Despite serious concerns, however, it’s fair to say that consumers have spoken over the last decade, and on-demand and sharing apps are here to stay. So can we change the way platforms operate in order to make them a tool for sustainable economic growth and deliver social, environmental, and economic impact?
Conscientious entrepreneurs are turning to co-operative business models as they look to build more sustainable, purpose-oriented digital businesses. These models promise better and fairer working conditions, wages, privacy, and — most importantly — equity for those involved. The challenge is that for these new ventures, it is often a long road to achieve profitability without the massive injections of venture capital conventional start-ups receive. For them to succeed and make a positive impact at scale, there needs to be a broader definition of success in our tech start-up culture. They will also require the support and understanding of impact investors.
Building companies that contribute durable value to customers, communities, the environment, and shareholders isn’t new. B Corps have been assessing the holistic impact of businesses since 2007, but for the most part, B Corps are a brand commitment, rather than an entirely different business model.
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