By B. J. Coleman
When a private-sector enterprise thrives in its primary business mission, company principals will declare business is good.
One recently organized small business promotion and support group has a deeper view about entrepreneurial success within the local economy and the local community. In operation for little over a year, Business for Good staged the organization’s first awards celebration on Dec. 10, in Mission Beach at The Point.
Business for Good described its position as forward thinking, based on long-term thinking, noting that the voice of business is not monolithic in regard to focusing mainly on simple, direct calculation of bottom-line earnings. For example, the group pressed local city councils to enact bans on styrofoam food containers as an environmental protection measure.
Organization representatives at the inaugural 2018 awards ceremony expressed the belief that small businesses can make money, do good, give back, become a force for change, and support the neighborhoods in which they do business.
Hillcrest’s Uptown Tavern’s business owner Scott Borden was one of five recipients of Business for Good awards. Recognized as Environmental Health Advocate business owner of the year, Bordon said he and his partner purchased the tavern a year and a half ago.
“We cater to a diverse community in Hillcrest,” Borden said. “And we support environmental organizations around San Diego. We are using biodegradable single-use straws now. We treat our environmental advocacy as a marketing tool.”
Borden expanded on his expert advice from experience in food service.
“There is a lot of waste in restaurants and taverns, including food and trash,” he said. “We have a long way to go. I hope we can all do better.”
Borden spoke further about his business model in hiring.
“We are proud of our diverse staff,” Borden said. “We reflect our community, and we have an environment that is welcoming to everyone.”
WilkMazz in East Village, which provides legal services to causes and creative businesses earned the Biz of the Year award. Mission Driven Finance in Old Town, that specializes in “impact investing” to bridge the gap between philanthropy for social change endeavors and money earnings, earned the Business Resources award. The Homelessness Advocate award went to i.d.e.a. in Little Italy, with Indra Gardiner Bowers accepting on behalf of the creative advertising and public relations agency. Juan Pablo Sanchez of Super Cocina in Normal Heights received the Immigration Advocate award. Super Cocina brings authentic home-style Mexican food from the heartland to restaurant diners and catering patrons, with dishes from Michoacan, Oaxaca and Veracruz.
Partner of the Year, according to Business for Good, was San Diego Councilmember Chris Ward, of District 3. Ward said that District 3 is the location of one-third of small businesses within San Diego.
“This is about the community, about making more progress,” Ward said. He urged recruitment of other interested business enterprises, to double or triple the membership in Business for Good.
Karim Bouris, executive director of Business for Good, expressed optimism over the organization’s potential for growth and effectiveness. Bouris cited the figure that San Diego County is home to around 98,000 businesses, with 97 percent classified as small- to medium-sized.
Bouris said business owners have a demonstrably positive influence within the communities they serve.
“The best description of our organization is that we are rooted in action,” Bouris said. He explained that in business settings, things must get done, and actions associated with business activity can become a valuable part of success.
Bouris said the organization is looking forward to 2019. Two exciting projects are planned for the new year, said Bouris. Business for Good intends to involve women business owners to work on gender-based pay equity matters. The group further plans to establish a directory of involved businesses for networking and collaborating on both the business sides and the policy sides of community involvement actions.
—B.J. Coleman is a local freelance journalist and editor/staff reporter with 22nd District Legionnaire. B.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.