Businesses of all types and sizes are joining the movement to sustainable enterprise. By being environmentally and socially responsible, businesses hope to merge old and new economic models to help people at the bottom of the economic pyramid.
"The more healthy people are, the more viable and employable they are, they become generators of wealth in our society, and that resounds to the benefit of business and the entire society," says UNC professor Dr. Jim Johnson.
Squirrel Feeders.comis a model for other "nanocorps" Jim Salmons and Timlynn Babitsky are developing. The owner-operator businesses use the Internet to tie together people with high- and low-tech skills.
"If you want to participate in the new economy, but you're not interested in becoming a techie, well, if you can make stuff then there's a place for you," Salmons says.
Big companies like Dupont are also taking on the challenge.
"Where you're looking at not only where we may do business now, but at the bottom of the economic pyramid where we really don't do business now. We need to learn how to do business in those areas," says Dupont's John Lott.
A fund set up as part of North Carolina's Rural Prosperity Task Force will be administered by the Kenan-Flagler Business School.