MY FOX ORLANDO: Orlando a hotbed for "social enterprises"

By Dana Jay, Reporter - Make money and make a difference.

It's a business model called "social enterprise" and some are calling Orlando a hot bed for these emerging businesses.

The idea behind a social enterprise is that with coffee or soap or sandals you can help people or the planet.

But Orlando entrepreneurs behind them don't run charities they run businesses that are successful while also solving problems.

At "downtown credo" you can get the same concoctions you find at other coffee shops.

But when you pay you make a difference.

"We exist to improve the quality if lives. Part of the way [we] do that is by generating our own money through the coffee shop here. That's what makes us a social enterprise," said Ben Hoyer, Director of Downtown Credo.

"Credo" customers help improve the lives of people in Guatemala.

"We go down once a year, build a relationship with coffee growers, pay them an average of 30 percent better than fair trade,” said Hoyer.

His business model has been working for four years.

We've also told you about Orlando-based "rebuild globally" where artisans in Haiti make a living wage crafting sandals out of tires.

MADI Apparel began in New Smyrna Beach which stands for “Make A Difference Intimate Apparel” and helps victims of domestic violence.

At "complete the pair" shoes are a marketing tool with a purpose. They make sure footwear gets to people in need.

Rollins College recently opened a department of responsible business management and social entrepreneurship where nearly 400 students enrolled.

Professor Cecilia McInnis-Bowers says major companies are looking for graduates who can lead on social issues and this generation of students wants the job.

These students can look to their community and learn.

Hotels pay Shawn Seipler and his team to take away used toiletries.

"Clean the world started in a one car garage here in Central Florida. We're now a global company,” said Seipler. "We recycle those items and we send them to children and families all over the U.S. and all over the world who in some cases are literally dying because of lack of proper hygiene."

The Orlando-based social enterprise made 5 million dollars last year suggesting that if Orlando isn't a hotbed for these types of businesses already it may just be a matter of time.

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