Dominik Loncar, CYBF Entrepreneur-in-Residence,

Social purpose businesses are on the rise and are generating interest for start-ups. Generally they require more thought, planning and execution but offer a high degree of fulfillment. Twenty One Toys is a great example of such a business and one of the recipients of the Spin Master Innovation Fund.

Twenty One Toys is re-imagining toys as tools to teach the skills that matter to the twenty-first century: empathy, creativity, collaborative learning, innovation and problem solving. Founder Ilana Ben-Ari, an industrial designer turned social entrepreneur, is indicative of a new wave of business owners who are educated, collaborative, connected and driven for social change.

The business model is also dramatically changing. Twenty One Toys is:

  • Multi-platformed through presenting and selling at conferences, Ted talks, collaborating with other organizations, social media, educational institutions and businesses;
  • Multi-targeted by selling to businesses, HR practitioners, educators, non-profits and facilitators;
  • Mixed in their revenue streams by selling workshops, products, consulting and licensing rights;
  • Multi-locational because they have worked out of studios and offices in Montreal, Helsinki, London, and Toronto; and
  • Multi-skilled with their roster of designers, teachers, researchers, activists, and business types to tap into.

Yet all of this serves a larger purpose of re-imagining toys as tools for social change, organizational change, educational change and more. It’s time to re-think, re-imagine, and re-create the business model as we know it. Check out a video on Twenty One Toys to learn more.

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