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Unreasonables, Episode 10: Does Making Money Mean The End Of Doing Good?

As one social entrepreneur looks to scale her company so she can have the most impact, she must decide whether being a nonprofit will help or hinder her efforts.

Saba Gul’s handbag company, Bliss, has a simple model: Pakistani girls earn money making the bags in exchange for going to school. By giving them both an income and an education, Gul hopes that Bliss can break the cycle of poverty and give a generation of girls more choices in life.

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But Bliss is a small company. To truly make a difference in the lives of Pakistani girls, the company will need to scale up, which means producing more bags. So Gul is confronted with a dilemma that many social entrepeneurs face: Should her company be for-profit or a nonprofit. As a nonprofit, Bliss would avoid accusations that it was exploiting its young workers; as a for-profit, it would have more of a chance of making enough money to employ more girls. What’s the right call? Even the mentors at the Unreasonable Institute disagree.

This is the latest video in The Unreasonables, a series tracking the participants in the most recent Unreasonable Institute. To see what’s coming up, watch a preview of the whole season and see a list of all the episodes here.

About the author

Morgan is a senior editor at Fast Company. He edits the Ideas section, formerly FastCoExist.com.

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