Meet the finalists for the 9th Annual Social Enterprise of the Year Award



Aspire returns as an in-person celebration of the social enterprise community in central Ohio on Friday, September 17, 2021. The evening will not only include an interview with Bill Tucker, executive director of Flywheel Social Enterprise Hub in Cincinnati, but the ninth Annual Social Enterprise of the Year Awards, presented by The Metropreneur and SocialVentures.

Learn more about the two awards that will be presented at Aspire 2021 and meet the finalists whose social enterprises improve the community every day through their employment models, donations and more.

The Emerging Social Enterprise of the Year Award recognizes local for-profit businesses, independent non-profit organizations or businesses of an existing non-profit organization with a social mission that have been in the early stages of their business development or operational for less than 18 months.

180 Demo

Stemming from longtime social enterprise CleanTurn, 180 Demo was officially launched in 2020, providing selective demolition services for the commercial construction industry. 180 Demo not only provides secure professional services, but also support employment and a stepping stone into the construction industry for those previously incarcerated.

180 Demo’s supportive employment model helps its employees achieve important goals on the road to self-sufficiency, such as obtaining a driver’s license, finding housing, or seeking help with drug addiction. 180 Demo works directly with those inmates who will soon be released to help put them on the path to sustainable employment and reduce recidivism. The social enterprise focuses on the importance of creating a positive and successful work environment in the first 90 days and recently increased its 90-day retention rate from 50% to 80%. Additionally, more than 25% of Demo’s 180 employees have experienced positive attrition, moving on to other paying jobs – a statistic they hope to increase as they expand to other locations across the world. State and country.

Tenant mentor

The coronavirus pandemic has put even more emphasis on the affordable housing crisis in the country. In central Ohio alone, there are more than 54,000 affordable housing units and more than 3,000 homeless people. Renter Mentor wants to help close this gap by bringing clarity and efficiency to the affordable housing market through its website which helps connect landlords and renters. Renter Mentor is not limited to connections, but provides support services to the owners and owners it recruits into the ecosystem, as well as the residents they serve through temporary assistance in matters of. rental and utilities, advocacy and more.

Since its launch in 2020, Renter Mentor has recruited over 70 homeowners and connected over 200 households to housing. Focusing on advocacy, Renter Mentor has hosted over 25 affordable housing workshops and witnessed income source legislation for communities around central Ohio.

What is waffle

What the Waffle recently took a milestone by any business standards: celebrating a year since the doors of their King-Lincoln District restaurant opened – in the midst of a global pandemic. And What the Waffle achieved that goal while providing employment opportunities for young women coming out of the foster care system.

What waffle owner Gayle Troy has facilitated work preparation workshops at Franklin County Children’s Services for empowering women and has also provided direct employment opportunities to young women through her restaurant. Over the past year, What the Waffle has created five part-time positions, training employees on new skills and introducing them to individuals, agencies and organizations that can help with housing, higher education and full-time employment. Two of What the Waffle’s employees have enrolled in higher education institutions, with training to take the next step as restaurant manager. Troy hopes to increase the number of women she can help with a second location that includes dining room seating.

The Social enterprise of the year award recognizes social enterprises of any structure with a social mission and demonstrable impact that have also helped name social enterprise as a means of doing business in central Ohio.

Franklinton Cycle Works

Franklinton Cycle Works is more than just a full-service bicycle store, but has become an important community resource for those facing insecure transportation. For more than a decade, the store has offered free access to education and cheap bicycles, parts and accessories. The holistic social enterprise approach enables cyclists to use bikes to their full potential by helping them not only to be safe through bike maintenance, but also to ride safely through educational opportunities .

In 2021 alone, Franklinton Cycle Works welcomed over 2,000 visitors to its store, sold over 400 low-cost bikes and donated hundreds more. Twenty chronically poor people were provided with free bikes, locks, lights and helmets in partnership with other Columbus nonprofits. Events such as Bike School and Community Rides have also helped nearly 200 people learn everything from how to fix their own bikes to how to cycle the city streets. Recently, Franklinton Cycle Works solidified its place in the neighborhood by purchasing and renovating the building that houses its store.

Growlers Dog Bones

After being named Emerging Social Business of the Year in 2017, Growlers Dog Bones continued their mission of providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Growlers are now working with nearly two dozen breweries in central Ohio to turn their dregs into dog bones, made and cooked by the five employees of the social enterprise. In addition to a growing retail presence in local stores and breweries, Growlers Dog Bones can be found at events where employees have the opportunity to interact with customers.

Selling at events is just one way for Growlers to help their employees develop their skills. Employees are also involved in tasks such as delivery and are encouraged to be creative in developing new products, which has added Meowers, a catnip spray, to their product line. Now working in the space at Mitchell Hall at Columbus State Community College, Growlers is seeking agency status from the Department of Developmental Disorders to facilitate substantial growth in skills training and potential employment.

The Roosevelt Foundation

A cup (or a sachet!) Of coffee that feels good! The Roosevelt Foundation, which includes The Roosevelt Coffeehouse as well as Roosevelt Coffee Roasters, uses coffee to fight the injustices of hunger, unsafe water and human trafficking.

Since 2015, the Roosevelt social enterprise has grown into two cafes and a licensed location, and has started its own roast. Through its profit-giving social business model, The Roosevelt’s impact has been felt around the world. The purchasing power of roasting has supported coffee producers in Kenya and Ethiopia, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. Despite the challenges of 2020, The Roosevelt donated more than ever – over $ 42,000 to various organizations and funds that provided thousands of meals, supplies and more to those in need. The social enterprise also kept frontline healthcare workers on caffeine during the pandemic, donating some 1,700 bags of coffee.

Aspire 2021 will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, September 17 at the Brick House Blue in Dublin. The event is made possible thanks to the support of Social enterprises and Barnes & Thornburg.

For more information and to buy your tickets for $ 15, Click here.

Thanks to the event sponsors SocialVentures and Barnes & Thornburg LLP


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