Quest for a Crazy Entrepreneur
The mythos of the crazy entrepreneur is spread worldwide. Generally it’s a male, an eccentric and stubborn character with genius ideas but that few others believe in...Until a few years later, when the success is already a fact. He’s alone, and he’s ready to sacrifice his life and other people's lives to realise his ideas. This figure is worshiped by our culture as a hero, a visionary, a half-god. Just think Steve Jobs.
The problem with this mythical figure is that he’s just a bit too selfish. In the classical image of the entrepreneur, his motivation comes from achieving success, fame, making money and outsmarting the competitors, together with a manic desire for having his ideas materialized in the world. To do something that is positive for the world is not part of the equation. But in the 21st century a new type of an entrepreneur is stepping forward. It’s somebody, a man or a woman, carrying the same ingenuity, passion and drive as the old type but that is primarily motivated by social matters. This new entrepreneur perceives the company as a vehicle for creating a better and fairer world, rather than for personal gain.
The new type is called the social entrepreneur and since the last decade they can be found everywhere. Some are running successful international companies with hundreds of employees while others are owners of cafés and bookshops. But they all carry a similar message: We care for one another and for the world!
In this exercise we’ll be trying to discover the social entrepreneurs in our proximity. How can they be found? How can they inspire us? Do we have our own crazy business ideas that we thought were too crazy? Well, maybe these people can help us see that much more is possible than we might have thought!
Individual / Theoretical
1 hour and more
To see a social enterprise and connect to one such inspiring entrepreneurship project
To gain inspiration from the variety of entrepreneurial ideas
To gain an idea of possibilities and challenges in this business area
Pick a business that you like. You might need to search on the internet. Base your search on following criteria:
It’s about sustainability, social responsibility, green thinking in some aspects at least
It’s located in your region or country.
It’s operating in real-life.
It’s innovative or somewhat original.
What is it about this business that makes you curious? Which questions would you like to ask them? Maybe you have your own sustainable business idea (for inspiration, for instance see the following activities: “The rubbish entrepreneur”, “Design your dream social enterprise” and “Your greatest joy / The world’s greatest need”) and would need counselling on how to realise your idea. Do you have some old business idea about effecting positive change in society that could be turned into social entrepreneurship? (While looking, are there any other business ideas popping up in your head? Think out of the box! For your info: Thinking of such questions is already the first step into becoming your own social entrepreneur. Remember that every successful business starts with a bold idea and a person asking the right questions!)
Connect to the chosen entrepreneurship to explore and to answer the questions you may have. Try to see both the pros and cons with the business. How much is it living up to the ideal as social entrepreneurship? Consider connecting in these ways:
Calling on phone or Skype.
Visiting the entrepreneurship.
Talking to the CEO and employees.
Doing a one-day (or more) volunteering or job-shadowing.
Now you might have gotten to know more, saw things that you liked and maybe things you didn’t and that could be improved. Consider asking the company/CEO/contact person, if they want feedback on things you have seen and you feel like sharing about. Businesses have blind spots (just like people) - and might appreciate some fresh insight.
What is the service / product that the business is providing?
What are the innovative aspects about it?
How does the business embody sustainability?
Was there anything that surprised or fascinated you about the business?
How did you do the research? Was it easy to find the project?
What ideas / opportunities about sustainable entrepreneurship have you discovered that you didn’t know before?
Instructions for Submission
Submit your written reflection, so that your peers can give you feedback. Instructions on how to upload photos and how to submit things in Moodle can be found here: Instructions on Submission&Uploading
Instructions for Assessment
Provide feedback to at least one participant that has done this activity. Instructions on providing feedback can be found here: Instructions on Feedback