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Ecuador High Society

There is a new form of  Ecuador high society being created by certain types of micro businesses.

High society used to be defined as an upper class, group of people at the top of a social hierarchy or  socialites, people of social prominence, who spend significant resources entertaining and being entertained.

This is no longer high society.  Not to me.

I have been in Quito speaking at International Living’s Ultimate Event and was pleased to see so many expats who have created businesses that do more than just try to make a buck.  Many are concerned with the environment… humanity… education…. peace.

These people and their businesses to me are high society… those who have high expectations for helping society.  Those who create positive micro businesses that help the environment and humanity.

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Here is Merri and me speaking about how to use business to help the poor.

Merri and I believe profoundly in the importance of improving the world through business. Merri over 30 years ago used to export products made by the lepers at the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Haiti and then helped orphanages in Mexico create and sell Papier Mache articles though Lilly Pulitzer outlets.   More recently we have donated the hotel Meson de las Flores (now Inn Land of the Sun) to help build the economy in Cotacachi.

Plus we regularly promote at no charge Purely Green a bio degradable non-mutagenic cleaner.

We are delighted to see more and more micro businesses moving this way.

Excerpts from an article in the American Express OPEN website entitled “3 Ways Small Businesses are Investing in Social Good” by Alexander Hotz shows three examples of how small businesses are investing in social good to partner with non-profits, raise funds and finance micro-loans. Here are excerpts.

1. Catherine Zadeh: Partnering with Non-Profits

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In 2008, high-end jewelry designer Catherine Zadeh learned that a childhood friend had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. To raise money and awareness, Zadeh fashioned a bracelet, which to her surprise raised over $60,000 for the family of her friend. Emboldened by the success of her first fundraiser, Zadeh steadily expanded her charitable work. Today she produces bracelets for 18 charities and for every piece the charity sells, Zadeh donates 30 percent of the proceeds to that charity.

2. Busam Automotive: Raising Funds Creatively

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With so many businesses now using Facebook and Twitter, setting your company apart online has become more difficult. This was the predicament facing Busam Automotive, a Cincinnati auto dealership that sponsors an annual campaign for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a foundation that promotes breast cancer research.

“When we began to plan the fundraiser we thought: how can we take this kinda boring run of the mill sponsorship and make it kinda cool and different,” said Busam Business Development Manager Andrew Shipp. The solution: creative social media tactics.

For every retweeted picture of a Busam vehicle (like this one), Busam pledged to donate $1 to the foundation. In addition, the dealership promised $10 off on an oil change and a free ticket to a charity fashion show for anyone who checked into Busam’s Nissan branch on Foursquare.

3. SRSCI: Promoting a Company Philosophy

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Jorge Fonseca Mata of the Finca Fonseca coffee farm, the largest coffee plantation in San Rafael, Costa Rica

For some small businesses, like the San Rafael Sustainable Coffee Initiative (SRSCI), social good is built into the DNA of the company. The SRSCI, a joint venture between Costa Rican coffee farmers and processing plants in the small community of San Rafael, uses micro-loans to grow the local economy while connecting growers with drinkers. The big idea behind the SRSCI is to cut out the middlemen. If customers order directly from farmers, farmers maximize their profit, thereby growing the local economy. The SRSCI also encourages (but does not require) customers to invest in a micro-loan to fund the next year’s crop.

Social Tools to Consider

While Twitter, Facebook and (to a lesser extent) Foursquare are omnipresent, there are other lesser known online tools that small businesses can use to promote social good. Below are three in no particular order.

Bolder is a platform that works with businesses interested in inspiring individuals to do what’s best for society. On Bolder’s website, businesses challenge individuals to do things like ditch bottled water for a day or bike to work. In exchange the business provides an incentive, which is usually a discount or freebie.

For the particularly activist-minded business, Act.ly is a new platform for starting an online petition via Twitter. Individuals or businesses can tweet at someone requesting that they act on an issue. The initial request appears as a tweet and its success depends on subsequent retweets.

I Shop 4 Microfinance makes it easy for online customers to donate to micro-finance foundations. Customers simply have to sign up and then shop. Four percent of all purchases are donated and, best of all, there’s no additional cost to the customer.

Everyone has to pay their bills and profit must be a part of business. Yet at the end of the day most of us feel better… more satisfied… fulfilled… if we at the end of the day have accomplished more than serve our clients and made a buck or two.

Become part of the real high society.  Create a micro business… gain everlasting wealth in more than just financial ways.

Gary

Learn how to discover your passions in business.

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Read the entire article “3 Ways Small Businesses are Investing in Social Good” by Alexander Hotz