As head of La Terza Coffee, I have firsthand experience testing and exploring the vast possibilities of Social Enterprise. On a global scale, coffee is one of the worst industries for workers, many of whom are paid unfairly, or are forced to work without wages. The team and I at La Terza have made a concentrated effort to reject this system by buying coffee through sources that guarantee a living wage for their employees. What I’ve come to realize is changing the working conditions of your average coffee farmer is only the first step towards fixing some of the negative narratives that plague our current economic system.

If we can improve the working conditions of coffee growers around the world, how can we do this in other industries? I see a new type of business model where we can not only better the lives of people we source from, but also the lives of our employees, customers, and even our competition.

I recently joined the board of the local chapter of the Social Enterprise Alliance which has given me the opportunity to further build into Cincinnati’s growing community of social-impact businesses. Together, we are creatively challenging the traditional business status quo and incorporating life-bringing ideas into everyday business practices! And it doesn’t just stop with our work; it also continues as we engage with our purchases. Every dollar we spend is a vote for something. There’s a story behind every product we buy, and we should support businesses that have a positive impact on the world. As awareness grows among consumers, how do we do our part to buy better stories? This is the message I hope to spread in all my business endeavors.