Before my travels around Europe and the USA, I started to wonder what my bigger picture for the world would be. Now that Moeloco is established as a social enterprise, where does it, and myself, fit in to the world of the present and future? I can see my bigger picture now: a world where every product or service we purchase gives back to a good cause. A recently proposed hotel, The Purpose Hotel, embodies just that.
Like other social enterprises, The Purpose Hotel is planned to be a for-profit business, but with some of these profits contributing to one or more causes. In this case, it doesn’t stop at one cause, as the design and operations teams aim to source items and services that maximise the number of people benefitted by the jobs needed to produce or provide them. Jeremy Cowart, the celebrity photographer who came up with The Purpose Hotel, describes his business model as “1 for 100”, meaning that a night’s stay can impact the lives of at least 100 people in some way. He aims to generate jobs, jobs that are meaningful opportunities, for people who need them the most, both locally in the USA and around the world.
Also just like other social enterprises, The Purpose Hotel began with an idea. Fifteen years ago, Jeremy Cowart achieved rapid success as a celebrity photographer, but later felt that something was missing, and learnt that greatness must serve a greater purpose. After the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, he raised $10 billion in aid for the country by getting survivors to write thoughts and prayers on pieces of rubble. A few years later, all of his travelling and spending time in hotels inspired him to create a hotel chain where “people are valued at every level”, with a focus on meaningful job creation.
Of course, the unfolding story of The Purpose Hotel is not without speedbumps. Initially, Jeremy’s first Kickstarter campaign failed as he could not raise the required $750,000 in time (no donations are finalised unless the goal is reached, to protect donors). But then, he revised his goal down to $347,000 – enough for the first phase of the project, with separate campaigns planned for future phases. Within 48 hours, his goal was reached. This means he and his team can begin the initial designs and financing for the building.
The number of organisations that The Purpose Hotel will support include Charity: Water, Project 7 and Raven + Lily. Charity: Water brings clean water and sanitation to those still living without it, and even install sensors into their water pumps to ensure they are functioning correctly. Project 7 is a gum and mint brand supporting seven causes: reforestation, education, housing the homeless, clean water access, food provision, malaria treatment and anti-bullying programs. Raven + Lily is also a social enterprise, in this case a fashion and lifestyle brand that employs over 1,500 marginalised women, all at fair trade wages. They also use recycled and repurposed materials to reduce their environmental impact.
I find The Purpose Hotel and all the organisations its founder plans to support amazing. These are definitely dream crazy peeps too! Perhaps there will be a space for Moeloco in the future?
Until next time, dream even crazier guys!