THNK – Breaking Barriers by Supporting Young Social Entrepreneurs – November 12, 2014

November 13, 2014



Social entrepreneurship is hot and happening, with new social change makers tackling societal challenges with innovative and impactful solutions. At THNK, we catalyze breakthrough solutions to the world’s societal challenges. Being a creative school ourselves, we do so through leadership development and enterprise scaling, and support like-minded individuals on a quest to make innovation happen. Two of our participants, Carrie Rich (Class 5) and Roshan Paul (Founding Class) are both heavily invested in leadership development and enterprise building for social entrepreneurs. They have teamed up to create an online course for (aspiring) social entrepreneurs, helping them to kick-start their own social venture. Their organizations, the Global Good Fund and the Amani Institute offer ‘Creating a Social Venture’, an intensive, four-week online course that guides you through the process of creating a venture that addresses and tackles a social problem, starting November 10th.

Roshan Paul blogThough initially pursuing a career in management consulting in 2011, Roshan explains that “the world showed greater challenges than what I could see in the business world. Yet, I didn’t have the skills to make a difference. I also learned how broken the academic model is —despite the best education in the world, I often felt incompetent in the social change work I was doing. University wasn’t preparing me, or others like me, for this type of work. I spoke at many universities around the USA and saw this brokenness reinforced often —I wouldn’t hire the students I was meeting. This had to change, especially given that more and more people are seeking careers in social change. That’s why I was motivated to start Amani Institute”.

For Roshan, breaking barriers runs deep. Talking about the shadow side of passion, he explains that it is his life journey to “transcend the arbitrary walls and boundaries we put up.” Still today, though one might feel like a global citizen, geographical boundaries grant fewer rights to citizens from some countries than to others. The Amani Institute envisions a world without boundaries; be it between nations, peoples, religions or disciplines. They prepare next-generation talent to tackle global challenges by filling the gap between university and the workforce through a unique learning approach, and will expand their growing community of social change makers to Brazil in 2015 (applications for their Social Innovation Management March 2015 program are open now). Prior to founding the Amani Institute, Roshan worked for Ashoka, the largest network of social entrepreneurs worldwide, launching managing global programs. These included Ashoka’s Peace Initiative (supporting social entrepreneurs in conflict zones) and the Globalizer program (helping social entrepreneurs scale up their innovations).

Carrie Rich blogFor Carrie, it’s all about overcoming inter-generational boundaries. The Global Good Fund was created based on her belief that young people can change the world, especially when working with experienced leaders. Carrie began her career working at Inova Health System, reporting to Knox Singleton, its CEO, who greatly supported her and heavily invested in her leadership development, telling her to dream bigger. On Carrie’s 27th birthday, inspired by her passion for social entrepreneurship, Knox gifted her some money and said, “Let’s see what good you can do.” “At this moment, I realized what mattered the most in my leadership development had been cross-generational power.” Leaders she had engaged with over the years had mentored and pulled her up. “If we could influence high potential young leaders throughout the world by matching them with knowledgeable professional, it would be incredible.”

So far, the organization has invested in the leadership development of 19 young leaders through the Fund’s flagship Fellowship Program, and will be investing in an additional 10 entrepreneurs in 2015. The Global Good Fund will also launch commercial products to allow scaling outside of its Fellowship Program, reinvest in the organization, and further invest in both its current and future Fellows.

First meeting in 2013, Carrie and Roshan clicked instantly. “Roshan and I discovered many synergies between our respective organizations. We envisioned joining forces for greater impact in developing young social entrepreneurs globally. We envisioned joining forces for greater impact in developing young social entrepreneurs globally”, Carrie says. They are now combining their expertise in experiential learning, professional skill-building and enterprise building support to do precisely that.

‘Creating a Social Venture’ runs from November 10th to December 10th, and helps you envision and craft a solution to a problem you are passionate about. The course also helps you create your own social venture or apply those skills into your current job, through weekly assessments, online class discussions and forums. You will become part of a growing community of social change makers. Learn more and register here!

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