How to start an Impact venture

“Nobody can be successful in a world that fails” — Feike Sijbesma

What is an Impact venture:

Impact Entrepreneurship refers to enterprises that are ethical, transparent and make a measurable impact at scale in the social or environmental problems they aim to tackle. Companies with the intention to generate a beneficial social and/or environmental impact alongside a financial return. We often speak of the triple bottom line: People, Planet, Profit.

Impact enterprises can be Benefit corporations but not necessarily.

Get inspired:

A selection of books to better understand the model of Impact Entrepreneurship:

  • ‘The Responsible Company: What We’ve Learned from Patagonia’s First 40 Years’ by Vincent Stanley and Yvon Chouinard
  • ‘Start Something That Matters’ by Blake Mycoskie — Note that the Buy 1 — Give 1 model pioneered by TOMS shows limitation in tackling social issues. Recommended read: “The Limits of Buy-One Give-One” by Nathan Rothstein
  • ‘Do the KIND Thing’ by Daniel Lubetzky
  • ‘The Healing Organization: Awakening the Conscience of Business to Help Save the World’ by Michael J. Gelb and Rajendra Sisodia
  • ‘The B Corp Handbook: How to Use Business As a Force for Good’ by Ryan Honeyman
  • ‘Better Business: How the B Corp Movement Is Remaking Capitalism’ by Christopher Marquis

Learn the space:

Here are some recommended courses:

Measuring & tracking Impact:

Exploring the B Impact Assessment can serve as a useful tool to map things out, even if a company is not ready to pursue the B Corp certification. It’s free to use and provides a long list of metrics and insights into their framework. That can be a good way to learn how to incorporate sustainability practices.

List of resources around B Corp certification for startups:

Getting support:

Programs from incubators, accelerators or startup studios are increasingly focusing on Impact.

We are trying to map this space. If you want to contribute to the list, go to:

Questions? Reach out on LinkedIn.

Contributions? Suggestions regarding books, resources to add to this Guide, please comment.



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Impact Business Designer | Breakthrough innovation is born from unusual combinations | Ideas shared here are rooted in ‘Small Data’ and Customer Experience.