Social Entrepreneurship at Rainbow

Social Entrepreneurship at Rainbow

Rainbow’s Omega Middle School sixth grade class studies Social Entrepreneurship every year. In the spring the students come up with business ideas that reflect their passions, skills and support making the world a better place, whether at home or on the other side of the globe. By May they have a prototype ready to sell to family and friends on campus and based on feedback, will refine it and present at the West Asheville Farmer’s Market on May 30th.

Every Friday our Fundraising Manager and Nonprofit Development Consultant, Sara Stender, works with the sixth graders. She shares about the past week:

It has been so rewarding working with the 6th grade social entrepreneurship class this spring. This week we learned more about consciousness in business. We reflected on values – how to build businesses that represent what we believe in – and how to communicate them to our customers. Many of you saw how this is reflected in the student’s businesses that were set up on the deck last Friday. Thank you for supporting their work and for offering feedback during the final stages of research and development. The class will be selling at the West Asheville Tailgate Market on Tuesday, May 30th, from 3pm-5pm so please stop by and say hi! Some characteristics of a conscious company as defined by our sixth graders this week include:

  • Awake
  • Paying Attention
  • Offering Value
  • Trustworthy
  • Connected to the People
  • Certifications (Organic, Fair Trade)

We had a compelling conversation with Chipper Bro, who has been with Patagonia since they started in 1973! He explained the importance of transparent business practices and encouraged us to get involved with the company’s Traceable Down project. Chipper also helped us to remember that even big companies like Patagonia often start with one person and their passion. 43 years later the company is influencing other large global corporations to implement environmental and social practices that help shape a brighter future for all of us.

On Tuesday we took a field trip to The Hop ice cream factory where owner Greg and manager Gretchen really honed in on what it means to be community-driven, and how to know if a company is walking the talk. Greg shared that building relationships with their suppliers and customers is the most important thing – more than just a sale – and sourcing clean and local ingredients (even the unicorn poop!) to support the environment and the local economy. Thank you social entrepreneurs of all ages for being a beacon of hope!

A special thanks to Asheville Tourists owners and Rainbow parents, Brian and & Kali DeWine. Their gift of game tickets helped raise funds for the 6th graders to start building a Conscious Commerce Cart that will showcase social entrepreneurship for years to come!

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