Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Full Circle - Social Entrepreneurship at Its Best

Cindy Jenkins has been an entrepreneur unawares for most of her life. Even during her 20 years with a “day job” in the legal field, she always had some sort of business on the side - reupholstery, carpet cleaning, remodeling, and paint and wallpaper. But it wasn’t until she attended the FastTrac SC program that she realized why. The program teaches basic entrepreneurship principles including how to start a business the right way. Her first attempt was a business development company that taught her the downside of spreading yourself too thin. The upside is that it led her to the nonprofit sector. Cindy and nonprofits have turned out to be the proverbial “match made in heaven.”

About the same time she was being drawn to nonprofits, she discovered Groupon and their innovative business model. They send discount deals to thousands of subscribers in their free daily email, and promise that the participating businesses will gain a ton of new customers as a result. As any true entrepreneur would do, Cindy started thinking on how that model could be used by nonprofits.

One morning, she literally woke up with the entire Full Circle idea in her head. All the details - the name, logo, colors, business card – were crystal clear. The concept is simple. In addition to promoting a daily deal, each deal-offering business would also choose a nonprofit to support. Every time a deal was purchased, the nonprofit would receive a percentage of the purchase price. The customers would receive a great deal. The business would receive new customers and oodles of exposure to new audiences. And the nonprofit would receive a donation. Everybody would win! And as Cindy had learned in FastTrac, when everybody wins, everybody wins.

Full Circle is currently running a Sweepstakes to help them get launched in Charleston, SC with plans to expand into other markets soon. The prize is $500 for your favorite nonprofit. To find out how your favorite nonprofit can be the winner (or to help Chicks with Checks win on behalf of one of our favorite nonprofits!) , visit

Together, we can make 2011 the Year of Giving.

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