2012 Social Enterprise Award Winners
Good Cause Gifts is a division of Futures, Inc. We are dedicated to helping individuals with disabilities live fully integrated lives within their local communities by offering employment opportunities and social activities. These opportunities help individuals achieve greater fulfillment and know the satisfaction of personal achievement. Our stores boast a wide array of fine gifts, accessories and fair trade items.
NIRO Design Center’s mission is to excite, encourage, educate and empower through fashion. NIRO Design Center was established by two designers, the creators of NIRO Couture, an established women’s wear line and retail store. Inspired by their personal experiences as teenagers having a wealth of artistic abilities and no forum to express them, they decided to create an art program that would give young adults an outlet to turn their creativity into a profitable career and/or business.
The Hartford Artisans Weaving Center’s mission is to promote and teach the craft of hand weaving in a supportive and creative community. The Center encourages people with low or no vision and those 55 and older to develop their skills and interest in weaving, gain self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment from mastering a complex craft and an opportunity to earn supplemental income.
Kenai Sports produces high performance athletic apparel, made from recycled trash. The clothing wicks away moisture, dries quickly, is anti-microbial, odor free, UV protectant, and remains bright and durable through years of rigorous use. Every Kenai order comes with independently certified impact statements – calculating exactly how much, from where, and what kind recycled trash was used to make the clothing. Kenai strives to be a thought leader on all things “green.” This involves transforming the company website into a blog-type setting where constant discussion occurs between the company and any visitor to the site. Kenai sees its social responsibility as extending beyond their own operations—it is also integral to provide a convenient medium for other organizations to “do right” as well.
Combat 2 Career guides veterans through their adjustment from military to civilian careers by emphasizing higher education as the path of transition. The company does this by matching veterans with higher education programs that best suit their individual needs and goals, and assisting current veteran students and recent graduates in securing internships and full-time job opportunities. C2C also facilitates the transition from higher education to the civilian workforce by matching veterans with mentors and veteran-friendly businesses while they are completing their degree and post-graduation. These services are provided free of charge to veterans through partnerships formed with higher education institutions and businesses.
2011 Social Enterprise Award Winners
GG2g is a Connecticut-based for profit, women-owned, social-eco enterprise. Founded by two women and operated as an eco and animal friendly company since its inception in 2005, GG2g is now expanding its business to meet the market demand and fill a socio-economic objective of helping to empower women living in rural Costa Rica through the establishment of a sewing venture. For the past six years GG2g has been successful at developing a business of designing and making designer handbags from a variety of recycled materials. These bags have been sold online and directly in upscale boutiques, museum stores, and galleries. Limited resources and significant business interruptions with contract manufacturers had a major impact on the company’s operations. The decision was made stop all production but continue to develop its product lines while pushing forward to establish a social enterprise.
The Steampunk Café will primarily offer artisan quality coffee, tea and chocolate based beverages in Danielson, Connecticut, with a focus on the eat-in customer, providing live entertainment and a rich social atmosphere. The Steampunk Café is founded on two principles. The ﬁrst is to be a place people want to work, and the second is to be a place people want to stay.
Sea Tea Improv officially burst onto the comedy scene on April Fool’s Day, 2009, and hasn’t sat down since. The troupe of fifteen players, professionally trained by Hartford Stage Company, ImprovBoston, and the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York, dazzles Hartford and beyond on a regular basis with their witty interpretations of audience suggestions. Sea Tea Improv performs short improvised games and long improvised plays at public and private functions, teaches classes to students of all ages, and trains professionals in the art of communication. They have performed all over Connecticut and New England.
GreenShare Technology provides low cost or no cost technology to bridge the digital divide. As the gap of computer access and ownership continues to shrink, technology continues to move forward, GreenShare provides opportunities for earth friendly equipment disposal, as well as computer refurbishing, job training and low cost or no cost technology for those who can not afford new equipment.
Dances With Wood is a Creative Arts Program that empowers and inspires children who are hospitalized with cancer and other serious illnesses. The creative self-expression of woodworking helps to heal the spirit and reveals to a child his or her own individuality, inner beauty and competence. Each project can be undertaken while sitting or lying in a hospital bed. The Dances With Wood program is provided free of charge to children and their families.