A Drive to Work with People Changing the World

Briteweb founder Steve Rio credits SVI and Web of Change for generating business value.
Thursday August 09, 2012
Article by Camille Jensen, Axiom News

It wasn’t as if the work Steve Rio was doing prior to founding his current design and communications agency was all that bad.

In fact, his previous web company turned away large projects if it couldn’t ethically support the company’s objectives. But, a moral code or mandate was never ingrained in the company’s mission or communications, and it left Steve thirsting for more.

In 2009, Steve attended Hollyhock’s Web of Change and Social Venture Institute (SVI) conferences, where he participated in a series of conversations that made him realize his work needed to be more meaningful. After SVI, Steve returned to Vancouver to start a new company called Briteweb with an overt mandate to work with companies changing the world.

“In no uncertain terms, this is who we work with,” says Steve, citing social ventures, non-profits and organizations serious about their corporate social responsibility (CSR).

“We’re committed to that.”       

Referring to the open declaration found on his website’s homepage as “a bit scary at first,” Steve credits the SVI network for responding to his manifesto with a flood of business.

“Some of the biggest work we’ve done in the last year came from meetings I had at SVI in 2011,” Steve tells Axiom News, adding Web of Change also created new business opportunities.

“Those two conferences really sparked a lot of the work we did this year, and we’re still working.”

One of those projects is with Acumen Fund, a leading global venture fund that provides patient capital and grants to social enterprises.

As it turns out, Steve was carpooling with Jo-Ann Tan, Acumen Fund’s lead architect, to SVI. The conversations that started in the car led to Britweb designing an interactive website connecting all of the volunteer Acumen Fund chapters across the globe. The network site also allows members to create their own community sites in minutes, and manage the network without tech support.

For Steve, the project is one of many that remind him how fortunate he is to do make a living following his passion. Other clients include Vancouver-based eco-fashion designer Nicole Bridger and Clean Energy Canada.

“I don’t think I would get out of bed and work as hard as I do every day if I wasn’t feeling like I had an impact on the world,” he says.

Steve will be attending this year’s SVI and says while the conference has been fortuitous in building his business, his biggest pleasure is taking in the natural splendour coupled with expansive conversations.

“I love being there; to me, it’s a business meditation,” says Steve.

This year’s SVI takes place Sept. 12-16. To learn more, click here.

Axiom News provides Stakeholder News to Hollyhock, Canada's lifelong learning centre. Click here to view this article's original post at Hollyhocklife.org.