Reason.tv: Will Seattle Become the Capital of Social Entrepreneurship?

"I think there's every reason to believe that Seattle will be the capital of social entrepreneurship in the next ten years," says Brian Howe, an adjunct professor at Seattle School of Law and founder of Hub Seattle , which rents space to social entrepreneurs.

Reason.tv sat down with Howe and Michael "Luni" Libes, a "serial entrepreneur" who has helped build five technology start-ups, to talk about #SocEnt Weekendan an event modeled on the very popular Startup Weekend that endeavors to offer an environment for entrepreneurs to collaborate and bring their ideas to fruition.

Libes and Howe discussed the idea of the "social enterprise," which involves using for-profit enterprise to solve social problems.

"Business men and women think about, 'How am I going to take this small thing and create leverage? How is this going to scale?'" said Howe.

 About 5 minutes. Interview by Zach Weissmueller. Filmed and Edited by Weissmueller.

Visit Reason.tv for downloadable versions and subscribe to Reason.tv's YouTube channel to receive automatic notifications when new material goes live. 

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Drake||

    What a load of pompous shit.

    All successful start-ups fill a social need. I don't want people to freeze to death this winter, so I'm going to start a coal mine.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    ^This to a Mr. T^

    There is no need to apologize for the profit motive that fuels the engine of free enterprise. You can gussy it up with trendy 'liberaltarian' nonsense, and you may get to bed a few cats-eye framed bespectacled, tweed and knits, DIY Grrls in the process, but you're never going to make capitalism and the free market to be seen as "moral" to those who constantly shriek about "social" this and that.

  • ||

    I agree, but I also have no problem marketing the free market to liberals with ideas like this. Whole Foods has a libertarian founder/CEO and a largely liberal client base.

  • R C Dean||

    using for-profit enterprise to solve social problems.

    I thought business was for-profit enterprise to solve social problems.

    I'm a little concerned by the word "using". Who, exactly, will be using who's for-profit enterprises, here?

    Because if its the owner using his own business, whatevs.

    But if its some lace-on-his-panties do-gooder trying use somebody else's business, then I'm having a hard time seeing what's so special about this.

  • Paul.||

    Libes and Howe discussed the idea of the "social enterprise," which involves using for-profit enterprise to solve social problems.

    *narrows eyes*

  • Paul.||

    You know what really scares me? It's likely I'll be sitting in front of one of these hipsters during a job interview in the near future.

  • ||

    *yawn*

  • Whiterun Guard||

    They were the capital of grunge, so I guess there's no limits to the amount of crappy, redundant garbage they can excrete from their patchouli smelling flannel flying douche factories.

  • Paul.||

    patchouli smelling flannel flying douche factories.

    That was Seattle of the 90s. Now you're describing the new, modern Portland.

  • ||

  • Whiterun Guard||

    What am I, Rand McNally? Everything Northwest of Texas is Seattle. Or California, depending on who I'm arguing with.

  • SIV||

    In Texas everything North of I-20 is Oklahoma.

  • Paul.||

    I thought everything northwest of Texas was "good skiing"?

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    fIREHOSE: Flyin' the Flannel

  • ||

    Can self-important douchebags even open their mouths without uttering some combination of the words "community," "issues," "social," or "sustainable?"

  • R C Dean||

    You left out "justice".

    "Seattle is home of sustainable community entrepeneurship, for make great social justice."

  • ||

    Move sustainable zig.

  • Paul.||

    What RC and Drake said.

    Toilet paper was invented because there was a market for it.

  • ||

    Yeah, and urban farms were created because...some people like the idea of urban farms.

  • Paul.||

    Apropos of my comment in the Egypt Thread, you can see why living in Seattle might make one wary of democracy.

    http://seattlebikeblog.com/tag/urban-agriculture/

  • BakedPenguin||

    ...you can see why living in Seattle any democracy that's ever existed might make one wary of democracy.
  • Whiterun Guard||

    Just like the TSA.

  • ||

    Seattle is already the second biggest home for startups, whether "social entrepreneurship" (a totally retarded term) or not, after Silicon Valley.

    I've met a lot of low foreheads who want to change the world with dreams and talk who start startups. That fail, miserably. I have to give them credit for trying, but it isn't easy. And here's something I've also seen: if you're a low forehead who uses tons of buzzwords like "social entrepreneurship" and constantly talks about how your startup is going to be "socially responsible" or green or what not, guess what? You are almost assuredly a fool regarding business and I would bet against you succeeding, and I would bet a lot. And 99 times out of 100, I'll win that bet.

  • Paul.||

    . And 99 times out of 100, I'll win that bet.

    Does that make you the 99%?

  • ||

    Hey Paul, let's meet up at Pioneer Square Park. I have a few dozen guys who have the potential to eat your face off that I'd like you to meet. Bring some bath salts.

  • Paul.||

    Bring some bath salts.

    If this is another evening that ends with you and me in a hot, soapy bath, I'm going to have to say no this time.

  • ||

    You weren't complaining last time!

  • Paul.||

    I had just come out of a tough divorce and was feeling vulnerable.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I have a few dozen guys who have the potential to eat your face off that I'd like you to meet.

    God, Seattle hobos are the worst! I have never seen a more entitled, aggressive, and arrogant group of bums in my life.

  • ||

    You got that right. It's a severe problem.

  • ||

    They winter in Tucson...

  • ||

    Seattle is already the second biggest home for startups, whether "social entrepreneurship" (a totally retarded term) or not, after Silicon Valley.

    epi still lives in 1998.

    Seattle is on a huge decline. Why do anything in a city that takes years to get a permit and has shitty weather and shitty people when you can simply move to Texas.

    Epi you do realize that Washington State is at the bottom of every "place to do business" list in existence right?

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    I was reading a book on real estate development, and in the first paragraph of the forward, the author plainly said that if you are planning to develop commercial/residential property for any "social" reason, you are doomed to fail. He went on to say that providing quality commercial/housing space was already good for society. The motivation to develop is to create a profit for the developer, to enable him to develop more quality projects, to make more profit, etc. His argument against having a "social" reason for development is that too many interests become involved, money comes with strings attached, and the project becomes mediocre. Mediocre projects fail. He wrote that back in 1978. We still ain't learned it yet.

  • Drake||

    Were is Seattle on the list of bankruptcies and start-up failures? I'm not impressed by Hipsters starting businesses that end up flaming wrecks in a year.

  • ChrisO||

    Good for them, as long as they're playing around with somebody's money other than mine.

  • Paul.||

    And as long as they're playing around with someone else's money who gave it to them voluntarily, eyes open, knowing that they were investing in a business model whose primary mission had the words "sustainable", "justice" and "social" in it, I'm goood... I'm good.

  • ||

    Seattle is like the Paris of Washington.

    Everyone in Seattle are cold friendless snobs and everyone else in the state hates them.

  • Paul.||

    Everyone in Seattle are cold friendless snobs

    I'm no snob!

  • ||

    I'm no snob!

    Ballard is not Seattle. So shut up and learn to drive.

  • ||

    I got a start up idea.

    Seattle city council just passed an ordinance that prohibits coal from Montana from going through it Seattle's Port to China.

    The thing is the train tracks go to Greys Harbor...an old logging deep harbor port that has all the shit you need to load ships up with coal.

    All we need is a Republican Governor and about 100 acres of industrial property.

  • R C Dean||

    I suspect the Seattle city council is about to get a lesson in the "dormant" Commerce Clause.

    Its a shame they don't generally televise court hearings. I suspect the video of the judge laughing helplessly as he trashed their ordinance would go viral.

  • ||

    I suspect the Seattle city council is about to get a lesson in the "dormant" Commerce Clause.

    I am sure coal would require port terminal improvements.

    If you don't think a Seattle land use planner with he full force of Seattle's city council backing him up can't stop a port terminal building permit in Washington state then please send me some of that Texas sink you are smoking.

    Hell they probably just changed the zoning of the port to disallow coal transport and storage. "We are not prohibiting coal transport...we are only prohibiting it in this zoning"

    Never mind any SEPA requirements they could pile on.

    "How do you plan on mitigating the coal dust that might blow off from transport on the trains?"

    No one spending 10s of millions of dollars would go up against that Juggernaut.

    So there will never be a court video.

    I don't think you appreciate how different it is here in Washington compared to Texas and how deeply fucked my state is.

  • Paul.||

    As a resident of Seattle, this scenario is accurate. That is all.

  • Paul.||

    The commerce clause being used for its original intent... intriguing...

  • Brandybuck||

    More central planning mindset. Want to solve social problems? Get out of the way of the people are!

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement