You know when you meet someone new and ask where they are from and most of the time people say they’re from places like Toronto, New York, LA and so on? I find it fascinating and refreshing to hear about successful people coming from the unthinkable places. The places most of us didn’t know existed.
I’m talking, the small towns and city suburbs scattered around the world that doesn’t always get the attention they deserve. These small towns are the places that are common breeding ground for some of the most successful people to have ever walked our planet.
Sidney Crosby who is arguably the best hockey player on the planet comes from a small town on the east coast of Canada called Cole Harbour which has a population of around 26,000 people. This neck of the woods also happens to be where a very accomplished entrepreneur likes to call home, and her name is Barb Stegemann.
Influencive recently had the opportunity to chat with Barb and hear about her journey from a small region in Canada all the way to the Dragon’s Den where she landed an investment that has grown her business into an international sensation.
Stegemann came up with the idea for her business after her good friend Captain Greene returned home from the war in Afghanistan. Stegemann realized that in order to help countries in turmoil like Afghanistan there had to be a way to support them. She then found an opportunity to source organic fair trade essential oils from the region to help craft her iconic brand called 7 Virtues, which makes ethically sourced perfumes made from essential oils and all-natural ingredients.
Building a Socially Conscious Business
What stood out to me about Barb’s story is how she picked up on a trend early on that is becoming super important in business,
“It’s not only about building a business for profit but a business with a purpose.”
Stegemann was wise to incorporate an element into the 7 Virtues to support entrepreneurship and economic development in rebuilding countries like Afghanistan, Haiti, and Rwanda. Consumers are today are concerned about where products come from, how they are made, and what ingredients are put into them.
I know for myself this is something that is very important to my family me when purchasing. 7 Virtues has products that are vegan, hypoallergenic, and are not tested on animals. All the ingredients used to create her perfumes are natural and ethically sourced.
3 Tips for an Aspiring Socially Conscious Business Founder
1. Stay away from being a charity
Move towards being a business that creates jobs for your community and empowers others to excel. Building a company that hires someone, allowing them to put food on the table has a far bigger impact than just donating an item for free.
2. Find and use grants
One of the biggest deterrents from people starting any type of business is access to capital. Not all businesses need a capital investment but one thing that is very helpful in the early stages of a business is accessing grants which are basically free money from the government to help build your business. This can be extremely helpful to your business and something you can’t afford to overlook.
3. Get a mentor
You have a vision that you want to make a reality and one of the most tried and tested methods to get there is to have a mentor you can learn from who has been there. If you want to start a socially conscious company than I suggest you find a leader or entrepreneur that has done what you want to do and ask them all sorts of questions and ask if they will be your mentor as you build your idea and business into something great.
These tips and insights from Stegemann are fairly straightforward but that’s what makes her insight so authentic. Sometimes being simple and to the point is all you need to get the results you seek.
Clinton Senkow is the Co-founder & COO of Influencive where he manages and oversee’s all business development and partnership activities for Influencive. He’s also the CEO of Senkow Ventures which is a digital consultancy for high-growth startups and SMB’s, a member of the invite-only Forbes Business Development Council, and was named a “Top 20 Speaker by Forbes”. He’s also a three-time Top G20 YEA Entrepreneur representing Canada.