DePaul Industries Blog

Social Enterprise Alliance Summit ’14 Recap: WEDNESDAY

April 17, 2014

Alternative staffing session at SEA Summit '14Summit ’14 wrapped up yesterday with a half-day of great programming, including a three-hour alternative staffing intensive. The session kicked off with an overview of the alternative staffing industry from Alternative Staffing Alliance (ASA) Member Services Coordinator Janet Van Liere. About 60 alternative staffing organizations (ASOs) in the US currently help people with barriers to employment to get jobs, and 80% of these are subsidiaries of nonprofits.

Social Enterprise Alliance Summit ’14 Recap: TUESDAY

April 15, 2014

Social Enterprise Alliance Summit '14We’re wrapping up another jam-packed day at the Social Enterprise Alliance Summit ’14, filled with lots of energy and positive connections, and the resounding themes of purpose, love and impact measurement. Today was full of amazing sessions that we couldn’t possibly recap in one blog post, but read on for a few highlights!

Dr. Victoria Hale, on the Revolutionary Idea of Medicine for All
Dr. Hale founded the United States’ first nonprofit pharmaceutical company, and told the story of the obstacles she faced developing an organization providing medicines for people of all walks of life. She touched on the risks and leaps of faith a social entrepreneur must take in starting a new venture, and emphasized the benefits of a hybrid social enterprise structure.

Business for Good Contest
This fun session over lunch featured pitches by the finalists for the Business for Good competition, who were chosen from nearly 200 innovative social enterprises around the country who vied for more than $50,000 in awards. The three finalists all did a fantastic job, impressing judges and attendees, who were able to vote via text message. In the end, Hydrobee took the top prize, followed by Conscious Stepand Hero Tech Forge, with all three receiving some prizes.

Keystone Accountability Chief Executive David Bonbright (left) and DePaul President & CEO Dave Shaffer at SEA Summit '14.

Connecting With Capital: A Kaleidoscopic Conversation About Money
Funding is always a hot topic for social enterprises, and this interactive session brought together a diverse array of funders and social enterprise practitioners who discussed opportunities and challenges to obtaining funding, whether an enterprise is structured as a nonprofit, for-profit or a hybrid. Participants discussed their burning needs for capital and biggest obstacles, and were able to ask some tough questions of the panel, which included DePaul Industries President & CEO Dave Shaffer providing a practitioner perspective.

The Summit wraps up early tomorrow afternoon, but plenty of sessions remain, including an intensive on alternative staffing organizations that we’re really looking forward to!

Continue following Summit ’14 on social media with the hashtag #SEASummit14.

Social Enterprise Alliance Summit ’14 Recap: MONDAY

April 14, 2014

Social Enterprise Alliance Summit '14We’re thrilled to be in Nashville for Social Enterprise Alliance Summit ’14. Today’s schedule included lots of great intensives, workshops and tours, and we enjoyed connecting with others in the lobby area, where we have a booth representing DePaul Industries and PurposeSTAFF.

Here are a few highlights of Monday’s schedule:

The State of Equity Crowdfunding for Social Enterprises
Chance Barnett, Crowdfunder
Crowdfunding originated around 2005, but the crowdfunding of today has expanded from its original donation focus to include equity capital from friends and family, angel capital, venture capital and institutional investors. This estimated $300 billion market offers an opportunity for some for-profit social enterprises.

Welcome to Summit 14!
Kevin Lynch, Social Enterprise Alliance, and Karl F. Dean, Nashville Mayor
SEA President & CEO Kevin Lynch kicked off the Summit programming with a great plenary session that featured Nashville Mayor Karl F. Dean, who highlighted some of Nashville’s thriving social enterprises (a few of which are being toured as part of the Summit programming!).

Building an Economy on Love
Becca Stevens, Thistle Farms, and Tolulope Ilesanmi, Zenith Cleaners
The theme of Summit ’14 is “Connecting for Purpose,” but while purpose is important, so is another factor: love. Becca Stevens told the story of Thistle Farms, a social enterprise that runs a bath and body products line and cafe that are run by women who have survived prostitution, trafficking, addiction and homelessness. Stevens emphasized that love and economics aren’t mutually exclusive – a social enterprise can be financially viable while also using love and compassion as guiding principles. Ilesanmi spoke about his cleaning service, Zenith Cleaners, and how its definition of cleaning extends beyond just cleaning dirt from surfaces, but also to cleaning internally and organizationally.

Social Enterprise Marketplace - Summit 14Social Enterprise Marketplace
We enjoyed browsing booths from nearly 50 Nashville social enterprises, from Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee to Nisolo to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville – Restores. We learned more about Tennessee’s diverse social enterprises, shopped and tasted some delicious samples.

It was a great first full day of the Summit, and we’re looking forward to so much more tomorrow and Wednesday, including two sessions featuring our President & CEO, Dave Shaffer!

Continue following Summit ’14 on social media with the hashtag #SEASummit14.

The Benefits of Hiring Veterans (and Letting a Staffing Firm Help)

March 31, 2014

staffing firm hire veterans

Yes, yes, by now you’ve surely heard of the wondrous benefits of hiring veterans into your organization, including their work ethic, training background, loyalty, and translatable skills. But like many things in life, it’s easier said than done sometimes. And some companies just don’t have the time, talent, or resources to dedicate towards searching for the right veteran to hire—as right as he or she could be for the job. So, just as with other diverse populations or specialized skills, it helps to partner with a staffing firm that can specialize in finding great, hard-working veterans for the positions you’re looking to fill at your organization. Beyond the pros of hiring veterans mentioned above, consider that a staffing firm can bring:

»  Recruiting Sources
One of the biggest bonuses working with a staffing firm that actively recruits veterans can bring is a robust recruiting pool. Because staffing firms frequently communicate with veterans-based organizations, they have a great handle on the types of skills veterans have, and what ones would be good matches for your company. You need only give the staffing firm a list of the qualifications of the job, and the staffing company can go to work networking with their resources to find you a slew of great candidates—with you getting to make the final hiring decision.

»  Background Checks & Security Clearances
Veterans, of course, come packaged with all sorts of great employment benefits, but one of the best ones is that nearly all veterans have gone through extensive government background checks already. This provides a significantly-reduced risk for your company, specifically for the veterans that obtained significant security clearances during their service. Of course, any staffing firm worth its salt is going to also run any job applicants through additional background checks, but it’s sort of a double-safe method to ensure that you’re going to get a loyal and effective new member of your team.

»  Try Before You Buy
Perhaps one of the best perks of leveraging a staffing firm is the opportunity “try” a veteran before you “buy” a veteran. That is, if there are concerns about the cultural fit of a veteran, or perhaps about how their military skills will translate to their new position, you can leverage a staffing firm for a trial period before you decide to hire them directly—something that wouldn’t be possible with a direct hire from the outside.

The real perk here is to find a staffing firm that you can partner with, and work together to make sure your veteran-hiring initiative is actually working for your company’s bottom line. Let staffing help, and everyone wins.


This post concludes our month-long blogging series for DePaul Industries: One blog post every weekday for a month! Thanks for reading, and stay tuned beyond this fantastic month for more posts on staffing, security, packaging, social enterprise and hiring individuals with disabilities.

The Hidden Costs of Overtime (and How to Save them with Temp Staffing)

March 28, 2014

hidden costs of overtime - staffingAs business picks up here and there during the busy season, overtime sometimes presents itself as a solution to extra odds and ends that need to get done. From the perspective of a business owner, it’s usually just about paying a premium cost for a little bit more of your current employees’ time — little harm done, right? Before jumping to conclusions on the topic, as always, it’s important to plan — and here are three perhaps more hidden costs of overtime that you’ll want to consider before diving in:

»  Productivity Decline
Think about your work schedule. The longer you work through the week, the more your productivity declines.  According to a Stanford University study, productivity during a 60-hour work week, when worked by employees used to working 40-hour work weeks, was less than two-thirds that of what it was when 40- hour weeks were worked. It’s important to consider your employee’s health and well-being and not stretch them past their limits.

»  Increased Accidents & Mistakes
Along with productivity decline, of course, comes a potential increase in accidents and mistakes made on the job. This becomes especially important when working in light industrial and factory environments, but is also important to consider when talking about accounting jobs, or jobs in which a superb attention to detail is required. The more hours these employees work, there’s much more of a chance that even more subsequent hours will need to be worked in order to fix mistakes or recuperate from an unfortunate mishap.

»  Morale Decline
Finally,  productivity decline and accidents not withstanding, pushing your core employees to the brink is  bad for morale. Sure, employees might appreciate a bit of a cash bump in the short run, but consistently asking them to work beyond what they originally signed up to do isn’t going to help anyone — least of which the company itself.

So, what to do? First, proper business planning and anticipating busy times is key to ensuring that everyone knows (mostly) what to expect in the weeks and months ahead. Secondly, partnering with a staffing or recruiting firm to bring on temporary or contract workers to fill in those busy gaps will both keep your core employees fresh and happy, as well as boost your productivity and efficiency in the busy times. Once the  busy season calms down, the temps can be released — or, alternatively, once your business is bolstered by the additional work, you can consider bringing one of those temps into your core workforce. The choice is yours.

This post is part of a month-long blogging series for DePaul Industries: One blog post every weekday for a month! Stay tuned throughout March 2014 for more posts on staffing, security, packaging, social enterprise and hiring individuals with disabilities.


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