What We’re About

We believe real and lasting change can be accomplished by using business strategies to tackle specific social and environmental issues. We see this happening all over the world: business solutions that bring cheap and sustainable lighting to communities that have no electricity or businesses that hire recently incarcerated individuals entering back into the community.

We want people with innovative solutions to succeed. We have brought together a team of mentors, consultants, and community leaders to work with each startup and take them from business plan to viable business. While we wish to launch as many of these types of startups as we can, our goal is to create sustainable ventures that will compete in the marketplace. We do this through a rigorous 3-month curriculum in which for profit and nonprofit startups work meticulously to find the right product to market fit.

In less than a year, we held a pitch contest with 200 attendees, raised 120% of our fundraising goal, launched our pilot accelerator program with two local startups, and were featured in the Santa Cruz Sentinel 4 times. As a 501(c)(3) CA nonprofit, we rely on the support of our community to keep this incredible momentum going. Please consider making a gift so we can continue bringing social innovation and solutions to Santa Cruz.


Board Members

janneke-bioJanneke Lang – President 

The Executive Director and President, Janneke Lang, has a background in communications, project and office management, and community organizing. She has experience in technical writing, business writing, and blogging. Janneke has been writing about social enterprises for over a year.

View her LinkedIn profile here: www.linkedin.com/in/jannekejlang


Doug Erickson – Vice President

Doug Erickson, is Vice President of International Business Development of Nanigans, founder of the 2,000+ tech professional organization Santa Cruz New Tech Meetup, and has experience in community organizing, startups, and funding.

View his LinkedIn profile here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericksondoug



Robert Singleton – Secretary

Robert Singleton, is Co-Founder of Civinomics, Chief Policy Analyst for the Santa Cruz Business Council, Content Manager for the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership and has experience in community organizing, startups, and advocacy.

View his LinkedIn profile here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-singleton


Sara Swenson – Treasurer

Sara Swenson, is the Director of Product Management at Vivo Technologies and has experience in startups, nonprofit management, and operations. With an MBA from Santa Clara University, she has mentored social entrepreneurs including one startup that was nominated for Tech Awards

View her LinkedIn profile here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sdswenson


Blog Authors

Kate Reid

Kate Reid is a freelance writer and ghost blogger. She has been writing about organizational culture, talent management, millennials and our evolving global workforce for 3 years. An avid traveler with a passion for creative non-fiction, Kate hopes to inspire others to explore the world of social enterprises, and develop a social mission of their own, through her writing for The Inspiring Enterprise. Kate writes the Social Enterprise column on The Inspiring Enterprise blog.

View her LinkedIn profile here: www.linkedin.com/in/reidkate


Teresa LinkedInTeresa Ruiz-Decker

Teresa Ruiz-Decker has spent the last 10+ years working in marketing and communications within the private, public and nonprofit sectors. She is currently the Communications and Marketing Manager for SACNAS and serves on the leadership board for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network. Teresa writes the Thriving Nonprofits column on The Inspiring Enterprise Blog.

View her LinkedIn profile here: www.linkedin.com/in/tsruiz