Susan Post introduced Aspire, the Columbus-cultivated award ceremony honoring social entrepreneurs. The annual award show began in 2013, and continues to celebrate social enterprise in Columbus today. Similar to many events in 2020, Aspire will be held virtually. Now the event has a larger capacity for more people to share this celebratory experience sponsored by Social Ventures.
Three awards exist, which include Social Enterprise of the Year, Emerging Social Enterprise of the Year, and Nonprofit Sustainability. To give context to the awards, Susan gave examples of previous winners which included Freedom A La Cart, Honest Jobs, and Clean Turn. For this year, the award show has two awards: Social Enterprise of the Year award and the new Social Enterprise Coronavirus Pivot. Susan explained the importance of paying attention to recognizing the “social enterprises that were faced with huge challenges in their operational models because of the situation and found really great ways to pivot and find new ways to serve the community and carry out their mission.”
Aspire establishes recognition, and provides a platform for social enterprises to tell their stories. Susan personally feels the value of awareness around social enterprise. People should see the link of engaging with social good initiatives to the impact born from the participation. The power of impact at scale becomes a more tangible topic to the general public.
In this year’s awards, the public will be able to feel more acquainted with the award nominees. Susan shared her delight about the one-on-one interviews Aspire had with finalists. Unlike previous years, the interviews are a way to hear directly from the nominees. Susan suggested anyone in the general public can start by browsing listings from Social Ventures. She encourage everyone to actively discover social enterprises, whether local or non-local.
From my experience, one thing I observed is that people in Columbus are supportive of each other. Spaces built for opening doors and connecting names with faces are at the core of the organic web of genuine effort in Columbus. Speaking of Columbus, we dived into Susan’s origin story. As of now, Susan worked with Metroprenuer for over seven years, but of course there is a journey prior to joining the initiative. She grew up in Ohio, and attended Ohio State University (OSU). Susan briefly explained how she ended up in her career path.
Circling back to the awards, Susan informed everyone that tickets are a give-what-you-want donation this year. If you donate more than $15, you’ll be eligible to win a social impact box from Social Ventures.
Susan further expressed interactions she had in Ohio. She explained her thoughts on writing articles to convey the excitement companies have around their impact and missions. Susan speaks on the future complications Columbus could face, including evictions. The issues began before the evictions.l, and we dove into the topics layering social issues in Columbus. We had the type of conversation where you need more time.