We’re probably all familiar with the term “Buy 1, Get 1,” but what about “Buy 1, Give 1”? B1G1 founder Masami Sato shares what inspired her to create this global giving initiative and social enterprise by partnering with businesses all over the world and helping them create an impact through their projects. Thirteen years later and as of this interview, B1G1 has already partnered with 3,000 businesses and created 220 million impacts (and counting)!
While traveling the world and being exposed to different situations, Masami already felt the inkling to want to be part of the solution to many of the problems she encountered. But, it was not until she had her first child that she realized she really wanted to do something to help. And so, she opened up a food business. Years later, it dawned on her that instead of being afraid to start something big, she could start doing small things daily. Then, B1G1 was created.
Initially selling one meal for every meal packet they sold, she decided she wanted to help other businesses make an impact as well and turned B1G1 into a social enterprise. Through the NGOs they work with, they are able to identify the issues people face as well as the solutions or high impact projects that can be done to address these issues.
Though money is a common way of measuring impact, in B1G1, they measure impact through impact, habit, and connection as well as the length of time people have access to resources and, of course, they make sure their impact is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals. Speaking of money, they actually bootstrapped the company in its early days, but thankfully, they now get to enjoy doing what they are doing and focus on helping people and businesses.
There are two sides to B1G1, the company side, which entails them being listed as a B Corp, and the charity side, through which they find partners, list their projects, and hand out contributions. And in order to be sustainable, they utilize a business membership model or subscription-based model that their members pay a monthly fee for.
Now, what kind of businesses work with B1G1? Well, they partner with big and small businesses alike, and Masami also shares how they vet the businesses that would like to partner with them and, once they’ve set up a partnership, how they help each other out.
Though the pandemic brought about new challenges, luckily, the fourth quarter of 2020 was actually record-breaking for them. And so, with trials and tribulations come victories as well. This is why Masami reminds us to appreciate the journey and not to focus too much on the destination. In 10 years, Masami is optimistically ambitious and hopes that B1G1 partners with 1 million businesses.
Masami’s key lessons and quotes from this episode were: