Social Businesses: A New Frontier of Opportunity

by Juan Nava

Social entrepreneurship has seen significant growth in recent years in markets such as Mexico, United States, Canada and Europe. Unlike traditional businesses, social businesses focus on creating a positive impact and aim to solve social issues by leveraging new technologies and innovation. As a result, these projects have a long-term outlook and are commercially successful while fulfilling their social mission.

To support the growth of social businesses, many organizations and institutions have emerged, including accelerators, incubators, government institutions, investors, and startups. Some examples of these institutions in Mexico include Socialab, Incuba SocialMake Sense, Adobe Capital, IGNIAAshoka, Promotora Social México and INADEM, among others.

Real examples of social businesses in Mexico include:

  • “La Senda” – a company that aims to empower women through sustainable and ethical fashion by providing fair wage jobs and promoting environmentally friendly practices.
  • “Pronatura” – an organization focused on environmental conservation and the promotion of sustainable development through reforestation, conservation, and eco-tourism programs.
  • “Recicla2” – a company that aims to reduce electronic waste by collecting and recycling used electronics, creating jobs and reducing the environmental impact of e-waste.

In addition to Mexico, there are also several successful social businesses in United States, Canada, and Europe. Some of the well-known examples include:

  • United States: TOMS Shoes, Warby Parker, Patagonia
  • Canada: Me to We, Wellwise, Sumac Nonprofit Software
  • Europe: The Body Shop, Ben & Jerry's, Fairphone

However, to successfully run a social business, it is important to professionalize and develop entrepreneurial skills. The main challenges faced by social entrepreneurs include a lack of trust in the social vision of the business, a lack of strategies to present the project objectively to potential sources of support, competition with traditional businesses whose sole aim is profit, a lack of a competitive concept that generates both social impact and profits, and a lack of ability to create a scalable and profitable solution.


Despite these challenges, the outlook for social businesses is favorable as the incentive for success is double: to eradicate a social issue and generate profits at the same time, with the most efficient way of doing so being through more sustainable models.

To encourage new social startups, consider these business ideas:

  • An online marketplace connecting local farmers and consumers, promoting sustainable agriculture and reducing food waste.
  • A waste management company that uses innovative solutions to reduce, reuse, and recycle waste, generating clean energy and creating jobs in the process.
  • An education platform that provides low-cost, high-quality education to underserved communities using technology and open-source materials.

If you are thinking of starting a social business or have already started but are facing some of the challenges mentioned above, feel free to reach out for help! I can assist you in turning your business idea into a reality.

For further reading and to gain a deeper understanding of social entrepreneurship, check out these resources:




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