESA Promise provides a software platform for large corporations to manage and drive their philanthropy programs. Founder Matthew Goldstein explains that the software social enterprise will not only help larger corporations, but more clients means more volunteer opportunities on the BESA platform.
For more information, visit givebesa.org.
Food For Good Thought
Food For Good Thought is providing individuals on the autism spectrum a variety of employment opportunities – and turning out delicious gluten-free baked goods to boot. Gluten-free was a strategic choice as individuals with autism are shown to have a higher instance of digestive issues, and anecdotal evidence reveals a gluten-free diet can lead to improvements in certain behaviors. It’s something Owner Dr. Audrey Todd noticed in her own son. Operating since 2008, the social enterprise offers a highly customized suite of job services, often finding its clients positions in the community.
For more information, visit foodforgoodthought.com.
Double Comfort Restaurant
Eating a meal at this Downtown restaurant does double duty. Double Comfort’s Buy a Meal, Give a Meal Program means while patrons enjoy their Southern-style dinner, proceeds are going to a local food pantry to provide a meal for someone in need. Founded in 2014 by Mary Lyski, Double Comfort has donated money for over 73,000 meals so far.
For more information, visit doublecomfortrestaurant.com.
Finalists will be honored and a winner announced at Aspire 2016 on Thursday, September 15 at Studio 35. Aspire is presented with support from The Center for Social Enterprise Development, Columbus Chamber of Commerce, ECDI and SalesFuel. Tickets are $10 and are available online via eventbrite.