How Promoting Entrepreneurs Drives Business and Social Value

Lauren Moore, eBay Inc.’s Head of Global Social Innovation

In today’s market, shareholder value is increasingly measured in more ways than purely financial gain, and at eBay Inc. we’ve placed a great deal of importance on our capacity to drive both business and social impact. While our company started as an innovative idea 18 years ago, that same founding spirit of entrepreneurship and purpose continues to run deep throughout our company today.

From our work to serve entrepreneurs and startups outside the company walls, to the intrapreneurs we empower everyday within our business, we continue to innovate and sustain an ecosystem of entrepreneurship that attracts and retains employees, propels our business to new heights and supports communities around the world.

Externally, we empower small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to build and grow their enterprises, globally. Over the past two decades, our platforms and tools have enabled SMBs to thrive by connecting them to the global marketplace.

Take, for example, Taushif Ansari, who runs an online clothing store out of one of Mumbai’s biggest slums. Through his eBay- and PayPal-enabled store, he has been able to take his designs to more than 30 countries around the world, hire five people and buy three sewing machines; he is investing his profits right back into his business and his community.

By providing a way for business owners like Taushif to break free from the geographical limits of their immediate surroundings, we help them compete and win over the long-term, which in turn positively impacts their families, communities and local economies.

But we don’t just stop there. Through our in-office incubators in New York City, Boston, Tel Aviv, Chennai, and elsewhere, and other eBay Inc. programs like the PayPal Startup Blueprint and Braintree Ignition programs, we’re committed to helping entrepreneurs from day one – from the moment of inspiration.

And as they scale, we strive to be a partner of choice, making sure they get the support they need to survive and grow. We know that when they succeed, powerful economic and social impacts result for them and their communities – and we’re proud to be a part of that.

In addition to our work supporting entrepreneurs externally, we also celebrate and foster that same spirit of entrepreneurship among our employees around the world. Take, for instance, our Powering Giving program. Ten years ago, a group of employees set out to prove that the eBay platform could also be a phenomenal tool for nonprofit fundraising and charitable giving.

We were intrigued by the idea and gave them the resources to test it out. Today, that small team has expanded to a cross-organizational group of some 50 employees, all committed to building the world’s largest charitable-giving platform.

They’ve proven the concept, demonstrated the business value and are blazing the path forward. And, together, they’ve generated some impressive results. In 2013 alone, our platforms benefited more than 330,000 nonprofits and helped generate nearly $5 billion for good – further highlighting our commitment as a purpose-driven company.

Creating an ecosystem for entrepreneurship and innovation inside and outside our company is at the core of our business, and we believe it’s not only a great way to create value for shareholders, but is also a critical way to attract and retain top talent.

As a purpose-driven business, we continue to innovate and provide shared value for our business, our shareholders and the communities where we live and work. It’s a commitment that is the backbone of our company, and we believe it will help drive business and societal success for generations to come.

Moving forward, we hope even more companies will adopt this philosophy, and together we can all play a part in making the world a better, more sustainable and enabling place for all people.

Editor's Note: The following blog post originally appeared in the latest issue of Cornerstone Journal of Sustainable Finance & Banking