Call it Conscious Capitalism, call it Social Entrepreneurship, but in this age of faceless multi-national corporations there is a movement to business that partners with communities rather than undermining them.
When New Mexico Tea Co. needed financial capital, they called on their extensive social capital:
Edwards owns New Mexico Tea Co. near Albuquerque’s Old Town. It sells a wide variety of bulk loose leaf teas. When his bank turned him down for a line of credit recently, he turned to the loyal customer base he has built over four years.
He sent an e-mail to the 3,800 people on his newsletter list in an effort to raise $5,000. Within about 48 hours, he had raised $10,000, made up of $4,500 in “microloans” and $5,500 in gift cards that can be redeemed starting in December for slightly more than their cost.
“You don’t really know how much the community cares about you until you ask for help,” Edwards said. “Most of them had never done anything like that. But most had never been asked.”