May 06, 2019 - 9:15am

Seeds of Change: Why Washington, DC is the Place for Social Entrepreneurs to Thrive

When TwentyTables founder Alex Cohen started his socially-driven community of food, he knew he wouldn’t have to look to Silicon Valley. Alex started his company in his own backyard. Washington, DC is known as a thriving hub for social entrepreneurship and impact-driven businesses, and with good reason. With access to local, state, and federal government, an international populace, and thousands of foundations, NGOs, and nonprofits, Washington, DC is the perfect place to launch a social impact business.

Social impact startups, which attempt to solve large-scale social problems with scalable businesses, often require frank conversations about tough problems in order to get off the ground. Collaboration between key players is crucial to find solutions that will create lasting impact. For TwentyTables, that meant engaging from the beginning with DC organizations focused on hunger and food insecurity. Alex formed early partnerships with Capital Area Food Bank, DC Central Kitchen, and Martha’s Table to donate five meals to the hungry and food insecure for every twenty meals a user purchased on his platform. Because of the perspective those organizations were able to provide, he was able to bake a charitable component into the core of his business model and make sure that everyone’s incentives were aligned. Having access to leading organizations in DC who are immersed in the problem of food insecurity every day meant that he did not have to reinvent the wheel.

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