I am a social entrepreneur. I believe that the world will be a better place if we drive poverty alleviation through economic development. Well, I am trying to be a social entrepreneur. Along with everyone else who is trying to make it in this rapidly growing industry I have come up against the big unclimbable wall multiple times. No-one answering calls, no-one answering emails, sorry’s not yes’s, its not quite right rather than lets change lives.
So then how does the social entrepreneur rise into the crosshairs of the big multinational companies and leverage them to make first, policy change and secondly, social change. Everyone wants to live in a world with equal opportunity right? Well, maybe not. Is the society we live in, the wheels that turn our lives, dependant on an economic divide between people? A concentration of wealth at the top?
Professor Yunus said this at the opening ceremony of the One Young World conference in Bogota, Colombia. Just hold that in your mind for a second. That number is only going to decrease; in 10 years it will be 6, 20 years 4, 30 years 2 and 50 years 1. How can that be right? Equal? There needs to be a fundamental change in the way that we conduct ourselves on this planet otherwise how do we alleviate poverty, people will not have access to water and distribution of wealth will divide society forever.
Here comes ‘’the rise of the social entrepreneur’’.
The ‘social entrepreneur’ is was a major theme of the One Young World conference that I just addended on behalf of Raleigh as a Youth Trustee – a sustainable development charity who mobilise youth in their journey to an equal world. It was a conference where individual voices were heard by the 194 countries that were represented and major corporations who are trying to put a ‘return on purpose’ at the heart of their agenda. It is my firm belief that social entrepreneurs, charities and large businesses have to work together to achieve the bigger goals of life. Or the 17 SGDs to give them another name.
One Young World opened my eyes to the number of people who were actively trying to make a difference in the world, whether that was through outlawing Female Genital Multilation in The Gambia and facing success or death, or forgiving the people who murdered their father then forgiving them to learn what it means to make peace, or living through and escaping genocide in Kurdistan then starting a refugee charity which includes all people, or just being angry at the lack of equality in our world and doing something about it; people were trying to combat the bad with good.
As I have seen and experienced, there was only as much as they could do on their own. Social Entrepreneurs need help. They need the support systems that exist in large business to leverage outcomes. They need the grass-roots operational expertise that charities such as Raleigh can provide. They need someone to stand up and say that they believe in them.
So what did I learn in Bogota, Colombia. I learnt that the youth are not the leaders of tomorrow, we are the leaders of today. Raleigh has the right idea, empower youth to make the change today. Give youth the power to drive sustainable change and we will do it. I used to feel weird about the ‘Youth’ in Youth Trustee but now I realise that it shows Raleigh are a leader in this world. Empowering Youth. Making a change.
Link to Raleigh alumni blog which contains extracts of this – https://raleighinternational.org/blog/alumni/give-youth-power-drive-sustainable-change-will-ben-attends-one-young-world-summit-colombia/