TOMS Shoes

The Teenage Sensation of TOMS Shoes

By Jules Hill

Taking social entrepreneurship to mean the recognition of a social problem and use of

entrepreneurial principles to organize, create and manage a venture to achieve social change, TOMS

Shoes represents a perfect embodiment of the principles of social entrepreneurship.

TOMS Shoes

Copyright Flickr user: stayneglected

The social problem that TOMS Shoes aims to change is the lack of shoes for children in

developing countries. By not having shoes, children are exposed to an array of problems such as soil-

transmitted diseases, infected cuts and sores, and the inability to attend schools due to shoes being a

required part of the uniform.

TOMS Shoes’ goal is to achieve social change and reduce the number of barefooted children in

developing countries through entrepreneurship. By taking advantage of a market of consumers who

seek a sense of altruism, but don’t have the time or information to make personal donations to

charities, TOMS Shoes can produce two pairs of shoes at an extremely cheap price, send one pair to a

developing country and give one pair to the consumer, and still turn a large profit due to a massive mark

up on sales price, all while providing a great service and product to the consumer. This embodies social

entrepreneurship as it turns peoples’ social conscience into profit, while helping improve the social

situation in developing countries. The combination of appealing to social consciousness and helping

social situations creates a promise of stability and support from consumer markets. TOMS Shoes is one

of the best companies at effectively turning social consciousness into a sustainable business.

TOMS Shoes has successfully organized, created and managed a maintainable venture that will

continue to generate revenue, allowing it to grow and continue providing shoes to more and more

children in developing countries. They have identified a social problem, and used entrepreneurial

principles to innovate a new business structure that promotes continuing social change. Hence, TOMS

Shoes represent a forerunner in social entrepreneurship and is a paradigm of its principles.