Lisa Harvey – social entrepreneur in her words 12 March 2007Posted by Catriona Pollard in social entrepreneur.
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What is a social enterprenuer?
A social entrepreneur creates a business that has some kind of social purpose. There is motivation other than making profit. Profit is important because a business is no good to its customers if it is not profitable, but profit is not primary. The drivers for the business are more about creating social change in some way, working to improve lives.
To be a social entrepreneur is really just the way I do business. I don’t think “I’m going to change lives today” but I do think about how my work has an impact on the world around me. My employees, the environment, my clients, all these are affected by the work that we do and it is important that our impact is positive.
We recently did some work on our core purpose. All the staff quickly came to the same notion: Our core purpose is “to make a positive difference”. This is why we work with not-for-profit organisations, because we know that we can use our expertise to make a positive difference to their organisations, and therefore to the people they serve.
Why did I become a social entrepreneur?
That makes it sound like a deliberate decision. 7 years ago it wasn’t a popular term so I didn’t think about it then. I wanted to have a go at creating a business, I needed a new challenge, and there seemed an opportunity to use my experience with not-for-profits.
It was about filling a niche, creating a business and working with the kinds of organisations that inspire me and the kinds of people I feel good about being around.
It isn’t easy, there are a lot of unexpected barriers being a business and approaching the not-for-profit sector. But there are rewards in seeing an organisation inspired to innovate with technology and watch them improve their operation and their service delivery.
Lisa is CEO of Energetica which offers IT services and consulting that make a positive difference to organisations. They deliver innovative and high value services for the not-for-profit sector.
Valerie Khoo – How to be a Change-maker 14 February 2007Posted by Catriona Pollard in social entrepreneur.
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A few posts ago I featured Social Entrepreneur, Valerie Khoo. Valerie is passionate about how individuals and small businesses can make a difference in the world – you don’t have to have big bucks to make an impact.
To spread the social entrepreneur word (and make the world a better place) she is offering a keynote presentation on How to be a Change-maker: 7 ways to make a profound and profitable impact on your life, your business and the world to interested corporate groups and business networks.
If you are interested in a keynote presentation at your corporate conference or network, feel free to call Valerie on (02) 9929 9237 or valerie[at]spindriftmedia.com.au.
Karen Miles – social entreprenuer 27 November 2006Posted by Catriona Pollard in social entrepreneur.
I am continuing my theme around social entreprenuership and interviewed Karen Miles, Director of The Frank Team who offers resources in the area of entrepreneurship and career passion to community and youth group as well as corporates.
In your words, what is a social entrepreneur? Someone who makes new ideas and projects happen, or starts a business, that benefits people, then profit. The primary aim is about making a difference.
What does it mean to you to be a social entrepreneur? It’s who I am! I never realised when I first started The FRANK Team and FRANK magazine that there was a term like this to describe how I think, what I value, and what I want to do with my life. Some people think social entrepreneurs aren’t “real” entrepreneurs which is complete rubbish. Entrepreneurs all share the same skills – creativity, outside-the-box thinking, risk taking etc, but I choose to use those skills to help people rather than make lots of money. Really, when we all die, what do you want to have done – put numbers in a bank or make this place better for people?
What promoted you to become a social entrepreneur? Dissatisfaction with the corporate world. The politics, hierarchies and lack of empowerment frustrated me so I decided to do my own thing and start my own business. I eventually found where I ‘fit in’ when I realised I was great at communicating, and sharing life and career experiences with others – it made me feel on purpose. Expressing my values through my work means life and work blurs, so my life becomes about being self expressed and encouraging others to as well. Check out the Frank Team
Valerie Khoo – social entrepreneur 22 September 2006Posted by Catriona Pollard in Entrepreneur, social entrepreneur.
We have all probably seen the term “social entrepreneur” but what does it actually mean? I am sure it is different for each entrepreneur, but I asked the very inspirational Valerie Khoo what it means to her.
In your words, what is a social entrepreneur?
A social entrepreneur is someone who tries to find solutions to social problems through entrepreneurial activities or innovations.
What does it mean to you to be a social entrepreneur?
To be honest, I’ve never considered that question. It’s just something I do. And it’s one of the many hats I wear. I’m not only a social entrepreneur through my business Taylor & Khoo – which is committed to helping disadvantaged people and orphans in poverty in Cambodia, but I’m also a journalist, business person and trainer. The social entrepreneurship work I do is fulfilling – but that’s not why I do it.
I don’t do it because I feel rewarded because, to be honest, the frustrations and blood, sweat and tears, can sometimes outweigh the rewards. I do it because there is a great need and, as it’s in my power to do something to help alleviate that need, it simply makes sense to help. The people we help are profoundly disadvantaged – the plight or orphans and land mine victims can be dire in Cambodia. If there is something I can do to improve their lives – and their opportunities – I want to be able to do that.
What promoted you to become a social entrepreneur?
My friend Kylie Taylor and I went to Cambodia on holiday in June 2002. We were simply tourists visiting the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat. However, we also visited a couple of orphanages and it was at one in Siem Reap (the town near Angkor Wat) that we realised what terrible conditions these kids were living in. We wanted to help in some way. But we wanted to do something that lasted longer than a one-off donation. That’s how the concept of Taylor & Khoo – a fashion and homewares business – was born.
We wanted to create a business model that would continue to generate awareness – and more, importantly an income stream – to help support the orphanage in the years to come. It had to be a sustainable solution.
Now, we have a store in Pitt Street Mall and, through various fund-raising activities – have been able to raise about $130,000 to make significant improvements to the orphanage. We chose fashion and homewares so that we could use the beautiful silks from Cambodia and almost all our work is given to people with disabilities – so that they have a chance to earn an income and build better lives for themselves and their families.
Check out Taylor & Khoo