How Might We Enable More Young People to Become Social Entrepreneurs?
While more and more youth are interested in social entrepreneurship as a means for tackling some of the world’s toughest challenges, many aspiring social entrepreneurs fail to move beyond the initial idea phase because the infrastructure to support them is lacking. Some are unable to gain access to networks or mentors that could provide the knowledge and experience to confront major decisions, while others lack the capital they need to start their venture.
Social Enterprise Competition
We believe that a social enterprise competition which pairs students with mentors and offers a social enterprise starter kit as a prize is a great way to encourage young people to consider starting their own social enterprise through a fun educational experience.
We created a questionnaire and interviewed three people.
Using the responses from the questionnaire we created the user persona, Christine.
- Currently early education systems do not teach enough young students practical skills in entrepreneurship and problem solving
- College students lack the awareness that social impact careers can be viable lifestyles
- How might we expand or establish programs within educational institutes?
- How might institutions try to encourage students to be involved in different thought provoking ideas (ie. social entrepreneurship ventures), regardless of choice of major?
- How might we incorporate marketing skills as part of different small course projects?
- pitching skills and comfortability with public speaking
- Lack of (well-known) crowd-funding mechanism specific to social enterprise and its community
- Inherent conflict between impact venture capitalists and S/E (profit vs social good)
- How might we create a specialized community to connect funders with budding social entrepreneurs?
- How might we minimize conflicts between impact venture capitalists and social entrepreneurship?
- Create new incentives
- Governmental subsidization?
- There is a need for peer support and information sharing among social entrepreneurs
- The current connection / communication system is fragmented and noisy
- How might we create an accessible platform for social entrepreneurs to share and access information?
- How might we create/build a network to connect social entrepreneurs to support each other and collaborate?
- How might we connect mentors and students?
BARINSTORMING POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS
This sounds interesting
Christine learns about a social enterprise competition through a website
Let’s do this!
She signs up and beings to brainstorm and ideate
Who do I know that can help me?
She does some initial research, and talks to her professors and peers in her current network.
Who do I not know yet?
Christine joins an app available to the contestants which connects them with peers and provides resources such as how to present ideas or create a business pitch. She becomes increasingly more excited about her idea and the social enterprise industry.
During the weekend Christine presents her team’s idea, attends workshops, and networks with local nonprofits, business, mentors and other students.
Christine wins the competition! She wins the prize and starter kit which gives her the opportunity to connect with funders and mentors as well as initial funding to pursue the idea. The prize kit is sponsored by local businesses.
Upon graduating, Christine launches her own social enterprise. She continues to use the app to connect and share ideas with local entrepreneurs.
Christine encourages younger generations to pursue the same path and becomes a mentor for the next competition.