“The world is before you and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in.”
— James Baldwin
Whether you are creating a business plan, a strategic plan, a marketing plan, an event plan, or a plan for world-change, you have to start with your vision. A client I worked with once describes this as the world that you dream about, the hope that gets you out of bed in the morning — the way things would be if the world were perfect. Vision, by its very definition, is something that is too big to ever really accomplish, but for social entrepreneurs, it is the part of us that believes it can be accomplished that strives to create businesses to solve some of the world’s greatest injustices.
The entrepreneurs in this series share a common vision: a world where the color of your skin does not determine your access, success, or hope. Each one of them is doing what activists have always done: reframing the narrative, debunking social myths, sharing untold stories, and questioning the current power structures. What’s different —and speaks to the unique point in history that we are experiencing — is that they aren’t doing it by marching, protesting, rallying, or organizing. They are doing it by creating brands that provide services and products.
Much like activists have done for decades, they saw a gap and figured out how to fill it. They are also creating communities of people who share their vision and agree that the model they are using is a good way to achieve it. They are figuring it out as they go, relying on the wisdom of their experience and ancestors, honoring their history, juggling multiple commitments, raising money, and waking up tomorrow to do it all again.
They are refusing to take the world as it is and will surely not leave it that way when they are done.
Bold Insight #1:
When local goes global, communities transform.
This insight is embodied by Constance Panton, Founder of Bifties — a custom gift-box site that allows consumers to create a gift using products that come exclusively from premium Black-owned brands. Read more of her story here.
Bold Insight #2:
Self-love will lead the revolution.
Bold Insight #3:
Design will save the world. Typography will tell the story.
This insight is embodied by Tré Seals, Founder of Vocal Type — diversifying design and preserving culture by crafting typefaces derived from some of the most famous global protest movements. Read more of his story here.
Bold Insight #4:
Redefining pleasure gives power to the people.
This insight is embodied by Robyn Crawford, Founder of Eden Books — the only online bookstore and social media platform dedicated to romance and women’s literature is all about redefining pleasure. Read more of her story here.
Bold Insight #5:
Refusing to choose between two unacceptable options is a revolution.
This insight is embodied by Sailaja Joshi, Founder & CEO of Mango & Marigold Press — an award-winning independent publishing house bridging the diversity gap in children’s literature and working to bridge the accessibility gap. Read more of her story here.
Bold Insight #6:
The revolution will put you in the driver’s seat.
This insight is embodied by Lourdes Perez Ramirez, President & Co-founder of DuGudd Corporation — a digital Spanish newspaper, covering all aspects of running a business and sharing the stories of women who are doing it. Read more of her story here.
Bold Insight #7:
Changing the flow dismantles the roots.
This insight is embodied by Paul Kim, a former Wall Street wiz turned Senior Fellow at The City College of New York — who is working to provide clarity on the root causes of racial and gender inequity: our flawed system and how capital flows. Read more of his story here.
LaKay Cornell is a culture critic, writer, speaker, and feather-ruffler. She is on a mission to change the way we create change. Using her unique combination of exciting anecdotes and enticing data, she positions her clients’ work in the context of the social problem they are solving. LaKay also writes, speaks and moderates discussions on Intersectional Feminism, the Language of Empowerment, and Womxn’s Entrepreneurship. To learn more, visit lakaycornell.com.