The latest issue of Business 2.0 has a short article about the Khayelitsha Cookie Company. (I haven’t been able to find the article online. Let me know if you can). It’s another great story of the pursuit of the Radical Edge: that zone where you’re stoking your business, amping your life, and changing the world all at the same time.
The company employs local women in an impoverished South African township to bake gourmet cookies, which are being snapped up by the local hotels and restaurants. And apparently they’re just about to break into the U.S. market, too.
Their Radical Edge-ness is summarized beautifully in the company’s own words (from their website):
“Our mission was to create a company that could not only produce the best cookies in South Africa, but which also radically changed the lives of everyone involved in the company. For our customers, we produce the biggest, best range of baked goods – chocolate chunk cookies, ginger snaps, nutty fudge brownies and shortbread biscuits. For our employees, we give every opportunity for significant growth and career expansion. We hire previously unemployed women from Khayelitsha and then train and skill them in permanent, affirming employment.”
Offering advice for other aspiring social entrepreneurs, the founder, Alicia Polak, said in the Business 2.0 article,
“You don’t go in with a liberal, ‘I’m going to save the world’ attitude…You say, ‘I’m going to run a business.’”
Well…I’m not sure when saving the world became an exclusively liberal agenda, but point well taken for all of us—social entrepreneurs or not: if you want to make things better through your business, then you better make your business great. And, I would add, if you want to make your business great, then you better be firing on all cylinders personally, too.
Again, the Radical Edge.