Milton Friedman said in The New York Times article, September 13, 1970.
When I hear businessmen speak eloquently about the “social responsibilities of business in a free-enterprise system,” I am reminded of the wonderful line about the Frenchman who discovered at the age of 70 that he had been speaking prose all his life. The businessmen believe that they are defending free enterprise when they declaim that business is not concerned “merely” with profit but also with promoting desirable “social” ends; that business has a “social conscience” and takes seriously its responsibilities for providing employment, eliminating discrimination, avoiding pollution and whatever else may be the catchwords of the contemporary crop of reformers. In fact they are–or would be if they or anyone else took them seriously–preaching pure and unadulterated socialism. Businessmen who talk this way are unwitting puppets of the intellectual forces that have been undermining the basis of a free society these past decades.
Hope Blooms is a perfect example of how there’s more to business than profit. These children are building an entire community that’s funded by their business.
Hope Blooms was founded in 2008 by Jessie Jollymore, Community Dietician in the inner city of the North End of Halifax. Working on food security issues and helping people with chronic illness, Jessie saw that simply telling people about the importance of a healthy diet wasn’t enough and that if people cannot afford to buy healthy food, they were left feeling helpless. Walking past an abandoned garden site in Warrington Park, adjacent to Uniake Square, Jessie saw an opportunity to begin a grass roots project led by youth that could enable the community to take ownership of their food sources and empower people to make a difference in their own lives and the community at large. Jessie was warned that the garden would be vandalized, or she was shrugged off as being too idealistic, but six years later with a lot of perseverance and community support, the garden is thriving with over 40 youth and their families changing their community for the better, and demonstrating that “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
How is your business increasing the value of people?
You don’t have to save the world. It can be something simple such as training your employees on a regular basis or giving parents flexible hours for family needs. There are lots of large corporations that go above and beyond for their employees. That extra effort has made for some impressive results!
Businesses are made of people. Take care of the people and they’ll take care of your business.
That’s why companies like Hope Blooms are going beyond profit to make a difference. They have involved more stakeholders than their just employees. They have engaged their investors and customers in their mission as well, which rewarded them with the cheapest and most effective form of marketing… word of mouth.