Social purpose means business for entrepreneurs

Robb Price turned his desire to give back to his community into a healthy business.

Social purpose means business for entrepreneurs

Robb Price found his purpose in life when he turned his attention to community investment.

Mr. Price, 34, is an award-winning social entrepreneur and the founder of Calgary-based DeliverGood Inc. DeliverGood connects people and companies that have items to donate with charities and non-profit organizations that have a need for those items.

As a social purpose business, DeliverGood is neither a charity nor a typical for-profit organization. Rather it is a crossing of the lines between these two disparate business models.

Whether addressing global or local issues such as affordable housing, sustainable agriculture, poverty reduction, green energy, or job creation, social purpose businesses solve a social issue at their core, yet combine financial and social return on investment.

They present a win-win solution for all involved, and that is certainly the case with DeliverGood.
While Mr. Price has a decade of entrepreneurial marketing and public relations experience working with small communities and charities, the idea for DeliverGood and becoming a social purpose entrepreneur was purely accidental, arising after a devastating incident.

Just two weeks after starting a contract with The Doorway charity in Calgary, a fire ravaged the building, destroying furniture and office equipment. Mr. Price was tasked with finding replacement equipment and getting the organization back on its feet. But spreading the word about what was needed proved more difficult than he had anticipated.

“I looked for a solution but none existed. So I spent the next year developing a plan for what is now DeliverGood,” he says.

Today, the DeliverGood website has over 350 participating charities with wish lists for goods, volunteer time, and money that are all desperately needed. Donations have included such diverse items as a poured cement pad, 1,200 meatballs, vehicles, office furniture and countless other items.

DeliverGood also has connections with companies such as Cenovus, who hire them to manage their in-kind giving programs. This is how the business is sustained, addressing its financial bottom line. To pay it forward, one per cent of DeliverGood’s pre-tax profits are donated to charitable funding efforts in the community.

It was the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) that gave Mr. Price the support he needed to succeed – not only with startup funding, but through mentoring and its commitment to social purpose businesses.
“When I decided to start another business, CYBF was the first place I turned to,” he says. “I knew that their mentorship was priceless and that they were there to support me, especially in creating a business plan and answering my questions.”

Through CYBF’s Business Resource Centre, other young entrepreneurs now have access to valuable online resources to help them start their own social purpose businesses.

“Young entrepreneurs are showing an incredible desire to blend the two ends of the traditional spectrum (for-profit and charitable organizations). They have a passion for social purpose but are unsure about how to translate it to the bottom line,” says Tessa Mintz, CYBF Vice President, Volunteers and Programs.

“We have created a series of resources that allow those who are considering social entrepreneurship to really understand what they are getting into. It’s a place where they can hear from like-minded people that are living the social purpose journey, connect with a vast and growing community, and learn from one another,” she says.
The resources, available at, provide help throughout the entrepreneurial process, from concept to launch and beyond. These include video case studies, a social purpose business infographic, tools to help choose the right business structure, and indicators to measure the social and economic value that is being delivered. The resources have been created in partnership with The Trico Charitable Foundation.

To complement its social purpose business resources, CYBF offers an extensive mentoring program.
“Mentoring is the cornerstone of young entrepreneurial success,” says Ms. Mintz. “We have over 1,400 active mentors who meet with entrepreneurs at least monthly to support them in their journey and to connect them with the information they need. We appreciate that entrepreneurs may initially come to us for funding, but they leave saying ‘I couldn’t have done it without my mentor.’”

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