In my previous post, Is Social Entrepreneurship For You?, I wrote about some of the challenges that we will face as social entrepreneurs and made the recommendation that if you are not sure about starting a social enterprise or you would like to learn some more skills, then the best thing is to join an already established social entrepreneurial project. I am going to expand on what we can learn and the skills we can gain from teaming with social entrepreneurial organisations.
When answering the question of “Where should social entrepreneurs begin?”, David Bornstein, the author of “How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas” had this to say: ” Before starting out on their own, they often work in jobs that teach them how a particular type of business or industry operates. They usually work for several years in a particular field, profession or organization, acquiring the knowledge, skills and contacts that enable them to branch out on their own.”
Recently, as the Director on the board of a charity called, Empower 4 Life, we started to look for ways we could develop more social entrepreneurial projects in order to make a greater impact and be more self-sustainable. This role is in a volunteer capacity but I also had the need to make an income. Having specific requirements though proved difficult because I wanted a home business that would be flexible, for my family but I didn’t want to sell myself short. By that I mean that I needed to find an organisation which shared the same values and beliefs that I had. Fortunately, I found a social entrepreneurial project which I could develop from home and also made a real difference in the world.
I have actually been blown away by the skills and abilities I have developed in a short period of time. The organisation has provided extensive training on business development and resources on social entrepreneurship. They really want to help people and at the same time financially reward individuals who participate in our world-changing fight against malnutrition.
These are some of the skills and knowledge you can gain from partnering with an organisation:
- Business education – it is a learn while you do type of education not a classroom! Some of these skills include sales, developing business plans, marketing and customer care.
- Personal Development – goal setting, time management, getting out of your comfort zone, developing the right mindset and perseverance
- Leadership skills – learning to be a good role model, training and mentoring others.
- Communication skills and teamwork
- Social Networking
- Access to extensive resources and support on social entrepreneurship
- Online skills – using technology to build a business, training on setting up a website and online marketing
- The full support of leaders within the organisation
As social entrepreneurs, our purpose is to bring about change in the world and to make a difference in the lives of others. Through developing new skills and acquiring knowledge, we equip ourselves with the necessary tools for facilitating this change.
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