PATHFINDER Starts 2018 Strong

2018 has started strong at PATHFINDER, from new advisory board members to new international memberships. We’re also very proud to announce we’ve been invited to the prestigious American Express Leadership Academy Global Alumni Summit 2018!

This year’s American Express Leadership Academy Global Alumni Summit, held in New York on April 16-17, convenes 72 social purpose leaders from around the world. While there, we will have the opportunity to connect with these extraordinary civic trailblazers and learn so much.

For more on this and other exciting things we’re up to, see our latest newsletter below.

We have some exciting things to share!

First and foremost, we’re so happy to welcome to our Board of Advisors, Joel Solomon and Neeraj Jain.

Joel is one of Canada’s greatest and most influential impact investors. Neeraj is a successful lifetime entrepreneur and investor. Both gentlemen have informally guided PATHFINDER since the very beginning… since we were just an idea, really. It is our great honor to have the gentlemen onboard.

Next, we were recently selected for a couple of prestigious events.  Shivani was accepted to the American Express Leadership Academy Global Alumni Summit 2018. This year’s American Express Leadership Academy Global Alumni Summit convenes 72 social purpose leaders from around the world. While there, we will have the opportunity to connect with these extraordinary civic trailblazers and learn so much.

Jessica now represents us as a member of the prestigious Institute of Directors (IoD), an organization for company directors, senior business leaders and entrepreneurs. The IoD is the UK’s longest running organization for professional leaders (founded in 1903) and stands for “free enterprise, entrepreneurialism, wealth creation and good corporate governance.” We look forward to attending many engaging events and networking with other IoD members in the UK and beyond.

And for those who haven’t checked it out yet, we started the year with our first HuffPost publication. Most recently, we were featured on Your Mark On The World Center for our interview with Purpose Capital Co-Founder, Assaf Weisz.

Finally, we are proud to report that our former placement student, Beccy, is carrying forward PATHFINDER’s values. This autumn, she’ll be in Kathmandu to volunteer as a researcher for Street Child UK, a charity that aims to create educational opportunities for the world’s most vulnerable children. And, she’s cycling there! In order to fundraise for her time in Nepal, Beccy will embark on a solo cycling trip from London to Kathmandu. This 100-day journey will take her through 16 countries and various terrains. We’re rooting for you Beccy!

Slow, But Steady: The Growth of Impact Investing and Social Enterprise

By Shivani Singh

In January this year, we connected with Purpose Capital’s co-founder, Mr. Assaf Weisz, to check in on the (financial) health of the Impact Investing space. Sure, we hear more and more about how interested financiers and indeed, young people are, in the idea of socially driven business or financial models. But what does this interest look like out there, in reality, and on the field?

Mr. Weisz began Purpose Capital with two other founders “back in the year when The Rockefeller Foundation coined the phrase ‘impact investing’”. Since then, he’s developed a decade of expertise in his field. He’s the perfect person to discuss industry developments with.

What are the overall trends in the space of financing for social purpose businesses?

Mr. Weisz reckons that while functioning, the space is still small.  There has been a steady increase in the number and even caliber of entrepreneurs. There’s been an increase in the number and variety of investors. There’s been an increase in infrastructure for the space. The entire development universe has grown.

“But, it all still remains relatively small compared to where it should be.”

It all began with a bunch of social entrepreneurs who had a hard time accessing capital because there was so little of it, Mr. Weisz explains. Then, slowly, investors started joining. First it was the few interested Angels and Foundations.  There were a small number of deals. And they were willing to accept lower returns for a higher social outcome. Purpose Capital has worked to increase the visibility of social entrepreneurs (“SocEnts”) and educate investors since this beginning.

But then things began to change. People wanted profit and social impact, compromising on neither. Indeed, they began to focus on building sound businesses that could also create impact, not just settling for one idea over the other. It’s been a few decades. Still, realistically and honestly speaking, social enterprises continue to struggle with capital.

There has however, been a more recent change from the last few years that is important.  Mr. Weisz elaborates that back in the day, most deals were done on the private market. These were conducted behind closed doors, with a lucky few finding each other. But increasingly, there is retail funding available. Retail funding includes a myriad of fresh financial models including the more popular one, crowdfunding. Also there are more public names getting involved. There are networks and exchanges now. No longer are social entrepreneurs and their financiers isolated to a lucky few private transactions. Social finance deals have begun to enter the mainstream world.

Often, financiers would like to fund innovation but insist on proven success. Innovation, proven at scale, in a young industry, is hard to come by. How do we get past this trap?

“That’s a tough one,” acknowledges Mr. Weisz. He gives it a few moments of thought and speaks again. It depends on the type of innovation too, he says. For instance, governments have historically been the most accessible and reliable for scientific innovation. Finding funding for business model innovation is definitely harder. Angels are always an option, though one must find the right connection. Investment also varies by place. Canada, for example, has been more risk averse than America. So there are options but in reality, for most, it is difficult to sell an idea in the space of global development.

So realistically, when will things change?

Like in the case of other great changes, a bunch of things need to happen to make a sizeable shift. For one thing, there has been a lot of focus and growth in the innovation economy over the past few decades, which is quite promising. Secondly, the growth of the industry will play a big role in its own shift. He explains, consider Silicon Valley. The investors in their industry come from within it. They started out as technology entrepreneurs who became successful and found their way to the top, to becoming power players and influencers. By contrast, prior generations of Toronto based tech investors came from backgrounds in banking or business in general, often finding themselves in uncharted territory.  Similarly, we need more social entrepreneurs to become influential power players, to bring attention and resources to our lot.

As a veteran of the industry who’s seen it grow from nothing, what are you most looking forward to in the impact investing world?

Mr. Weisz is excited for all the budding opportunities to come to fruition, of course. But what he most looks forward to is,“for the concept of social entrepreneurship to increasingly become invisible.” He elaborates that he looks ahead to a time when social impact and profit are so interwoven that there is no such thing as business without impact. A time when all entrepreneurs are impactful and all enterprises deliver both, financial and social success. A time when business, as a concept, has changed entirely because of what we do today.

This is no small dream to dream, Mr. Weisz, and indeed, it is a brave one. But then again, he knew about the industry before it was an industry. And so, we end the conversation on a note of hope.

This article was first published in

Keep it simple, make an impact

Meeting in Toronto

The new year is well underway and we started things off right! Although we work on different continents, in different time zones, one of our best strengths has always been making the distance work to our advantage. With Jess in France and Shivani in Canada, we’ve been lucky to each cover a vast area which has created many opportunities for us.

However, every now and again, we do get together. Last month, we met in Toronto for some face-to-face meetings about PATHFINDER’s goals and vision for 2018. It was pretty great to re-charge and re-focus for the year ahead. And we had a lot of fun, as we do, when we’re together!

Just like everyone else, there’s a lot we want to accomplish this year. But if there’s one message we’d like to convey, it’s this:

Keep it simple, choose one cause and make an impact! It’s easy to get swept up in the seemingly endless negative news we hear about the state of the world. If we each choose one cause that has meaning to us, and we help in every way we can (whether it be financially, through advocacy, volunteering, etc), we will collectively make a difference.

It’s making that first step and getting involved that will create impact, even for the most insurmountable of causes.

So go, get started! Do your best! And don’t forget to have a good time.


A New Year, An Old Crisis

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The Refugee Crisis and Millions of Wasted Resources

As 2018 begins, we are filled with hope and expectations for the New Year. Many are optimistic that we are on our way to solving some of the world’s greatest challenges. And while steps forward are being taken, there is no immediate solution or end to the suffering for the millions of refugees and displaced people.

With this in mind, we felt it crucial to keep the dialogue going and started the year with a HuffPost article; a look at a way forward through this crisis.

The first step to finding lasting solutions is having the right conversations.


Another year has gone by…

And we would like to thank you for your support in 2017!

It has been another busy year for PATHFINDER. Highlights include our first humanitarian mission bringing aid to child refugees of Syria, being invited to the prestigious Emerging Innovators Bootcamp by Ashoka and the American Express Leadership Academy, and being awarded a scholarship to attend the Social Venture Institute’s gathering at Hollyhock, Victoria.

We published several articles of which we are proud, and we made a variety of new partnerships.

PATHFINDER’s Reach: We have now had many visitors online, some from the furthest parts of the world. This realization comes with a tremendous sense of humility and responsibility. There’s nothing we desire more than to serve well.

Looking on, 2018 is shaping up to be another exciting year for us. We’ll be entering our third year, and while we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished in a short time, we’re focused on a future full of tremendous potential. 

Thank you, so very much; and until the next time, we wish you happy holidays and a wonderful new year! 

Reflecting On Our First Student Training Experience

By Jessica van Thiel

When we came across the Surrey Business School’s renowned Professional Training placement programme last year, we immediately wanted to participate. The opportunity to train and work with the best students was one that we were passionate about. And so, we became one of more than 2,300 organizations that have partnered with the University to give students valuable work placements around the world.

We are passionate and committed to what we do so it was important to us to engage someone who reflected the same values and work ethic as we did. After finding the right fit, we selected a student for the position of Business Development Analyst who started in the autumn of 2016 to work with us in Canada and France, at each of our offices, with each of our founding partners.

The economics major worked closely with us on various tasks from business development and outreach, research and industry applications, to investment summaries of our partner projects in India, Nepal and Namibia, and Ghana.

The experience was rewarding as we all learned a lot throughout the year. We learned about our teaching and training styles, how to work efficiently and effectively in a team, re-evaluating our priorities and how to best communicate them, and so much more.

The most enriching part of the experience came after our student completed her placement. Upon returning to the UK, we heard from her family, who conveyed their appreciation for the experience:

It was wonderful to hear her speaking so enthusiastically about her future. You have definitely inspired her. She speaks with such admiration and I truly believe you have been an excellent role model to her during this rather crucial time. She is now speaking about finding a good job, doing a Masters Degree and her focus is in a much better place than before she left for France. You have contributed to her more positive mindset. As parents we just wanted to send you both a sincere thank you.”

It’s incredibly rewarding to know that we’ve made an impact on someone’s life. If she’s left the experience even a little more aware, a little more inspired, and a little more committed, we are grateful. Because every person we are able to reach means the world to us!

PATHFINDER has been selected for the AMEX and Ashoka Emerging Innovators Bootcamp!


PATHFINDER has been selected for the prestigious Emerging Innovators Bootcamp, by Ashoka and the American Express Leadership Academy. 100 people are chosen to attend from around the world, 20 of whom are from North America. It’s still a bit hard to believe that we were chosen to participate in this incredible event!

This is big for us; just to put it in perspective, Ashoka Fellows become world leaders and win Nobel Peace Prizes. So for them to have even noticed us and chosen us for such a selective event is validation of our passion and work. We’re just so amazed and so excited! See here for the complete list of this year’s participants.

For more on what we’ve been up to check out our latest newsletter!

PATHFINDER is excited to announce we’ll be attending the Social Venture Institute in B.C.!

PATHFINDER has a very busy fall ahead, with engagements spanning across Canada and the US (stay tuned for more)!

One of the opportunities we’ll be involved with is the Social Venture Institute at Hollyhock, B.C. this September. SVI is a practical, problem-solving alternative “business school” within a confidential and supportive setting. This program is for CEOs, Executive Directors, Founders, key staff, social entrepreneurs, and emerging leaders of all kinds.

We look forward to joining other mission-based entrepreneurs from across sectors and generations for a five-day, dynamic gathering to share goals, challenges and successes.

Hollyhock exists to inspire, nourish and support people who are making the world better.

We can’t wait!

A Fight We Can Win: Eradicating Poverty by 2030

By Shivani Singh

The human race has never been better off. We’re healthier, we’re smarter, we live longer, we’ve made immense progress in the sciences, and collectively, we’re more prosperous than we’ve ever been. Yet, we’re very aware that we’ve still got a long way to go. Turn on the news and it’s awash with reminders of our failings. As the Boomers hand over controls to the younger generations, great shifts are underway. The challenges humanity faces today are remnants of the most pervasive older ones, like hunger and poverty, combined with some newer ones, like climate change. There are renewed calls for commitments, fresh perspectives and creative solutions everywhere. Leading these, is the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda, “a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity.”[*] And of these SDGs, Poverty is the foremost. The United Nations, the world’s premier governing body “recognize(s) that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.”

 The first Sustainable Development Goal aims to “End poverty in all its forms everywhere”.

Poverty has been around for as long as we have governed ourselves. We aren’t the first few generations to have tried to fight it, either. So what makes poverty so difficult to overcome, especially where societies are successful and governments mean well? We reckon a key reason is that poverty is less a standalone issue in itself and more an amalgamation of other, incredibly complex issues. In fact, persistent poverty is usually an indicator of one or more other social issues that concern inadequate education, economic opportunity and good governance.  In effect, we’re saying that getting a handle on poverty requires, to some degree, getting a handle on education, healthcare, economics, equality and governance. The exact formula is delicate enough to have evaded us for centuries. And even then, it’s not all that’s required.

We chatted with RESULTS board member, Pankaj Agarwal, about ending extreme global poverty in our lifetime

He shares a Board of Directors seat with Nobel Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus and contributes 10% of his household income to the organization annually, but Pankaj Agarwal tends to introduce himself as a volunteer at RESULTS. A registered nonprofit organization, “RESULTS is a movement of passionate, committed everyday people. Together they use their voices to influence political decisions that will bring an end to poverty.” Pankaj began his work with RESULTS back in 2008, but that is not the beginning of his story as an advocate of poverty alleviation and eradication.

When he was a four or five year old boy growing up in New Delhi, Pankaj remembers walking with his mother, on a cold and foggy winter day, excited about having bought himself a new sweater. He recalls they “walked past a child my age shivering, hugging himself for warmth as he begged for food and money.” Pankaj asked his mother if he could give the boy his own sweater since he had many more, and as soon as his mum agreed, Pankaj peeled off his sweater and gave it to the cold child on the street. Immediately, several other children, also freezing and hungry, came running out for sweaters. This was Pankaj’s first understanding of not only the fact that there were so many who had so little but also, that he was so small and so powerless against a great big problem. He grew up, like many Indians, averting his eyes from poor people everywhere. And they were everywhere in India.

In 1983, Pankaj was invited by a friend to attend an event by The Hunger Project, where he learned that 35 million people were dying of hunger and poverty every year, and 28 million of them were children. He also learned that “according to the United Nations there was enough food in the world to feed everyone (this research was from the 1970s, more than 40 years earlier)! What was missing was the political will to get the job done.” He had spent his life until that point being aware of a greater problem and feeling guilty for being powerless against it. “Suddenly, I felt whole again – there was something that I could do to end the suffering that I had tried desperately to hide from.” And so, at the age of 17, Pankaj became a participant in the fight against poverty.

We wanted to learn from Pankaj about his experiences and his long commitment to a fight that – if we’re honest – can be so intimidating, difficult, and hopeless. The following is the conversation that ensued.

What distinguishes RESULTS from others in the field, especially those working towards eradicating poverty?

RESULTS is a key participant in the fight against poverty. And for several reasons, not the most important of which are…

  1. RESULTS is fully committed to the World Bank’s goal of ending extreme global poverty by 2030.
  2. As far back as 1977, research indicated that while we have the capacity to end extreme poverty, the political will is missing. RESULTS tackles this issue explicitly. The organization works with lawmakers across the political spectrum to drive policy change and increased investment in domestic and global health, education and economic opportunity.
  3. And finally – perhaps most importantly – RESULTS has a significant multiplier effect, something called the “RESULTS Leverage”.

With a modest budget and a relatively small number of dedicated volunteers, the organization encourages governments to spend billions towards the ultimate goal. This is done by lobbying government officials, building relationships, and writing op-eds and letters to editors in newspapers.

Every dollar invested in advocacy with RESULTS is raising millions more for the programs and policies that will change our world.

RESULTS’ 50 staff and (little army of) 2,000 volunteers are able to conduct primary and secondary research, analyze policy, advance legislation, and help steer government investment toward the highest-impact solutions to poverty. Like, for example, consider the racial wealth gap in America, which RESULTS has most recently been studying. Black Americans have 7 cents to the dollar in savings for white Americans. Latin Americans have 8 cents to the dollar. RESULTS champions the causes in scope to help level the playing field for greater equality and access to resources.

And there’s more still. RESULTS covers all the relevant bases. They work with the best private and public organizations, so that they can mobilize far greater resources for eradicating extreme global poverty by 2030, and for ending poverty in the USA.

What are some of RESULTS’ achievements?

Pankaj states that although it’s impossible to attribute 100% of government or economic actions to RESULTS’ work, the following have occurred after some campaigns that RESULTS and its partner organizations have undertaken:

1. The preventable deaths of children under 5 have fallen by well over half since 1990, from over 40,000 per day to about 16,000 per day. We now believe the end of these preventable deaths is within reach.

2. In 2017, both the US House and the Senate passed the READ Act, legislation that will improve the lives of millions of children around the world, who don’t have access to a quality education. Read More

3. The grassroots outcry this spring helped put a stop to proposals that would have gutted Medicaid and stripped health insurance from millions of low-income Americans.

4. RESULTS volunteers played a key role in Congress, finally making permanent crucial provisions of pro-work tax credits that raise roughly 16 million people, including up to 8 million children, above or closer to the poverty line.

5. The US Senate reintroduced legislation this month that will help pave the way toward the end of preventable child and maternal deaths around the world. The Reach Every Mother and Child (S. 1730) makes sure the U.S. does its part to support countries to reach this ambitious goal. Read More

6. 19 million people are now receiving lifesaving AIDS drugs, from a few hundred thousand people a few years ago.

7. Check out more of RESULTS’ historical achievements here.

So, what are the 3 biggest challenges RESULTS faces?

  1. Funding and staffing: There are many more countries, under-represented areas, and elected officials to work with still. More money means more staff, and therefore, more reach.
  2. Learning how to do deep advocacy takes time and energy – this is not something we all learn in civics class! But we see it has tremendous impact.
  3. Often, people don’t realize the power that they hold as constituents to truly shape what’s happening on Capitol Hill. Breaking through this skepticism is essential.

Ok… If you could change something unilaterally, what would it be?

I’d love to invite some of the most influential government leaders and philanthropists to support our cause! Having them work with us has the potential to unlock many more resources, inspire many more people, and ensure we meet our 2030 commitment. I’d love to see more people inspired to get involved and take action; we’ve seen the incredible influence a relatively small group of people can have. Now imagine if we multiplied that by hundreds or thousands!

You say we must all get involved. What is your top advice for others who are concerned about and interested in eradicating poverty?

Join the RESULTS Action Network to get weekly alerts to take actions like calling or writing an elected official! Attend a RESULTS orientation! Roll up your sleeves and get to work!

No, really. The World Bank, UNICEF and USAID are all in agreement that extreme poverty can be eradicated by 2030. This is not just a childhood dream anymore, it’s a very real and concrete possibility! But it’s only possible through our participation. No problems are solved by sitting on the sidelines. And we must stay committed too. This is a slow, steady and cumulative effort so we must stay the course.

“But in the end, I think to myself, our generation’s legacy to the future will be that we ended something terrible, something we have fought for thousands of years. Poverty will have ended on our watch and with our efforts. Come 2030, nobody will live on less than $1.90 a day.”

He finishes, “imagine how happy we will feel when our grand-kids visit a ‘Poverty Museum’ and ask us about what it was!”

So there it is. Poverty can, indeed must, end in our lifetime. But in order to get there, it’s imperative that we all get engaged. We must each do what we can. But do, we must.

[*] “Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, United Nations,

An interview with entrepreneurs EcoEnclose: being the change they want to see

By Jessica van Thiel

Since we got started in 2015, we’ve come across all kinds of social enterprises, covering causes from humanitarian to environmental, and everything in between. Being firm believers in collaborative efforts, we’re always interested to learn about others and how we could potentially work together towards our common goal of making the planet a better place. That’s why, when we came across EcoEnclose, the leading supplier of eco-friendly shipping supplies in the United States, we couldn’t wait to interview them about their successful, innovative, and impactful initiative.

EcoEnclose, a Green America Certified Business, provides both small and large businesses with environmentally-friendly shipping solutions across the US. EcoEnclose aims to bring innovation, eco-solutions and beautiful designs to an otherwise archaic industry. Their earth friendly packaging has allowed them to work with pretty incredible group of companies. In 2016, EcoEnclose served over five thousand small-to-medium-sized businesses across the US in addition to 23 countries internationally, most of whom have stated a commitment to the environment. Many of them are true eco-innovators, finding new, more earth-conscious ways to make and sell their products.

PATHFINDER interviewed Saloni Doshi and Kyle Wente, co-owners of EcoEnclose to find out more about the growing industry

Searching to Make a Positive Economic Impact

Kyle and Saloni purchased EcoEnclose in September 2015, after three years of searching for an entrepreneurial opportunity that aligned with their moral compass, their commitment to the environment, and their desire to create a positive economic impact. Their decision as a couple, to acquire the business, meant leaving stable professions and lifestyles (as is the case for many entrepreneurs) at time when they were just starting a family. Still, that didn’t stop them from pursuing this exciting opportunity, on the contrary, they recall the past two years with fondness, “The past two years have been incredible. We’ve learned more than we ever thought possible about packaging, shipping, pros and cons of different materials as it relates to functionality and sustainability, and operating a small business. Every day we are inspired by yet another company we work with who pushes us and teaches us how we can be better. We’ve doubled the size of our team and our warehouse. We’ve added new products to our line, and have custom designed so many fun and eye-catching packages for our customers. And, the best part, we both feel like we have created real value for the environment and for many fantastic businesses.

How did you get your idea or concept for the business? What motivated you to do so?

We actually acquired EcoEnclose in September of 2015 after searching for a business opportunity for over three years. Our goal was to find a business that a) fit our values, and b) we could apply our skills to improve and grow. When we found EcoEnclose, it was love at first sight. It was almost a perfect a match given our strong commitment the environment and to supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses.

The interesting part – that we did not foresee – is that with each day we become more passionate about both, the environment and entrepreneurship. So just as our business grows, our motivation to do more grows as well.

What are your most valuable lessons learned since launching EcoEnclose?

Know and support your customers: Understand who they are, what they want, what makes them tick. What are they seeking when they come to you and how can you help solve their problems as easily as possible? Make the time to meet their needs, regardless of how big of a customer they are. We serve quite a few small businesses – individuals and artisans running an online shop out of their home. They are trying to run their businesses ethically and sustainably, but small business owners have no time to put in-depth research into shipping. So when they come to us, they need easy to digest advice (on packaging and sustainability), and the ability to order that packaging as quickly and seamlessly as possible. We actually often find ourselves spending more time with these folks, who ultimately may place much smaller orders than the resource-rich big companies we work with.

For us, this approach and ethos is a no-brainer. It strengthens our business, our mission and has helped build a pretty incredible community of eco minded companies we work with.

Delegate: Our operations aren’t necessarily simple. Early on, it was easy to get in the weeds and jump into the fray when shipments arrived, a machine was down or a warehouse team member was struggling with his or her role. Additionally, tasks like bookkeeping and payroll management could easily take up several hours per week. At the end of the week, we found ourselves wondering why we couldn’t execute so many of our strategic, growth and mission oriented priorities.

Almost two years later, it is still easy to get caught up, but a lot of progress has been made! Our warehouse manager does a stellar job managing the floor and our operations, and this gives us time to focus on strategy, sales and growth. Other similarly important positions have been created and filled, bookkeeping has been outsourced, and help has been secured for digital marketing.

Not only are we better focused on EcoEnclose’s vision, strategy, growth and sales now, but we also have discovered just how much better our business operates when the right people are in charge of the right things.

What was your mission at the outset, what are your major goals and where do you want EcoEnclose to be in 5 years-time?

Our mission is to enable e-commerce businesses to ship their goods with minimal impact on the environment. We work hard to make this an easy and fun choice for companies of all sizes.

Our major goals are to (1) be an innovator within shipping and packaging, and (2) help thoughtful, values-based businesses (our customers) grow and showcase their eco ways to the world.

1) To us, being an innovator means pushing the industry to go further, exploring new materials, and eventually overhauling the linear life-cycle of packaging and bringing the “cradle-to-cradle” concept to the industry. We work in partnership with our manufacturing partners, visiting their facilities, and verifying the claims being made with respect to recycled content.

2) Helping customers showcase their values is critical. Market research has shown that 77% of customers believe packaging should reflect a company’s eco practices and 48% would leave a company because of unsustainable packaging. Many of the companies we work with are so committed to the environment, but aren’t getting credit for their work. We are introducing new printed product lines, brochures and campaigns to help our customers gain the loyalty and admiration they deserve for thinking beyond dollars alone and considering the planet in all of their actions.

In five years, we hope EcoEnclose is the leading voice in eco-friendly packaging and an extremely valuable resource to e-commerce businesses looking to build an eco-minded and ethical company.

We hope we have brought innovations to the shipping world and have helped the entire industry adopt more earth-minded practices as a norm, not the exception.

And we hope we have helped spur a movement among consumers to demand green packaging, and to not take the “conventional” option.

Where, in your opinion, is the future of eco-friendly shipping headed? Is it a growing industry?

The shipping products industry is growing rapidly with the long term trend towards online purchasing. This demands a huge amount of packaging. Because boxes and bags sitting on your doorstep is such a visual reminder of packaging, more and more consumers are aware of and annoyed at wasteful packaging. With eco topping the major concerns for shipping within the rapidly growing e-commerce industry, we think the future of eco-friendly shipping is strong.

To us, the key is that this focus on eco within e-commerce packaging be grounded in what is truly better for the planet, and that we help encourage authentic and productive behavior.

We want to move beyond the green washing that is quite common, and help companies make the best decisions for the planet.

To what do you attribute your success?

• An honest and deep commitment to the core mission of sustainability and helping protect the planet.
• An honest and deep commitment to supporting businesses and entrepreneurs that want to make an positive impact on the environment.
• Recognition that the only way to achieve our mission is to also operate strategically, with sound business practices.
• An awesome team of diverse, passionate and quirky people.
• Amazing companies we work with who are so committed to the environment that they are eager to tell others about us.

What is unique about your Startup story?

The classic, inspiring entrepreneur is focused on creating and building their own idea in their own niche market or product. We were much more focused on finding an opportunity where our experience and skills in business could help move a great company forward.

Does your company give back to the community where it is located or in other communities, if so, then how?

Yes, recently we have volunteered in our community on several occasions: we volunteered with The Nature Conservancy / Greenway Fund on Earth Day (river cleanup), we volunteered with EcoCycle for our team holiday party, we have done an Earth Month campaign donating to The Arbor Day Foundation, and have done a Veterans Day donation campaign to Homes for Wounded Warriors. We also recently became an EcoCycle Green Star Business. Through this program, EcoEnclose supports EcoCycle and gains valuable advice on how to run a more sustainable business.

If you had one piece of advice to an entrepreneur just starting out, what would it be?

Live in the present and take in the moments – especially the messy, fraught, and challenging ones. It is easy to get caught up in envisioning the future, developing your strategy, and potentially selling an exit to an investor.

Becoming an entrepreneur is mainly a choice about how you are going to live your life (not just a focus on the end game). Be ready to live in the clutter and uncertainty!