This article is part of a series I launched at Social Change Nation – I interview Purpose Driven entrepreneurs from around the world for my podcast, and now you’re getting the inside scoop on the lessons they are teaching me…I’m sharing these with you so that we can learn together from these change agents. So, whether you’re a purpose driven entrepreneur, want to be one, or hope to learn more about cause based entrepreneurship, stay tuned. I’ll publish a new one of these every weekday for at least a month – and even longer if you all love it & comment on it. Want to keep up? Then follow me on umano.me, subscribe to my podcast, or just link up with us at socialchangenation.com. Either way, sit back and join in as we learn about the stories of world changing entrepreneurs.
Zac H. has been an incredible supporter, mentor, and inspiration for our work here at Social Change Nation. Not only that, but his company, Mission Belt, truly is a standard bearer for cause based businesses all over the world. Zac’s journey to purposeful entrepreneurship began when he was just a regular ol’ entrepreneur, and was escaping for some fun in the sun with some pals in Central America. But during the trip, Zac met a local named Luis. Luis was an amazingly hard worker, and had been working long days at the docks - barely making enough to scrape by. Even that was cut off when Luis got a small injury at work, and was let go.
Zac was a serial & successful entrepreneur, and he saw much of himself in Luis. Only difference was, Luis was born into a country that simply didn’t offer the financial opportunity to quickly launch and scale a business. Zac took action right away, and helped Luis get into business for himself. Zac loaned Luis enough to get a bus to start ferrying paying passengers between his hometown and Panama City. The result was astounding - Luis grew the business, paid Zac back, added 3 busses to his fleet, and most importantly, took charge of his own destiny.
Zac knew he could continue this mission with his next venture, and it was with this passion that he founded Mission Belt. Mission belt sells a ‘no holes’ belt, and for each belt purchase, gives $1 to Kiva, a program making microloans to people like Luis all over the world.
Best part is - once a dollar enters the Kiva system, and is repaid, it can be relent over and over again. Meaning each Mission Belt sale creates exponential impact.
My interview with Zac taught me a ton about being a cause based entrepreneur. Let me tell you why:
- They have a product that’s second to none. Forget ‘holes’ in a belt – these belts are wicked unique (we’re talking a belt you wear around your waist, btw) they have no holes, it’s a unique ‘zip’ technology that gets you the ‘perfect fit’ every time. It’s always gonna fit right, it’s easy on/off, and you can also interchange the buckles to make it even more stylish and customizable.
- The cause has personal meaning. The story of Mission Belt is a story of Luis. Luis is a close personal friend of Zac – the two of them share the same zest for life and entrepreneurial spirit. And yet, Luis was hindered due to geography. See, Luis was from Panama, while Zac the United States. The simple realities of the differing political landscapes meant that Luis faced a much more daunting set of obstacles for starting a business in his home country. This is why Mission Belt donates a massive portion of the profits from each belt to Kiva – an organization specializing in making small business loans in developing countries.
- They have margin so they CAN have a mission. Mission Belt is an incredibly well run company – brilliant marketing, inspirational founder, tremendous story. Without the sales and profits this produces, they couldn’t possibly make the impact they are making.
I proudly rock Mission Belts, first because it’s the best belt on the market, but secondly, because I’m glad to be a supporter and promoter of the great work that Zac and his crew at Mission Belt are engaged in. So, as you think about purpose-driven entrepreneurship, be thinking about ways that you can drive exponential impact.
Want more stories of purpose-driven entrepreneurs? This story originally appeared in our Social Good Guide – 50 businesses. 50 causes. 50 ways to change the world. You can find them all at socialgoodshopping.com.