UpSpring (http://upspringassociates.com/) is a socially responsible consulting firm, enabling entrepreneurs to achieve their vision and implement their goals. Consultants specialize in growing values-based ventures in the U.S. and around the world. Since 2010, UpSpring has been a registered “B Corporation,” the first in New Mexico. UpSpring’s expertise generates ‘triple bottom line’ returns – financial, social/community, and environmental.
About Drew Tulchin:
Drew Tulchin has 16 years of experience building start-ups and growing organizations. His specialization is in business planning, raising capital, implementing good ideas, and measuring impact for ‘triple bottom line’ returns. Drew’s work has market driven business success that generates social, community, and environmental value. His efforts have generated more than $100 million for clients, and consulting has taken him throughout the United States to Native American Tribes and 40 plus countries from A (Afghanistan) to Z (Zambia).
1. What is your company’s greatest accomplishment to date in terms of significantly helping a Double Bottom Line #2BL or #3BL company?
Since our founding in 2003 as Social Enterprise Associates, our company has helped more than 100 businesses, non-profits, foundations and government entities. Our efforts have led to raising more than $100 million for market oriented social change.
Growing businesses and social ventures that build houses, preserve cultural heritage, and help people find and maintain solid jobs within Native American tribes and rural communities is one of our greatest accomplishments and honors. See our current efforts in New Mexico with the Native American Ohkay
Owingeh Housing Authority (OOHA, www.ohkayowingehhousingauthority.org) to raise philanthropic capital to restore housing in the historic plaza, the heart of the community where people have lived for 700 years.
2. What strategic advice would you give to a reader who is in the idea phase of the 2BL, 3BL, or 4BL company?
I am very supportive of people with ideas that want to grow social enterprises and triple bottom line efforts.
• My first recommendation is to make sure you have looked at the marketplace. Who else is doing this type of work or offering a similar service? Go speak with them, even if your idea is a bit different or better.
• Next, who is this innovation supposed to help? Make sure you have had extensive listening and conversations with customers/clients/users. Again, remember to listen– not sell or convince. What are their problems and challenges? What are their stated needs and under what conditions?
• For all social entrepreneurs, I encourage you to have your own ‘advisory board’. If you don’t want to be official, have it be a kitchen cabinet. It is okay, if it starts out as your family and friends, but there needs to be others involved. You can’t do change as a ‘solo-preneur’ you have to have others involved to vet ideas, build connections, and improve thinking.
3. What is the purpose of your organization?
UpSpring’s mission is to “Do Well by Doing Good,” leveraging the power of the marketplace for social, community, environmental, and cultural benefit. UpSpring’s activities extend beyond the triple bottom line to the quadruple bottom line – advancing people, profit, planet, and purpose.
As a testament to our purpose, for the last four years UpSpring has been a B Corps socially responsible certified business (www.bcorporation.net). Being a mission-driven business we are in agreement with B Corporation’s Declaration of Interdependence: We must be the change we seek in the world.
We practice what we preach and as such have been recognized by B Corps as ‘One of the Best for the World Small Businesses’ in 2014 and 2011, and a ‘Sustainable Business of the Year Honoree’ in 2012. We donate 1% of our gross profits to charity. All staff volunteer their time, and we source as many supplies as possible from local companies.
4. What makes UpSpring’s solution different from what is out there now?
In the big picture, UpSpring exists to help entrepreneurs and their organizations put their ideas into practice for a better tomorrow. Specifically, we find that we are often a bridge and translator, assisting entrepreneurs to advance in areas with which they may be less familiar. We team with (social)
entrepreneurs and managers to work as a team to advance into new terrain. We are a virtual company, saving people money with no overhead. And, we operate a virtual network of consultants to bring a laser beam of the right skills to address needs including building a business plan, developing new products,
exploring the market, measuring impact, and raising capital.
We leverage our consulting to provide educational resources to social enterprises, and we have written more than 50 publications. All are available for free online, and you can find out more on our website’s “Resources” page: upspringassociates.com/resources.
5. Who or what inspires your company?
Our clients inspire us. These are the entrepreneurs with world-changing products or services that lead social, community, cultural, and environmental change organizations and/or businesses.
Partners like Mentor Capital Network “MCN” inspire us. As a MCN judge and mentor for more than four years, I am consistently motivated by not only the work MCN is doing, but by MCN’s double-bottom line, triple-bottom line, and quadruple-bottom-line companies that like UpSpring’s clients are making a significant impact in the world.