Venturing Into Social Entrepreneurship

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(New York Times) — With the economy still struggling, it may seem like an impossible time to start a do-good social venture. It can be hard enough to operate any business profitably — let alone one that also tries to improve the world. But some observers believe that the tough times may be increasing interest in social ventures.  “I get the sense that the recession actually has resulted in more people taking interest in investing in companies that are doing the right thing right from the start,” said Wes Selke, investment manager at Good Capital, a social-impact venture capital firm in San Francisco. As one indicator, at least three social-impact funds have raised more than $100 million in the last couple of years: Ignia Fund, Leapfrog Investments and MicroVest.  Marrying mission and money in one business can be tricky. This guide focuses on commercial, profit-making businesses and entrepreneurs who want to build self-sustaining social ventures, a term that encompasses nonprofit and profit-making companies as well as some new types of legal hybrids, like an L3C, which stands for low-profit limited liability company.

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