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How Social Enterprise Went From Niche Market To Mainstream

Former Seventh Generation founder Jeffrey Hollender—himself a social enterprise pioneer—pays tribute to the companies who made doing good part of their mission before it was the cool thing to do.

Jeffrey Hollender, the former CEO of Seventh Generation (and a Co.Exist contributor), has been a key force in the rise of social innovation over the last decade. The key to this rise, he says, has been the realization that businesses have a role to play in making the world better. It’s an idea that was fairly alien not too long ago, until pioneering companies like Ben & Jerry’s and Patagonia reshaped people’s understanding of what a business could do. Now, instead of finding ways to add a social component to businesses, some businesses are founded strictly to create social good.

Hollender’s biggest tips for people working on their own social enterprises is to think holistically. Much of the world’s problems are complicated and interconnected; Hollender believes that innovators should try to come up with systemic instead of focused solutions.

This video is part of a series on prominent social innovators—all convened by PricewaterhouseCooper during the 2012 Social Innovation Summit—who are discussing the evolution of social innovation and offering advice to social entrepreneurs. We’ll be featuring them here on Co.Exist.

Here’s a little preview of everyone who will be featured.