Unpacking 'Give Back Box': A Social Enterprise at the Intersection of Leadership, Innovation, and Sustainability
Once the domain of government agencies and non-profit organizations, a social enterprise integrates social benefits such as employment and sustainability into a for-profit firm’s mission. The social enterprise (SE) bottom line includes both economic and social value, reflecting an intersection of the Jesuit leadership tradition with commercial business enterprise. This case study describes the start-up of Give Back Box (GBB), a Chicago-based social enterprise that supports recycling and repurposing. GBB’s business model involves providing a convenient, no-cost opportunity to follow up an online purchase by recycling the shipping box to forward unneeded items to charities.
GBB was founded in 2012 by two entrepreneurs with expertise in global business as well as online retailing. Thus, this case also addresses the entrepreneurial dimension of SE by illustrating the close link between social enterprise and social entrepreneurship. Following its initial pilot phase, GBB has grown steadily, receiving impressive media coverage that has included articles in Forbes, Fast Company, and a feature on NBC’s ‘Today’ show. In 2013 another partner joined GBB: a Colombian engineer with an MBA from a U.S. Jesuit business school who has sought to apply business principles and Jesuit values in his work as a GBB partner. This case study describes the start-up’s inception, its mission and business plan, and its achievements to date, together with recommendations for other SE start-ups.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).