THE CHANGE AMONG US: Responsible Revolution
By Emeli Warren | English major
Their passion to serve resulted in a website that equip nonprofits to help others.
Co-founder Mitch Ahlenius.
According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, as of August 2011 there are more than 1.5 million tax-exempt organizations in the U.S. With such heavy competition, entrepreneurs are doing their best to create a worthwhile cause that will not only change lives, but will shake up the nonprofit world. APU senior international business major Mitch Ahlenius and business administration alumnus Benjamin Juhlin believe they may have found a way. They’re calling it The Responsible Revolution.
“I had always wanted to start a nonprofit. I just didn’t know how to go about choosing one people group and one cause,” said Juhlin, who is the chief creative officer. “I realized that with [The Responsible Revolution], we would be able to help all causes by helping those who already help people. We could strengthen the causes and effectiveness of pre-existing nonprofits.”
By using for-profits strategies, the business will create a website similar to Amazon Marketplace. The goal for the site is to sell products from socially aware companies. As their business grows, they will add graphic design services and administer loans.
Ahlenius, the business’s CEO, had the idea for the nonprofit while studying abroad in South Africa in the spring of 2011. At the time, he wanted to pursue research for poverty alleviation strategies; having done projects that sparked his conviction for the issue. After meeting Russell Quinn, an agricultural specialist from Zimbabwe, the two began to work together on various business ideas.
Co-founder Benjamin Juhlin.
“Quinn knew that the local people believed that when times got tough they would be bailed out. He wanted there to be a way the people could realize their own opportunities,” said Ahlenius. “We wanted to create a sustainable solution that benefits both parties to change the paradigm.”
Ahlenius realized that in order to do this, he would need to create a new market for socially aware purchasing where every transaction goes directly toward benefiting someone in need.
“Our goal is not to create handouts but to create a sustainable system,” said Ahlenius. “What we want to do is help [non-profits] access new markets so that they can grow locally, in effect creating more demand for their products so that they can expand. They can help more people while we’re sharing their story.”
As Ahlenius and Juhlin relentlessly work on recruiting companies and gaining the necessary funding, the business is constantly evolving. The co-founders promise to produce a site where nonprofits can get the support they need to continue their work around the globe. The Responsible Revolution only hopes to be the channel through which these nonprofits get just another step closer to making a difference in the world.