PRISM Awards accepting nominations for social impact businesses

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More business owners are determined that their company should make a social impact, and the second annual PRISM Awards will recognize some of those community leaders.

“We want to honor the best of the best and bring more awareness to those businesses that are serving a segment of the population by giving back to stakeholders and employees and the community,” said Jonathan Liebert, CEO and executive director of the Colorado Institute for Social Impact [CI4SI].

The 2018 PRISM Awards will be co-presented by CI4SI and Vectra Bank from 4:30-8 p.m. March 2 at the Briarhurst Manor Estate.

To register for the event, or submit nominations for the awards, go to ci4si.org/prism-awards. Nominations must be submitted online no later than Jan. 29.

Categories include Social Impact Business of the Year, Social Entrepreneur of the Year and Social Impact Startup of the Year.

Last year’s winners were Blue Star Recyclers in the Business of the Year category, Who Gives a Scrap in the startup division and Tyler Peoples of Springs Rescue Mission as Social Entrepreneur of the Year.

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“The goal is to make people aware of this growing sector of our economy and to celebrate social impact businesses and social entrepreneurs who are growing our economy and making an impact on our community,” Liebert said. “We want to honor the social entrepreneurs in our community and give them recognition for their hard work and show why they’re different than traditional businesses.”

Liebert said many of these businesses are hybrids, combining the for-profit and nonprofit models.

“People are combining their entrepreneurial skills with a social cause and doing both in the for-profit setting,” he said.

Liebert is also CEO and executive director of the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado. CI4SI, formerly the BBB of Southern Colorado Foundation, is focused on serving social impact organizations with access to education and resources.

CI4SI’s mission is to “Harness social impact to accelerate the evolution of business.”

“We probably have two or three meetings every week with social entrepreneurs interested in doing something like this,” Liebert said. “And there are business people who’ve made a lot of money but want to do something more now.”

Liebert said that consumers’ money goes further when they purchase products from social impact businesses. He also said that many Millennials prefer to work for a company that wants to make a social impact.

“To attract and retain the Millennial workforce, you need a higher purpose-driven business,” Liebert said.

“The economic rules are changing,” Liebert said in a press release. “Consumers are more informed and conscious about where they spend their money. They want to know how businesses are positively impacting their communities. We believe that Colorado Springs is the ideal location and is well-positioned to lead the national movement on social impact.”

Shawn Gullixson, vice president of Vectra Bank, said in the release that the local bank “feels a connection to the development of the social impact movement” and is excited about what it could mean to the community.

“The support of this effort is critical to the long-term health of our economy,” Gullixson said. “More jobs, more families and the opportunity to outreach to all sectors of Colorado Springs. We are thrilled to be a partner with CI4SI for the second year of the PRISM Awards.”