Altruism: unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others.
It is important to note from the outset that we have used the word altruism relatively broadly to include entrepreneurs driven by charity, nationalism, social conscience and humanitarianism.
From the ever-growing number of social-entrepreneurs to the long in existence non-profit organizations, cause-driven entities and yes even politically driven businesses; there are many entrepreneurs that start businesses driven by something greater than their own self-interest.
An interview with our Shawn McBride (video below) also provided a different perspective that in a sense most entrepreneurs are driven by altruism. We chewed on it a bit and had to agree; after all many entrepreneurs start businesses to provide for their families and it does make sense that many may in fact put the welfare of those they love ahead of their own. Even without painting with such a broad brush, altruism is definitely a big reason why people start businesses.
Altruism is a core driver for many people that start (and stay) in business.
We found 15 reasons why people start businesses.
For a look at the 15 reasons as well as the personality traits that are most commonly found in entrepreneurs please visit the full study here: Why people start businesses.
What people who started businesses had to say about altruism in business.
I was more the stumble upon it entrepreneur, an introvert by nature and this was just a hobby I really enjoyed. I saved some of my daughter’s baby clothes. They reminded me of how I felt when she wore them. I wanted to preserve that feeling. I turned them into a journal cover that encouraged me to go after my dreams. I wanted to give that same feeling to others. What I really want to scale it to is more of a non-profit that would provide a blanket for kids from age zero up to eighteen in foster care, do a one to one thing like with everyone that’s sold, one could be provided to them.
Michelle Turner, Remind and Inspire
I started my business as a teenager as a response to the (2008-2009) economic recession. I saw my parents struggling with money problems, and I wanted to help get them out of the situation. So, for a better life for my family.
Sean Pour, SellMax
I co-founded theotherstraw in 2018. I was fed up with the number of plastic
straws polluting our local beaches and natural environments. Plastic straws are one of the most picked up items during beach cleanups. They take hundreds of years to break down. I could no longer sit back and watch what was happening – I knew that we had to do something about it, so, theotherstraw was born.
Lennart Meijer, The Other Straw
When I was running an organization of that size proved it was daunting, however, creating something bigger than myself was a fulfilling experience. Our company created prosperity for our people and that’s why we did what we did. Much of our operating core was comprised of Guatemalan immigrants and these were the finest people I have ever known. Typically, they would come to the United States for several consecutive lawn mowing seasons, saving as much money as they could to improve the lives of their families back home by building homes, ranches, and setting up farms stocked with cattle.
This became our company’s purpose, our Why. In weekly meetings, we would get progress reports from our men on how projects “back home” were coming along. In the halls of our office and in the shop we displayed picture collages of all the homes, farms, and businesses that had been established by our people in Guatemala. Celebrating these victories gave us fuel to get through the tough times, particularly when the economic recession that began in 2009.
Your Green Pal
“I started the Green Business to restrict the single-use plastic in the home. These plastics are not biodegradable items and staying in the Earth
for long long years, which concerned me. Then, I started writing blogs and
start Green business. Greening your business doesn’t involve lowering
overall material production, but it does require you to use resources and
energy more efficiently, and mitigate existing products that are lethal to
the environment. The best way to green your business is to use eco-friendly
products, e.g. bamboo toothbrush and bamboo cutlery and eliminate plastic.”
Arindam Roy, Ecofworld
“I started my company so I can reach more people on a larger scale. Money anxiety is very real and personal. From the comfort and privacy of their home, our clients can speak with Accredited Financial Counselors via video call. Our goal is to help you Sleep Well At Night.”
Molly Ford-Coates, Ford Financial Management
Click A Tree creates habitats for elephants. I’ve been living and working with them for five years, and they’re the most adorable creatures. Their main challenge is the loss of habitat due to agriculture, infrastructure, and climate change. So I built a business to change that and reforest our planet.
Chris Kaiser, Click A Tree