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3 weeks ago

Valerie Kramis

Jul 07, 2021

Bartenders: Social Entrepreneurs


“In a world where we can be anything, let’s be someone with a purpose”.

Valerie kramis

*Valerie Kramis is a Design Strategy Specialist with over 15 years of experience in marketing, social innovation, and social entrepreneurship. She is the co-founder of Agenda28, an award-winning design studio specializing in social impact created at the Harvard Innovation Labs and currently based in New York City and Mexico City. She has led more than 50 design projects in 10 different countries, to help social initiatives advance their missions through the use of human-centered approaches and social innovation methodologies. She is the main coach of Tahona Society Collective Spirit helping teams prepare for the grand final of the competition.

It’s no secret that the vast majority of people working behind a bar have probably wondered at one time or another if they should start their own bar or a bartending-related business. 

In fact, experts agree that the path for a successful career in the hospitality industry includes developing an entrepreneurial mindset. 

But, in the midst of the start-up boom, perhaps it’s more interesting to note a new breed of entrepreneurs, people that not only would like to achieve financial independence, but to do so while creating a positive impact in our world. 

They are called social entrepreneurs and, in this article, we will explore what the term really means and why this approach is so important in the hospitality industry.



What is a social enterprise?

We can divide organizations into three main categories of business models:

  1. Traditional for-profit model, which mission is to maximize profits and payouts to shareholders. For example, an investment company that invests money on behalf of its clients intending to achieve the highest possible profit.

  1. Nonprofit or charity model which mission is to achieve a social mission without generating revenues and relying on outside funding in the forms of donations and grants. For example, The American Red Cross was created to alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies and relies on the power of volunteers, donors, and partners to fund its activities.

  1. And in the middle of the spectrum is the social enterprise model which primary reason for being is to serve the common good but, instead of relying on outside funding, generates its own income at the same time it's fulfilling its social mission. For example, Toms Shoes. Which was created to address the problem of children growing up without shoes, and created a model where every time someone purchases a pair of Toms shoes, the company donates a pair to a kid in need.

     

In between, there are hybrid models where a nonprofit can have some activities to generate income or a for-profit company can put great emphasis on becoming socially responsible, but still maintaining generating revenues as its main goal.

What is interesting about the social enterprise model is that there is no need to have separate fundraising activities which are very time-consuming since the goal is to build a self-sustaining business that can even thrive financially. 

This aspect has also legal advantages since nonprofit organizations are not allowed to pay dividends to shareholders.  In other words, you can build a project with a strong social purpose that can also help you achieve financial success.


The shift the hospitality industry needs

I personally feel very passionate about social entrepreneurship in the hospitality industry because it’s an industry that faces very complex societal and environmental challenges including responsible drinking, sexual harassment at bars, bartender life balance, food waste management, plastic reduction, just to name a few. 

Not in vain Tahona Society Collective Spirit Competition, the first-ever competition of the industry centered on social and sustainable values, had an amazing response when it was launched because there is an avid interest to make a shift in the hospitality industry. 

 And if there is a group of people that can lead the change and create a more socially conscious, equitable, and sustainable industry, is without a doubt, bartenders because they are the ones that have a first-hand understanding of the issues and the know-how to build innovative solutions that are viable at bars and restaurants.

So, imagine the power that taking advantage of the social entrepreneurship model could have to create start-ups that have the purpose to tackle the most pressing issues of the hospitality industry, and at the same time give financially sustainability and exciting professional careers to bartenders. 

This would, in fact, build a better world for future generations and that is why I strongly believe bartenders should become social entrepreneurs.

Your entrepreneurship dream is around the corner. Read the full article here.