INTERVIEW: Don Diva Magazine
by Ryan Smith
Oftentimes, the greatest innovations are born when a problem (personal or societal) needs fixing. Social justice champion Brandale Randolph is doing just that, with his new high-end brand and company 1854 Cycling. The problems he is solving through the Boston-based 1854 Cycling are both personal and societal, in scope. Personally, Randolph needed a bike that he liked, but was not available. In a societal sense, 1854 Cycling aims to substantially improve the lives of the less fortunate, especially returning citizens (i.e. the formerly incarcerated).
We spoke with Randolph about 1854 Cycling, the concept of “social entrepreneurship and more.
DD: What is “social entrepreneurship,” in your definition?
BR: I differ from a lot of people in the way that I define “social entrepreneurship.” For some people, it’s just doing good and making money. For me, it’s much deeper than that. For me, “social entrepreneurship” is about new businesses that exist to positively change the arc of the lives of disadvantaged populations. For example, giving away a pair of shoes for each pair that is purchase; planting trees on weekends or hiring people for non-skilled positions, but paying them minimum wages only marginally improves the lives of people in poverty and, to a lesser extent, their communities. However, when your company is supporting, hiring, training and paying living wages to people, such as ex-offenders, you are changing the arc of their lives because your company is now a catalyst to break cycles of generational poverty. There is “doing good” and then there is helping to change that arc that often leads back to raising children in poverty.