The Young, The Bold, The Entrepreneurial
By Ed Temple, Drive Business Coaching
Drive Business Coaching and young entrepreneur, Brian, fonder of B-Pro Auto, will be attending SEWF 2013.
Readers that enjoyed this article may wish to check out the 2013 SEWF program streams "Collaboration" and "Social Innovation".
SEWF 2013 is reposting this article as part of an ongoing series of articles by or about SEWF 2013 attendees.
SEWF 2013 has an amazing array of speakers, but we didn’t want the event to be a passive experience of one-way communication. We know our attendees also have powerful insights to share – insights that can inform and inspire others and enhance the evolution of social enterprise and social innovation.
If you are a SEWF 2013 attendee and have created or want to create articles on key ideas, insights or issues relating to social enterprise or social innovation, we would be happy to post them. Please keep in mind that these articles cannot simply be profile pieces – that is what Sched is for.
Send your article to .
The feature picture is courtesy of Compfight / A Flickr Search Tool.
Ed: As a business coach I have the opportunity to work with a number of small business owners. For most business owners and leaders the bottom line is not the reason to get up each day.
The best bottom line results align profitability, creativity, passion and drive with one’s legacy.
My passion is to not only partner to help businesses grow and be successful but to partner to create a lasting legacy that transforms our globe. Social enterprise is a great opportunity to align business skills and drive with social change, which leaves a legacy one can be proud of.
I will attend SEWF with some young entrepreneurs in their mid-twenties. We anticipate a great opportunity to be inspired; to be informed about the future of social enterprise; and to network with other like-minded business people. Brian is one of these young entrepreneurs I will attend with. In his mid-twenties he has already started three businesses. His current business is going so well he is postponing his undergraduate degree to commit full time to his business. His current business, importing right hand drive cars, embraces social enterprise opportunities within its DNA.
Not only is Brian growing a successful business but he and two partners have started a non-profit in order to build an orphanage in Guatemala.
I interviewed Brian to understand better his motivation and expectations for SEWF.
Ed: Tell me about your first business and the most important lesson you learned?
Brian: My first business was a concrete coatings company called B-Pro Concrete Enhancement. The lesson that I took away from that company is to never trust the weather in Calgary ha ha! More significantly though, I learned the value of portraying my business as a solution to client’s real and tangible needs. You can talk all you want about the product you carry and the process you use,
but people become truly interested when you help them to recognize a need that they have, and show them why you have the solution to that need.
When I realized and implemented this into the way I advertised a spike with clients took my business to a whole new level.
Ed: What excites you the most about the future opportunity of social enterprise in your current business?
Brian: One of the most alluring aspects of business ownership is finding ways to impact your community both locally and globally. It requires innovative thinking to figure out how to integrate social change into a business model. I think it’s good for business owners to give back to the community through donations,
but I get most excited when I can find a way to use the specific skills, resources, and connections in my business to have a social impact.
And there are ways to do this without creating a drain on the business; in fact I think you can have a thriving business while facilitating social change.
Ed: Help me understand how your current business is creating social change?
Brian: Well first off, the whole allure of entrepreneurship in my opinion is to have freedom, both with one’s time and finances, in order to fully focus on helping others and poverty alleviation. But there are also some unique opportunities within the business itself to create social change. Last summer, we fundraised to send a truck from my contacts in Japan to an organization in Ethiopia called Hope Ethiopia. And we are currently working on importing several vehicles into Guatemala for an organization called Impact Ministries.
It is an avenue that can be used to equip select organizations to function more efficiently by providing them with quality used vehicles for their operations.
Ed: Building a business while creating social change is an exciting challenge. What is your biggest challenge in launching a successful social enterprise?
Brian: Most people have a tendency to view for-profit business in one camp, and anything humanitarian or development related in another non-profit camp. I feel social enterprise is a kind of middle ground which takes principles from either camp, and assimilates them into a business which needs to have revenue and profits on one hand, but also needs to be benevolent. A big challenge is setting the business up in such a way that it doesn’t shirk solid business principles for the sake of social change, but that also makes it a priority within the business model.
Ed: We are attending SEWF together to be inspired, informaed and to see what is happening elsewhere. For you, what is a big question you are looking to answer?
Brian: I am curious to see some of some of the challenges and successes that other social enterprise businesses encounter? How do these affect their outcome?
I hope to come away from the conference with a view of what the future can look like for me and my business endeavors.
Ed: Where do you see the biggest opportunity for this on the horizon?
Brian: The younger generation really wants to be involved in making an impact. I think that media and social media are a powerful tools for engaging and empowering the younger generation and give them opportunities to be involved. I think the opportunity and potential has barely been scratched. Social enterprise resonates with young people and our challenge is to create channels for young people to get involved not only through making a donation but through offering skills and entrepreneurship.
Ed: You are early in your career and you have many business opportunities in your future. If you could share a piece of wisdom to other young entrepreneurs, what would you say?
Brian: Honestly as a business owner it’s hard to maintain priorities unless you have a very clear vision laid out. The societal pressure for profit, success, and the ‘more for me is better for me’ mentality affects us all. I think we need to ask ourselves daily: “what am I passionate about?” And if pure profit and accumulation is the answer to that, then you don’t belong in the field of social enterprise. But I don’t think that’s the case for most people.
I believe social enterprise is about aligning our internal values and passions with business skills and drive.
The greatest opportunity for social enterprise is to make a living while investing in something you believe in and are passionate about. That is a great way to live.
Ed: As you anticipate this event, can you share with us some of your expectations for this event?
Brian: I look forward to networking, and learning from experts. I expect the content to be rich.
Conversations with like-minded people in this context is what I anticipate to affect me the most.
Ed: So imagine with me, it’s six months after the close of the SEWF event, what do you think the legacy of SEWF will be on you?
Brian: I am confident that I will learn and experience things that are completely new to me. Who knows what ideas may be inspired and how my long-term goals may be affected. As well, I think the networking that I do will last long into the future and who knows what opportunities these connecting will present in the future. I am excited for this opportunity that is coming to Calgary.
Tags: SEWF Attendee Articles, Social Entreprenuer, Social Innovation
Thanks for the interview, Ed and Brian. I am similarly motivated. I think we must do business in a way that does more than just stacks money in a bank. Giving a portion of the profits away is important too, but how much more awesome to intentionally place in your business model the dna to enable it to grow and bless your staff, your customers, and the community (locally and globally). Very much looking forward to the time at SEWF.
Thanks Neil for the comment. It’s the win (business), win (client), win (community) model. The real art is to be able to maintain a dynamic, value add, tension between all three spheres of influence.