Impassioned by impact, social entrepreneur Adrian Bohach has served as a thought leader and innovator within the business, government, and non-profit industries for over 35 years. Both a pioneer and champion of social enterprise in North America, Adrian has been an advocate of the Social Enterprise Model since 1985. His vast work experience includes roles as an actuary, business owner, executive management consultant, writer, university lecturer, and board member. Today, as president and chief executive officer of Enterprise4Good, Adrian continues to utilize his organizational and business background to assist nonprofits in becoming self-sustaining organizations.
Although there are currently hundreds of academic definitions to explain social enterprise, Adrian and his team follow the simple definition based upon the European model in which business methodology is used to accomplish a public good. Adrian explains: “The for-profit world uses business methodology to maximize profit, often at the expense of the public good. One must only look at the pollution, garbage, health issues, and climate change we deal with just so that businesses can enjoy maximizing their profits. However, in the nonprofit world, it is often the opposite. They strive for the public good, but don’t maximize business methodology, often viewing ‘business’ with suspicion and moral impurity. Instead, they prefer to beg for money through constant fundraising rather than to be fiscally self-sustaining.” A social entrepreneur works to combine the two practices, using business methodology to maximize the public good in a responsible way that, at the same time, creates financial capital and social capital that are true to a nonprofit’s mission. This capital is what Adrian calls “mission related revenue.”
According to Adrian, the social enterprise sector is quickly growing because it is currently the only model that has the potential to change social issues at scale. For example, there are millions of nonprofits in existence, but most are small, geographically diverse, and myopic in their focus. “They lack the size, resources, and bench strength to solve social issues. Instead of providing services or solving problems, a large part of their resources is diverted toward the nonprofit world’s three addictions: money, attention, and self-preservation,” says Adrian. This diversion is problematic as the effort required for constant fundraising is time consuming, competitive, and difficult. Not only does it drain a nonprofit’s resources away from providing service, but it also leads to “donor fatigue” as donors tire of being constantly asked for money without seeing their donations create meaningful change in social issues or financial responsibility being taken within the charitable organizations themselves. In order to address the issue, Adrian offers to help nonprofits become self-sustainable through the Social Enterprise Model, which creates actual, positive change in social issues.
When Adrian became CEO of Enterprise4Good in 1996, he implemented his vision of sound business practices and entrepreneurial spirit, transforming the struggling charity of three employees into a large, thriving social enterprise. Today, the organization employees over 100 staff members and operates in many geographic locations. Instead of existing on a small, traditional budget derived from grants and fundraisers, they have achieved a budget of approximately $6.5 million of annual revenue through self-generated “mission related” business activity. Adrian’s mission is to further grow the organization to a much larger level where it can solve even larger social issues and affect real change in communities both domestically and internationally.
Although social enterprise has been a game changer for every nonprofit organization Adrian has assisted, he stresses that the model can be just as effective when applied in the for-profit world. The only difference is that while nonprofit organizations look at a social problem and rethink how it can be addressed in a financially sustaining way, for-profits can look at their order of operations and rethink how they can be changed in a way that would benefit the public good, while at the same time, potentially be even more profitable. Adrian is impassioned by impact because he realizes people want to see and experience social issues being solved. “Few have had success following the Traditional Nonprofit Model, so I believe social enterprise is the answer in how we can deliver tectonic change and address the solution of problems in a meaningful way,” says Adrian.
President and CEO
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Download the Top 100 Canadian Professionals magazine and check out Adrian's feature on page 43.