How Should Startups Cultivate a Culture of Social Change? 

How Should Startups Cultivate a Culture of Social Change 

Creating a profitable business is essential to sustain business operations. The thing is, as a startup founder, profit should not be the only thing you seek. If you are running a business with the sole aim of selling stuff and making huge profits, then you are missing the bigger picture. You should also give back to society in any way you can while keeping your business growth. 

Many leading and successful organisations from different parts of the world are already doing their bit towards social reform which helps these organisations flourish. If you are not convinced enough, let’s take a look at these two businesses that have gone out of their way to make a change in society. 


Some individuals, due to certain conditions (visual impairment, severe dyslexia, cerebral palsy etc.), cannot get the opportunity to read their favourite books from their favourite authors. Bookshare comes up with a unique solution to fix this problem. Bookshare provides a customised reading experience using ebooks, audiobooks, highlighted texts, and braille to those who want to read but are not able to do so because of certain conditions. Many schools and students get free access to their online library of books, while adults can subscribe to the service for less than $1 per week. 


CrushXO is an excellent example of how a business works to maintain profitability and have a positive impact on society through philanthropy. CrushXO is a beauty startup that designs vegan-friendly makeup products infused with various gemstones, such as Sapphire, Rose Quartz, Amethyst, etc. What sets this company apart is that while other companies are exploiting the same niche, CrushXO donates 5 percent of its total sales to various charitable causes dedicated to increasing education and awareness on breast cancer, female education, women empowerment, etc. Thanks to this move, many fashion models and digital influences have come on board to support CrushXO’s mission and spread it across the globe. 

These are two influential startups you can learn from. Now it is your turn to stand up and do something that can change the lives of others for the better. The first step you can do is to ensure you initiate social responsibility from day one, then build on a culture of social change. 

Cultivating a culture of social change 

Building a startup’s culture tapped into a founder’s passion for social responsibility and their decision to make it a priority. Founder’s passion will be able to ignite efforts from employees to create inspired engagement programs, lead product donation or discount initiatives, implement office recycling drives and more – while maintaining employee’s day jobs of building a new company. 

If your startup does not have a founder’s passion to rely on, Harvard Business Review suggests several rules to build a corporate culture. Three of which are particularly relevant to building a social responsibility culture. Here are the three rules: 

  • Start with a purpose. By starting with a purpose of being a responsible business, employees will associate with that purpose and accept it as the company culture. 
  • Define common values and standards. If employees are aware and witness that responsible practices are valued, they might be motivated to incorporate these practices in their roles and the culture can take hold. 
  • Embrace colleagues who best exemplify the company culture. When colleagues who regularly demonstrate social responsibility practices are visibly commended, other employees are more likely to want to share in that recognition and participate in those activities. 

An initial step in creating a social responsibility strategy can be as simple as providing a culture that your employees will love. Hope the three tips above can help your startup social responsibility flourish. 

Read also: PASSION: The Prerequisites of Being Successful Entrepreneur