It’s no secret that Utah has rapidly grown in popularity within the startup community, we even have the numbers to prove it. According to medium.com’s analysis from “state census data, NVCA and PwC,” Utah placed third behind California and Boston when it comes to per capita venture capital funding raised. Similarly, siliconslopes.com states that the number of seed funding deals in the state has grown five times in less than a decade from $12.6 million to $63 million. What does this all mean? Entrepreneurs in Utah are taking advantage of growing business opportunities and making a huge difference not only worldwide but especially on a local level here in Utah. We are highlighting five startups you should know about that are giving back to their communities.
STARTUPS GIVING BACK
Company: Level Nine Sports - Online outdoor gear retailer
Mission: Here at Level Nine Sports we take pride in our strong record of philanthropy as a part of what we feel is responsible corporate citizenship so-to-speak. Every year we donate our time, gear, money, and some elbow grease toward improving our community at the local and global level. This is a core principle that was introduced by our owner and founder Richard Sinden and we take it seriously.
What they do: On Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day, Level Nine donates every dollar earned to charity. Last year, they donated to two different global organizations: “Pencils of promise” and “givedirectly.org,” making it possible for Level Nine to help build a school in Africa. At the local level, the company’s team had the initiative to help build homes with Habitat for Humanity and give back to a 12 different local nonprofits (listed at the end of article).
Company: Momentum Recycling - Glass recycling in Utah and Colorado
Mission: When planning first began for the new glass recycling facility in Salt Lake City, we set a goal of integrating community service into our hiring practices and staffing plan.
What they do: We pride ourselves on hiring individuals who may otherwise face barriers to employment. To achieve this mission, Momentum partners with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) – whose program helps support refugee resettlement – as well as Odyssey House, a local non-profit that helps individuals who have struggled with substance abuse reclaim their lives and get back into healthy, stable environments.
Company: TaskEasy - On-demand lawn care and snow removal service
Mission: At TaskEasy, we focus on empowering people to build stronger communities and fuel the local economy. Community service is just one of the ways in which we can deliver this promise directly. Our mission stems from our team’s desire to unite and participate in local projects.
“This idea started when a small group of us planned to get together and take time out of our day to clean up local trails for the city. When we were encouraged to invite more people outside our department, the number of volunteers boosted in just three days. That’s when we realized the spirit and level of excitement TaskEasy as a team holds about making a difference in our community.” -Juliana, Community Outreach Coordinator
What they do: Aside from supporting 5,000 plus local independent contractors with jobs, general liability and accidental occupational insurance; TaskEasy partnered with the city of Salt Lake encouraging the team to donate service time to contribute to the Community Square Gardens. TaskEasy also works with the Utah Food Bank, most recently donating hundreds of pounds of food to families in need.
Company: Cotopaxi - Innovative outdoor products and adventures
Mission: One of the core pillars of our giving strategy is livelihoods, i.e., initiatives which empower individuals and communities to lift themselves out of poverty by creating sustainable income opportunities. Teaching computer science fits perfectly within that strategy, as it addresses one of the core needs of a community of over 50,000 refugees in the State of Utah.
What they do: Cotopaxi works with Refugee Services through the State’s Department of Workforce Services. Cotopaxi and Adobe have come together to kick off a statewide skills-based volunteer initiative focused on building computer science capacity here in Utah. The team has embarked on this initiative by providing weekly coding trainings in partnership with the Bhutanese community in Salt Lake City. Aside from their local efforts, Cotopaxi has partnered with 11 different charities worldwide (listed at the end of the article) contributing to health, education, and livelihood initiatives.
Company: Even Stevens - Sandwiches
Mission: Beyond simply handing out sandwiches, our donations allow local nonprofits to save cash. Where resources would normally go towards food purchases, they instead go to transitional programs – shelter, resume building, legal assistance, and more. In this way, the sandwiches we give back to each community are an investment in that community’s growth and well-being.
What they do: For every sandwich sold at Even Stevens, another is donated to local nonprofits including YWCA, the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake, the Good Samaritan Program and the VOA Homeless Youth Outreach. The “Eat To Give” program works like this; at the end of the month Even Steven’s staff gathers data on the total amount of sandwiches sold, then the same amount of ingredients are ordered for volunteers to "build sandwiches and spread the love to individuals in need.”
A big thank you to all startups leaving a footprint in many lives around the world, especially on a local level. If you’d like to join us in making a difference, I’ve put together a list of institutions that our favorite startups are involved with and are supporting good causes in the community.
- Rescue Mission of Salt Lake
- Good Samaritan Program
- VOA Homeless Youth Outreach
- International Rescue Committee
- Utah Department of Workforces Refugee Offices
- Odyssey House
- Boys and Girls Club of Utah
- Wasatch Adaptive Sports
- Huntsman Cancer Foundation
- Make A Wish
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah
- The Road Home
- Utah Food Bank
- Service in the City volunteer Program
- Habitat for Humanity Utah
- Choice Humanitarian
- Radiating Hope
National and International Nonprofits
- Pencils of Promise
- Qosqo Maki
- Philippine Community Fund
- Kilimanjaro Kids Community
- Health & Ed 4 Nepal
- Charity Water
- Jardine, Chad. "Utah Beats New York in Per Capita Venture Capital - Startups in the Rockies." Medium. Medium.com, 10 Mar. 2015. Web. 27 Oct. 2015.
- Curry, Tessa. "Kickstart, Peterson, Peak Help Utah Seed Funding Outpace U.S." Silicon Slopes ICal. N.p., 18 Feb. 2015. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.
- Scheffler, Ted. "Even Stevens Sandwiches." City Weekly. N.p., 26 Nov. 2014. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.