Trading companies



Some non-profit enterprises set up for-profit trading companies specifically to supply their products, which the non-profit then distributes.



  • Often this model is adopted after the enterprise has developed the product as a non-profit and become successful enough selling it that it has the potential to deliver a return on private investment.
  • In this case, the non-profit may want to remain a non-profit focused on its less-profitable activities, but also want to use the profitability of its product to generate revenues to subsidize these activities.
  • Creating a separate company can allow the new company to access private capital without compromising the non-profit’s social goals.
  • Some enterprises, such as Lifeline Energystarted as the non-profit arm of a product manufacturing company.  Lifeline has since become independent and started its own supply company, Lifeline Technologies Trading Limited.
  • Other enterprises were created as non-profits and for-profit trading companies simultaneously and The Sun Shines For All in Brazil).


Case: ECCA/FutureNow Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA) is a Nepalese non-profit focused on the wise use of environmental resources in Nepal.

  • In 2004 ECCA introduced a solar lantern, the Solar Tuki, as a means of creating access to an alternative to kerosene lamps, since a large percent of the population is off-grid and fixed solar panels are far out of most people’s price range.
  • In 2007, ECCA established Future Now (Future Technology Now) Pvt. Ltd., a private limited company which has since been responsible for product development and sales while ECCA continues to focus on promoting social mobilization and environmental benefits.
  • As a private company, FutureNow was eligible to receive an interest-bearing loan from the ERM Foundation as a means of capitalizing future product development and expanded distribution.