A For-Profit for People

Devoted to More Than Profit

For business owners, the choice between generating profit and serving people with your company does not have to be an either/or decision. With the rise of social entrepreneurship, many businesses today are beginning to measure their successfulness by how well they benefit social needs in addition to how well they grow their profit margins. Will Haughey shares his story as a way of showing how profits can be leveraged as a means to both create sustainability in a company and positively impact the well-being of society.

Will is the Co-Founder and Chief "Blockhead" of Tegu, a toy company based out of Honduras that sells magnetized wooden block sets. He and his brother launched the business in 2006 out of a desire to engage local poverty in Honduras.  Since then, Tegu has grown to support hundreds of employees and has been featured nationally on TODAY, People Magazine, and The Oprah Magazine.

Will described the process he and his brother followed when they set out to launch Tegu:
  • They began by identifying a social need.
  • They recognized a resource that was native to the people.
  • They creatively utilized the resource to design a product that engaged the marketplace, a process that involved the people in need
These three milestones provided the framework for their efforts. While many times, businesses start out of an idea for a new product, Will and his brother were moved by a desire to serve a recognized need through a for-profit establishment. 

Do you have an idea or vision for a new business venture? In what ways can you see it having the potential to positively influence a social need? How could you work to create it? What obstacles would stand in your way?
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What kinds of societal problems do you recognize in your context? What are the social needs you feel most passionate about influencing positively? In what ways could a new business help reverse these problems? If you are a current business owner, how could your present influence impact them?
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What are some of the resources native to your current setting? In what ways are they being utilized for business? How can you see them influencing the needs in your area?
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Are these local resources being used well for commercial profit? If not, how could you begin to incorporate them into your prospective plans or current business structure?
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In the process of developing their product idea, one of the turning points for Will and his brother came through the outside input of another. Who are some people that you could invite into your process as outside counsel? How will you reach out to them in the coming days?
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The sustainability of the for-profit company model provides the business world with a unique opportunity to help improve the social problems facing our world today. May your visions for the future include a devotion to using your influence positively for the sake of people and for the glory of God.