Impact Hustlers - Entrepreneurs with Social Impact

A Better Way to Make an Impact - Masami Sato of B1G1

November 09, 2021 Maiko Schaffrath Season 1 Episode 84
Impact Hustlers - Entrepreneurs with Social Impact
A Better Way to Make an Impact - Masami Sato of B1G1
Show Notes

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:

  • “What if instead of trying to do something big in the future one day, what if we did something small but did it every day?” (7:17)
  • “In B1G1, we focus on three things that we think can be integrated in [the] business-giving space, which is impact, habit, and connection.” (15:14)
  • “As a social enterprise, the model itself is that our mission is really about transforming how businesses do what they do. And as a result, we want to inspire all those businesses to feel that what they are doing is actually really meaningful and important in the world, so they add value to their customers and clients through what they are doing already.” (19:40)
  • “When we tap into that feeling of why they are doing what they are doing and then introduce B1G1 as a way for them to create their legacy and also to make their business much more meaningful, and purposeful, and rewarding for them as well as for their team if they have other team members in their business, then usually, th
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