As the founder and program director of Talaria Summer Institute, a social entrepreneurship venture that provides science apprenticeships to teen girls from underprivileged backgrounds, I know first-hand as a 17-year-old high school student from Chicago what it means to create positive change in whatever you do. If you are interested in creating positive change through blogging, your company, or in your free time. These are my top five tips for social entrepreneurship.
1. In the social entrepreneurship sector, people don’t care about your age or experience nearly as much as your passion and story.
Being young or inexperienced in a sector that requires significant networks by nature may seem daunting. However, we are living in an era in which wisdom is associated with age less and less. Though I was fourteen when I started my program, I was never questioned about my age and even found special funding opportunities targeting younger entrepreneurs. It is more important to have a strong backstory about why you are doing what you do in order to win partnerships and support.
2. The strongest social entrepreneurship solutions are backed by both personal experience and research.
Many social entrepreneurs choose this path because of a strong positive or negative personal experience that is correlated to the change they want to make. These social entrepreneurs are oftentimes successful because they are fueled by that experience to continue their work, and the experience gives them a good understanding of the problem they are tackling. However, personal experience is not always representative of the most common experience and therefore not enough to determine the venture itself. It is important to do research on the problem and any pre-existing solutions to develop a solution that is scientifically backed and unique.
3. Do not underestimate the power of free social media marketing toward younger audiences.
With the influencer ecosystem ever-expanding and Instagram’s new functions for post promotion, it may be tempting to turn to paid social media advertising to promote your new venture. However, free social media marketing strategies, such as organically growing your platform, can often be more effective than paid ones. By growing a social media account of your venture over time through regularly posting content, you can develop a platform of a few hundred very loyal followers who feel connected to you and ready to support you when it comes time to ask for donations or volunteers.
4. Do not be afraid to ask for free help from strangers—everyone wants to help a cause they care about.
It may be intimidating to solicit help from strangers for your social entrepreneurship venture, especially if you are young or unsure of your idea. However, individuals are very willing to help a cause as long as you have and share your story in a convincing and passionate way. Do not hesitate to send out a concise but effective email to lawyers for assistance with legal paperwork or reporters for a mention in the press.
5. Learn how to recruit individuals truly passionate about your cause.
Whether your social entrepreneurship venture is for or not for profit, it is important to find people who truly understand and care about the cause. These people will not only contribute to a driven workplace atmosphere but also be able to share ideas regarding possible solutions that you may have missed. Consider asking individuals their motivations for joining your venture during interviews in order to better decide who should play the key roles in your new venture.