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Being an entrepreneur is the hardest thing I have ever done, and I have done quite a lot of really hard things in my life. Apart from entrepreneurship itself, social entrepreneurship brings the challenge of using the profit and the company itself to solve a social problem and do good whilst being productive. The majority of entrepreneurs, including social entrepreneurs, fail. For this to not happen one needs many things including money, a team, leadership, a vision, etc., but one of the most important things that we don’t have or we underestimate and decide not to look for is mentorship, advice, information, and enriching dialogue.
One Young World and School for Startups have done young social entrepreneurs an amazing favor by launching a series of Google Hangouts with Doug Richard to talk and learn about social entrepreneurship. Unlike a TED talk or a simple video, this interactive dialogue with a remarkable investor, and social business guru is, to me, one of the brightest ideas to promote and foster social entrepreneurship among this new generation. Some of us were privileged and had the chance to be the participants in the Hangout, we were able to directly pose questions to Doug after his initial presentation, but the great thing about this is that globally, anyone can participate through twitter and by watching the Hangout’s livestream.
In the first Hangout we returned to the basics and Doug talked about social entrepreneurship giving a very insightful concept and defining terms. After this, Doug responded to my and my fellow One Young World Ambassadors' questions brilliantly in a concise and detailed way that made complex concepts simple to understand and easy to digest. I really enjoyed the first Hangout and apart from learning an incredible amount of new information to put into practice, I was once again motivated and “pumped up” to keep working on my social enterprise, which has had its ups and downs this last year. Entrepreneurship is hard, but by participating in this type of initiative people can receive information and support they wouldn’t have access to otherwise.
The second Hangout was also great. We talked about financing a social enterprise and this was a very important topic to me that is probably the hardest part of entrepreneurship in general. Doug gave us some great advice that showed us the importance of varying our attempts of fundraising and looking into different sources for such financing. Some people, like me, get really discouraged with rejection, especially in fundraising efforts, but not with Doug's tips and advice. I am ready to go and not let the money be an issue for my social enterprise’s success.
In summary, the Hangouts were an amazing experience that I would recommend to anyone interested in social entrepreneurship. If you cannot participate in the Hangouts directly, tune in to the livestream and tweet questions on the topic. Doug is an expert with charisma, energy and humor that will make your entrepreneurship experience a little easier with great tips, advice and insight.