You’re Invited: The Startup Giveback

The Startup Giveback is a community cookout event aimed at allowing people to build their businesses and their community at the same time, all while having fun with friends, family and colleagues. The first event will be held on Saturday, November 16, 2013 from 1p.m. to 4p.m. at Shoeboxed HQ at 112 Broadway Street, Suite B, in downtown Durham. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Triangle Community Foundation.

Here at Shoeboxed, we’re passionate about the community where we live and work.  Durham, NC, is a unique, vibrant place that we’re proud to call home.

Recently, we’ve been talking to our friends at other local companies like Coursefork, The Startup Factory, American Underground and others to come up with meaningful new ways to give back to our local community. Out of these conversations, the Startup Giveback was born.

startup givebackThe Startup Giveback

The Startup Giveback is a community cookout event aimed at allowing people to build their businesses and their community at the same time, all while having fun with friends, family and colleagues. The first event will be held on Saturday, November 16, 2013 from 1p.m. to 4p.m. at Shoeboxed HQ at 112 Broadway Street, Suite B, in downtown Durham. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Triangle Community Foundation.  There will be a $10 suggested donation for free food, and local craft beer for a $5 suggested donation.  100% of the gross proceeds will go directly to Startup Endowment. RSVP now!

The Startup Endowment

The goal of this event (and future ones) is to build an endowment that will benefit local charities for years to come.  We’re both raising money and asking entrepreneurs to donate what they have to give: equity in their businesses.  Here are our shared goals:

  • $10,000 to open a charitable fund with the Triangle Communitiy Foundation.  And then,
  • $50,000 to endow the fund so that it will provide a reliable resource for area charities.
  • 100 entrepreneurs to pledge 1% of the equity they hold in their companies to our fund.  And then,
  • 1000 entrepreneurs to pledge 1% of the equity they hold in their companies to our fund.

And these are just the goals for 2014! Stay tuned for more opportunities to support the Startup Giveback and get involved. We hope to see you at the event on Saturday, November 16! You can learn more about the event and RSVP here.

Join the Shoeboxed Ambassador Program!

The Shoeboxed Ambassador Program is a new initiative aimed at spreading the paperless revolution by sharing the word of Shoeboxed with the world. Ambassadors will receive a whole host of perks in return, including exclusive insider news on Shoeboxed and a discount on their Premium Plan. Apply today!

Today, we’re thrilled to start a new chapter in our history: the launch of the Shoeboxed Ambassador Program!

Ambassadors will help spread the paperless revolution by sharing the word about Shoeboxed with the world. Ambassadors will participate in a variety of activities to promote Shoeboxed, including blogging, attending conferences, talking to the press, hosting webinars, taking part in marketing opportunities and more!

You may be thinking, “What’s in it for me?” Have no fear– we’ve got you covered! As an ambassador, you’ll receive:

  • A discount on your Shoeboxed Premium Plan
  • Opportunities to be featured on our blog, website and in the press
  • An exclusive coupon code for referred users
  • Shoeboxed swag!
  • An exclusive insider newsletter for all the latest on Shoeboxed

As the program continues and grows, we’ll also offer additional benefits for being ambassador, such as:

  • Access to beta features and products, along with the ability to provide your feedback directly to our product team
  • Invitations to special events
  • Discounts or promotions for other tech tools
  • More to come!

Shoeboxed invites highly active and engaged users to apply to join our Ambassador Program. Simply go here, fill out the form and submit it. Finalists will be contacted for further interviews, and we plan to announce our first group of ambassadors in early October.

We encourage you to apply, or to refer friends who you think would make great ambassadors. Please reach out to our Director of Community, Emily Farrar, with any questions about the Ambassador Program or referrals. You can reach her at emily@team.shoeboxed.com.

3 Ways to Run a Business That Makes an Impact

Most small business owners will agree that running a business is about much more than making money. Here are a few inspiring ideas to help your business make the world a better place.

This post is brought to you by Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com.

Most small business owners will agree that running a business is about much more than making money. Yes, the bottom line does matter, but being able to help grow your community and actually contribute something to the world is much more rewarding than seeing your profits exceed your expenses. The movement to startup businesses that create more than just a financial impact has really come into its own with the legal recognition of B-Corporations – for-profit corporations that have the dual mission of making their shareholders money as well as a positive impact on society. But all businesses, regardless of structure, can help make the world a better place. If you’d like your business to be one of them, consider taking the following actions.

Get Your Employees Involved

Shoeboxed Team at Creative Food Drive 2012
The Shoeboxed team participates in an annual local food drive each year.

It’s great when an entrepreneur decides to use their startup to make a difference, but it’s even better when everyone on the business’s team is actually involved in that effort. If you truly want your brand to make an impact, you need to incorporate your social mission into every facet of your business. Working for your company should also mean working to help further its philanthropic or environmental efforts. One great way to start that process is to use what has now become a dreaded part of company culture – the team-building exercise. Team-building exercises do work, but they are often unimaginative and boring, and your employees wind up bonding over how much they hate them rather than through the activities themselves. But if you use team-building and bonding to better the community, like by volunteering the company to sponsor a food drive or clean up a park, your employees will be able to get out, stretch, and feel they are doing something meaningful and will bond through the work. After your employees are introduced to this type of service, it will also be easier to make volunteer work a regular part of working for your company.

Partner with Other Sustainable Businesses

You probably aren’t the only startup in town looking to make a difference, and teaming up with other sustainable businesses will create a network that supports the efforts of its members and allows them to tackle problems en masse. Many hands make light work, and the same can be said for businesses with the same outlook as yours – it’s easier to make a positive impact on society when there are more people trying to achieve the same goals you are. Concerted efforts always have a bigger impact and can even inspire others who don’t work within your business to try and change things for the better, too. There is absolutely no reason to go it alone! You may be surprised at how many other businesses share the same ideas you do, all you have to do is reach out to them.

Create Proactive Internal Policies

Paper usage is one of the biggest environmental problems caused by businesses. The average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper every year, and most estimates state that one ream of 500 sheets uses up 6% of a tree. If my math is right, that means the average office worker using unrecycled paper will go over a tree’s worth of paper each year. That’s crazy! Even if your office or business uses nowhere near that amount of paper, it is still contributing to a serious environmental problem. Paperless businesses save money, time, and use up fewer resources, so if you haven’t switched over yet, you should strongly consider doing so. You can also implement green internal policies at the workplace – installing dimmer lighting, turning off the A/C and turning on fans instead, using energy efficient light bulbs – but going paperless is one of the best changes you can make to become more environmentally friendly.

Knowing that you run a business that is actually helping its community is a great feeling. While it does require some effort to make a full impact, a social or environmental mission doesn’t have to detract from the day-to-day operations of the workplace. By including your employees in your mission when you can, networking with other like-minded businesses, and adopting proactive internal policies, you’ll quickly find your company positively influencing the wider community and making a material difference in the world. It may not be huge, but every, small, positive change we make is a step in right direction.

How does your business make an impact? Let us know in the comments!

About the Author:

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @deborahsweeney and @mycorporation.