How social enterprising became a crucial piece to God’s transformation for the city
There was something missing. Solidarity has been asking the question, "What does true City Transformation look like?"
For over a decade, the non-profit has been doing community development in the Garnet and Maple neighborhoods. By way of after school programs, teen centers, IMPACT, & Merge, Solidarity has been making significant strides in the areas of education, leadership, and discipleship. When systemic issues created barriers to God’s calling for His children within the neighborhoods, Solidarity started working in areas of justice.
Yet, something was still missing.
In 2007, Solidarity’s business initiative (Solid Enterprises), was able to open up our first social enterprise. Our generous partnership with Wet Ink Printing allowed Solid T, a screen printing social enterprise, to provide high quality, custom screen-printed apparel. The profit from this business helps fund Solidarity’s after school programs.
In the Spring of 2014, Solidarity stepped into another social enterprise opportunity, Solid City Coffee. As a private label, Solidarity now provides ethically sourced, direct trade specialty coffee to churches, individuals, and special events. The profit from this social enterprise funds a portion of Casa Liberdade, a safe house for survivors of sex-trafficking in São Paulo, Brazil.
Originally, Solid Enterprises was seen only as a funding stream for Solidarity’s city transformation work.
As the two businesses were started, Solidarity came to understand that Solid Enterprises was not simply a funding tool for city transformation, instead it was a missing component in the model for city transformation. Community, education, leadership, discipleship, and justice development was not enough to transform a neighborhood. There needed to be a special emphasis in business and workforce development.
Solid Enterprises' Workforce Development Program (WDP) started in response to this missing piece. Through the two businesses, Solidarity could disciple young adults both spiritually and vocationally. In 2015, WDP launched a Job Preparedness course. For six weeks, young adults came to Hope International University to attend Solid Enterprises’ Job Preparedness classes. They learned about a theology of work and how to communicate in the workplace, constructed professional resumes, and participated in mock interviews.
This radically changed the way the young adults in the Job Preparedness class approached their individual job searches. By the end of the six week course, 75% of the students obtained jobs and continue to thrive in their employment.
These students who passed the Job Preparedness course now have full-time or part-time employment. They are able to help support their families. They provide hope for their younger siblings. Next year, they will be asked to share with the community the difference employment makes in their quality of life.
Solid Enterprises is another piece of true city transformation. Solidarity hopes to see local businesses come together through a shared model of workplace discipleship that will help transform the city.
The BRAND NEW Solid Enterprise!
On October 15th, Solid Enterprises launched their third social enterprise business, Contrast Collective.
Contrast Collective is a group of creative communicators dedicated to assisting your organization’s artistic needs. Currently, there are six artists who offer creative services in graphic design, hand-lettering, video, and photography. 10-30% of the proceeds from each Contrast Collective client will go towards Solid Enterprises’ Workforce Development Program, which will allow more students to receive job preparedness training as well as one-on-one coaching with resumes and interview help. In addition, each Contrast Collective Artist offers internships to the Solidarity students, teaching them hands-on skills for future employment.
Please check out www.contrastcollective.org and take a look at our artists’ work. Whether it is a promo video for your organization, a photographer for your wedding, or hand lettering for your next event, Contrast Collective would love to be your source for all your artistic needs.