Monthly Archives: December 2016
Connection. Development work is sometimes a lonely job. You work almost round the clock, you meet various obstacles along the way, and you meet difficult people, too. The pressure can be daunting and you may want to give up if you cannot air your problems and your situation to somebody who can understand your predicament. With a network, you can ask other people about their own experiences. You can trade stories and lessons learned from your entrepreneurship journey.
Relationships. As you grow your social enterprise, you will need important relationships. You can find friends, mentors and coaches through a social enterprise network. These people will constitute your inner circle and they can help you achieve your goals. The interesting thing in becoming part of the network is the access to relationships that could be mutually beneficial. You contribute your ideas and your thoughts while you get the same thing from others. As you continue to enrich each other, the network becomes better and you end up becoming a topnotch entrepreneur.
Network and Referrals. As you meet more people, you will discover more suppliers that can give you better prices and quality. You can also ask for recommendations and referrals so that you can contact suppliers and vendors in your line of work. When you approach people, you might be surprised at their willingness to help you succeed. Just be courteous and never engage in any unethical behavior or solicitation in your network.
Empowerment. This is perhaps the best reason for you to join a social enterprise network. You can receive training and empowerment. You will meet new people. As you interact with them, you become more effective as an entrepreneur and you understand the things you need to do to make your social enterprise successful.
You don’t have to go through the journey alone. There are countless people like you who need guidance and assistance. Still, there are people who have already gone through the same process and are willing to help beginners. Look for a social enterprise network today and see your growth go sky-high.
Identify the topics you want covered. When you know your objectives and you have set the theme, you can easily identify the topics that will be covered in the conference. If your target audiences are newbies, then you can come up with introductory courses or talks that would help them launch their social enterprises. If they are already veterans in the field, then offer new ways for them to improve and learn something new.
Look for speakers. Based on your topic, look for the speakers who can really motivate and help your participants grow as social entrepreneurs. Track record is important so that the participants will know that your conference is one of the best out there. Theory is great, but seeing it in practice is even better.
Arrange the venue. Look for a suitable venue for your conference. This will depend on the size of your audience. Will you need breakout rooms? Workshop area? A place for networking and chatting? What is your budget? Take these things into account as you look for the venue.
Secure vendors and providers. Look for those who will provide food, materials, and other things you will need for the conference. Don’t just settle for cheap price. Rather, look for reasonable, yet quality rates. If you just settle for cheap, you may save money but the feedback for your conference may also be cheapened. Some people are willing to pay extra for the amenities that they can enjoy.
Scout for sponsors. A lot of people are willing to support your endeavor. You just need to look for them and engage them. Tell them about your project. Let them know how they can help. You will be surprised at their willingness to give a helping hand.
Promote. Lastly, don’t forget to promote your conference like crazy! Ask members of the media to cover your event, let them know why you are doing it. Tell them of the impact of this social entrepreneurship conference.
All these and more is happening at a time when our world is at its peak in terms of cross-border connectivity, exposure to and awareness of international issues and most importantly, technological advancements that we take so much of pride and obsession in.
Creativity, innovation, wealth creation and accumulation, fund-raising efforts, number of NGOs and ‘social enterprises’ and educational standards are apparently all at their pinnacles.
We have never been, as global citizens, in a better position to reduce social, environmental and economic problems around us. So why than, is the exact reverse taking place?
Entrepreneurship has a larger role to play today than it did ever before. I do not mean entrepreneurship only in the sense of a process of starting an innovative start-up but rather a set of life skills as well.
You see there is plenty of entrepreneurship being talked about and even practiced in the sense that we commonly know of. In September 2010 alone, 4600 over companies were registered in Singapore with 74% having a share capital of below $10,000. Tech-based firms with innovative offerings remain the preferred choice of angel investors, government linked funding and even business plan competition wins.
But entrepreneurship must go deeper than all of that to serve its true purpose and to really help us create a better world. Entrepreneurship for a better world is about 3 key aspects – values, skills and platforms.
Entrepreneurial education and exposure will nurture our youths with entrepreneurial values such as passion, perseverance, innovation, integrity and social responsibility. Such values, when embedded into their hearts, minds and spirits will nurture an entire generation that will be passionate about giving, sharing and succeeding. It will enable our youths to deal with failures, overcome barriers, spot opportunities and become survivors. They will become a generation that will be more preoccupied with creating solutions rather than re-emphasizing problems. They will be a generation that will ask ‘how can I make this possible” rather than finding reasons for “why this is impossible”.
Entrepreneurship will also equip and empower as many individuals in our society as possible with the relevant skills necessary to progress. Skills such as communications, relationships management, financial literacy and computer literacy to name a few. Members of societies will be able to leverage on these skills to move forward, to break out of their poverty cycle or help those around them to live more complete lives.
Businesses must be built on the foundations and principles of entrepreneurship so that they can provide safe and sustainable platforms. They must empower those within their reach to take their first step. They must play the role of the parent that buys the bicycle, provides the support for the child to get onto that bicycle and gives that initial push and even hand holding until the child is confident and competent enough to ride on his own. They should be able to create opportunities for those in their communities, show them the avenues and channels and convince them that it is alright for them to step out of their non-ideal comfort zones and take those first steps towards positive change.
1. Socially we are moving from Ownership to Sharing: If you closely look at these companies, they neither offer any technology for you to use nor they offer direct services. The delightful experiences are delivered by someone who is sharing the goods and services with you. This is helping people to move from full ownership to a sharing model thus opening up to unknown set of people from across the globe. This mode of sharing can’t be seen as selling as the provider of services is letting you be a part of something that they completely own & probably use as part of their daily lives. The more people share more they grow & more they grow the more they share. This way we are moving from I & you to we & us leading to a harmonized happy world. This is the foundation of the new direction and a paradigm shift that is leading a new way of life – a Social Change.
2.We are trusting the unknown: Every time you consume a service through the shared economy model you trust the unknown. Yes there are reviews about the services you are planning to consume but you have to trust reviews from people whom you don’t know and hence it is trusting the unknown. Consumers from one part of the globe are trusting people from another part of the globe – which they may have never visited. Imagine this – you have planned a holiday trip in Chicago and will be travelling from the comforts of your home in Colombo. You have booked a room through Airbnb and know nothing about your host in Chicago. The only source of information are some of the great reviews about the host. You still go ahead, complete a great stay with the host and give them 5 star reviews. This is really happening and happening all around the world at a pace faster than your reading speed. Phenomenal. We as a Society are willing to trust more & take more risks to become global citizens. Looking more optimistically, this model of mutual respect & trust is succeeding more than the traditional model of consumption. This ability to trust the unknown is challenging well established brands. It is making them innovate and win consumer’s trust on the basis of improved services or value or else they clearly face extinction. We are sharing more, we are also caring more and we are now trusting more as a Society.
3. We are embracing change: When you opt for services through the Shared Economy model you are moving from the traditional set up to a completely new model of consumption. The old models are more mature and it’s easy to go with the old and trusted way of doing things but the world is embracing this change. If the growth of companies like Uber or Airbnb is any indicator then it’s clear that world is moving almost in one direction and that is to move from traditional system to a new age model. When you look at leading surveys you will find that Airbnb is booking more rooms than Hilton or Uber operates in more than 250 cities and has better market valuation when compared to many leading Airlines in the world. This is not a surprise at all. With proliferation of mobile connectivity & internet we will see this change being embraced by a larger population thus ensuring a deeper & more significant impact on the society.