Case Western Reserve University Professor Michael Goldberg posted a Huffington Post blog today reflecting on his teaching time with the Social Entrepreneur Bootcamp in South Africa that was founded by YALI fellow Irene Chikumbo.
Michael generously gives a call out to me and our faculty peers Gretchen Zucker from Ashoka and Fahad Hassan from Alma, but the focus is on the entrepreneurs and their learning.
The blog describes the impact on three young entrepreneurs who completed his class assignment ask potential customers if they would purchase their product. This simple exercise created a shift of focus and/or strategy in each of the three students.
Two of the student comments illustrate the tension between good business and social mission in social enterprises. Collin Nyamadzawo was surprised to find that his business collaborators were motivated by “feel[ing] like they were a part of something greater than themselves.” Simultaneously, Chembo Litana’s conversations emphasized for her that “My product should be good enough to be bought even without the social story. The social story should be icing on the cake or a convincing factor.”
Bottomline, staying in communication with the people who need or consume your product is always good business.
Click here for more reporting from Bootcamp:
Herald Zimbabwe Headlines World Cafe
Social Entrepreneur Bootcamp Zimbabwe
Art of Hosting Goes to Social Entrepreneur Bootcamp South Africa
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