My youngest daughter is doing a grade 7 business class at her new high school. She came home and asked me if I’m an entrepreneur and what makes a good one?
I thought for a while and explained that in my opinion an entrepreneur is someone excited, and enthused by start-ups; someone innovative in their solutions to problems; and someone not restricted to entrepreneurial activity in the for-profit sector (reminding her of my mantra “social capital over private capital”).
I reflected on some of the start-up activity I’ve been involved in over the last 10 years:
- 2 for profit businesses
- 4 not-for profit business (2 x community enterprises, 1 social enterprise, 1 social business)
- 4 not-for-profit community led groups still active after a decade – a weekly cafe for disadvantaged people in Sandgate; a monthly Unplugged event for local musicians and spoken word artists attended by an average of 60 people a month and paying all profits to the community organisation which hosts the event; and an annual Christmas Day lunch for people who might otherwise be alone on the big day – now attracting over 100 people; and also backyard produce swapping group who meet monthly in a local park.
- Our20, a once off event held on the same day as the G20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane in 2014. Our20 was a chance for the rest of us to consider the same topics as the world leaders, and do it in a positive, productive way that directly relates to the lives we live in the communities we inhabit. Our20 provided a platform for discussion and sharing of ideas – for inputs and feedback from inspiring speakers and also an inspired and expert audience.
- The Sandgate Long Table Dinner was initiated by the organising group of the Our20 to continue community driven discussion on topics relevant to the people of our local area.
- Social Enterprise India a Journey with the Centre for Social Response (CSR) is my newest collaborative start-up. Myself and friends from CSR are offering a small group tour to India to visit extraordinary social enterprises and entrepreneurs, be inspired and create change! We are launching in the next week, so no details are available online as yet..contact me via this blog for more info.
So, I think these examples prove a few things; 1.) you do not need a profit motive to work hard and be creative / innovative / addicted to start-ups; 2.) The effects of entrepreneurs on society has a ripple effect, and those start-ups that have a long life continue to contribute long after the founder leaves; 3.) entrepreneurs CAN and DO work in collaboration, and even work in committee structures; 4.) community development theory has more in common with entrepreneurialism than most people think.
I am going to give a talk at the business studies class at my daughters school, and look forward to talking with the young people of Sandgate about social capital over private capital; and how to look differently at entrepreneurialism.
More updates on Social Enterprise India tour to come very soon….