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startup

The New Capitalism

The New Capitalism brings together business values and practices to make a product, make some money, and change the world. The business values that are being built into these new companies from the beginning include fair labor practices, environmental stewardship, a supply chain with a conscience and transparency, and a social justice heart. They are also using new capital funding options such as crowdfunding to build sustainability into the bones of the enterprise.

Several successful textiles industry startups are using the new models to build companies that address, first and foremost, the issues of unfair labor practices and supply chain fixing. The textile industry is the source for some of our most shameful practices, including sweatshops that use child and forced labor and keep workers living in poverty, practices to fix prices of raw materials so farmers and shepherds continue to live in poverty without access to markets, and use of hazardous materials, such as heavy metal dyes for silk and other natural fibers that bring disease and environmental degradation to communities of craftsmen.

The new models are building environmental stewardship and fair labor practices into their companies through company values that address these areas, and many are structuring a business model with both profit and non-profit arms. Everlane is a clothing company that uses what they describe as radical transparency to give consumers a look into their supply chain and factories. They recently took their Black Friday profits and turned them over, providing worker-focused benefits. A couple of shipping container hydroponic gardens will be moving across the ocean to live outside the cafeteria of the factory in Ho Chi Mihn City, where many of their clothes are made, to supply the workers with fresh leafy greens. Continue reading

engagement

Using Principles of the Engaged Workforce for a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

Here is what we know about the engaged workforce: engaged workers, those who are loyal to the business and focused at work, those who are paying attention and working hard when they are on the job, are directly related to profit in the short and long term.

Now it gets more complicated. We can’t recruit and hire for engagement, because it is not a fixed quality. A worker who appears very engaged may get disillusioned or react to the business culture by becoming disengaged. The work may not meet needs the person can hardly identify, or may interfere with critical life goals and responsibilities, such as family. We do know a great about the characteristics of disengaged employees, because they are legion and vocal. But being disengaged is no more a fixed quality than being engaged. It’s not the worker, and it’s not the workplace. It’s the way those two meet and meld, or meet and clash.

The way we can influence the culture of the workplace to cultivate engaged employees is the same way we can attract those same people to support a crowdfunding campaign. If the company, not just the product or project, but the company is something people can believe in, they will support the ideas behind that belief. People get you, they get your ideas and goals, and they want to participate and contribute.  Continue reading