A foundational element of Shorefast is the concept of social entrepreneurship – using business minded ways to achieve social goals. While charity itself is not sustainable, social entrepreneurship can be the basis of building sustainable communities.
Shorefast projects synthesize the strengths of nature and culture to stimulate economic activity. Our social enterprise model is structured so that businesses are servants of community and optimize for culture and community wellbeing. We approach all of our projects with a view to being as gentle as possible with the natural ecology.
How do we do this?
Philanthropic funds are used to develop new business systems, creating community owned assets with financial return reinvested back into the place it is designed to serve. Economic engines, operated in a business trust, are created in service of place. Net earnings from business activities are allocated to the sole beneficiary of the trust – the charity – and subsequently reinvested in local initiatives to further strengthen cultural and economic resilience.
The Fogo Island Inn is our first economic engine.
Success is measured through sales, net profits, and efficiency, along with job creation, ability to fortify culture in products produced, and transferring existing skills to the next generation of Fogo Islanders and beyond. We are measuring impact on social, cultural and natural capital in addition to economic capital. Our greatest success will be measured by the value of our learnings for others.
We balance theory and practice, business and social responsibility – a true working social enterprise. Our scale that is small enough to understand but large enough to be relevant, providing huge learning opportunities for others.
Business Assistance Fund
Shorefast established a $1 million micro loan fund (The Shorefast Business Assistance Fund) that supports the growth of locally owned businesses. Our vision of a strong and inclusive local economy is supported by this fund which is designed to help entrepreneurs get started or expand. To date, Shorefast has extended financing to 16 local small businesses.