Could Austin become a hub for social impact startups?

Austin social entrepreneur Susie Sosa makes the case

Posted March 11th, 2016

Austin has the right ingredients to become a hub for startups focused on doing good things while also making money.

That's the take by Suzi Sosa, co-founder and CEO of Verb, which produces competitions for social entrepreneurs who are working toward solving a global problem.

"We have this thriving startup scene and we also have a very rich social impact community. We have more nonprofits per capital than any other city," Sosa said during a South by Southwest Interactive panel titled Two Ways to Keep the Austin Startup Scene Weird. 

Susie Sosa, co-founder and CEO of Verb

"You see the fusion of these two things happening in the startup community," she said. "The great opportunity for us to have a weird startup scene is for us to be national front runners in that way of approaching business."

Sosa cited some two examples of Austin startups:

-Kasita, which is tackling the issue of affordable housing by creating small pre-fabricated dwellings that can be stacked and plugged into city utilities. 

-Reaction Housing, which creates inexpensive, reusable portable shelters for disasters such as hurricanes. They can be stacked on semi-trucks to send them to places for disaster relief.

"It's about for-profit and non-profit organizations that put social impact and environmental impact on at least equal footing as financial return," Sosa said. "Austin is the perfect place to be the leader of this."