SVN’s 25th Anniversary Celebrating Successful Advocacy for Social Business

SVN’s 25th Anniversary Celebrating Successful Advocacy for Social Business

From unheard-of to commonplace, entrepreneurs focusing on people, planet and profit

The Social Venture Network (SVN) is celebrating its 25th anniversary of advocating and promoting social businesses, and its impact is inspiring entrepreneurs to create viable businesses based on social values.

Entrepreneurs like Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez, who founded Back to the Roots, for example, were inspired by the possibilities of forming a viable business with a social mission through their college classes.


The message has grown business from a bottom line focused on profits, to a triple bottom line, focusing on people, planet and profit.

“When we graduated social business and triple-bottom-line concepts just seemed so commonplace. I had classes on it; there are tons of groups out there doing it,” Arora says.

“It just seemed obvious, and to me that’s the biggest thing that blows my mind as I learn more about it – 25 years ago this was absolutely crazy, ridiculous talk in the business community.”

Today, Arora, Velez and their team are on target to divert and reuse 3.6 million pounds of coffee grounds through 2012 and their gourmet mushroom kits are sold in more than 300 Whole Foods stores across the United States.

Their green business is booming and much of the credit for making it possible to venture into social business with confidence rests with SVN and the early pioneers who weren’t distracted by the constraints of a profit-at-all-cost mentality.

“SVN is like the Godfather of this movement,” Arora says.

“They showed that you can do business a better way.”

But it’s not just the business world that gets it, he adds. A shift in public consciousness now demands that business consider its impact on people and the planet.

“There’s so much more transparency and communication now, so I think that companies are being forced to get their act together because customers are so much more knowledgeable.”

The media and the public demand for information forces companies and organizations to be honest about the impact they have on the world around them, Arora says.

These factors converge to make it an ideal time for the social business movement to carry forward, Arora agrees, and his part to play at the upcoming SVN Conference is to pay tribute to the leaders who made it all possible.

For more information on the fall conference visit

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Kristian Partington

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