Top advice for social entrepreneurs from some of the world's most famous changemakers

31st Oct 2013
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Pic courtesy: www.flickr.com (Don Moyer's page)
Pic courtesy: www.flickr.com (Don Moyer’s page)

We all love good pieces of advice and treasure them. When we are young its our parents and teachers dishing it out. It may not have made sense then, or it may have gone unheeded, but most of us remember those little nuggets later on in life. Social entrepreneurs face many challenges as they go about their business of saving the world and making it a better place to live in. Good advice can be like a soothing balm, a shot in the arm or a pat on the back. We bring you some well-thought out wise words from the world’s top change-makers.

If you have some advice to give others, leave them in the comments section.

1)  Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Prize winner and founder Grameen Bank on tackling poverty:

“If you think creating a world without any poverty is impossible, let’s do it. Because it is the right thing to do.”

 2) Jacqueline Novogratz, founder Acumen Fund on choosing the road less traveled:

“Though either choice was good, one was truer to myself… Ultimately, I reflected on Geothe’s invocation to ‘make a commitment and the forces of the universe will conspire to make it happen’ and chose the uncharted path.”

 3) Magsaysay award winner and founder The Solar Electric Light Company (SELCO) Harish Hande on learning from the poor:

“Learn from the street vendor. My mother has been buying vegetables from a particular street vendor for two decades now. Think about it—irrespective of floods, strikes and holidays she comes around selling her vegetables. Every morning, she borrows money at an interest rate of 10 percent a day, pays Rs 50 for her cart rental and Rs 15 for kerosene. In the evening, she has to determine the pricing strategy for vegetables that remain, as she has no refrigeration at home. After all these expenses, she has enough to feed herself and her family. And she does all of this without an MBA. Has one ever been cheated by a street vendor? Has one ever heard about a street vendor going out of business?”

 4) IIM- A professor and founder Honeybee Network Anil Gupta on how Maslow was wrong about progression of needs:

“There could be nothing more wrong than the Maslowian model of hierarchy of needs. … Please do not ever think that only after meeting your physiological needs and other needs can you be thinking about your spiritual needs or your enlightenment.”

 5) Bill Drayton, founder Ashoka: Innovators for the public on who social entrepreneurs are:

“Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.”

 6) Jeff Skoll, co-founder eBay and founder of Skoll Foundation on how everybody has a role

“Not everyone can be Gandhi, but each of us has the power to make sure our own lives count – and it’s those millions of lives that will ultimately build a better world.”

7) Dr Varughese Kurien, Father of India’s white revolution and architect of Amul’s (Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation) on successful work-life balance:

“Eight hours for dairy, eight hours for your family, and eight hours for sleep,”

8) Sanjay “Bunker” Roy, founder of Barefoot College on focusing on rural areas:

“Strengthen the rural areas and you will find less people migrating to urban areas. You give them opportunity, self respect & self confidence, they will never go to an urban slum.”

9) Pierre Omidyar, co-founder eBay and co-founder Omidyar Network on having an idea and making it a reality:

A lot of people don’t just go ahead and try things. They’ll have an idea and they’ll say – they’ll convince themselves or other people will convince them that it can’t be done… the first is even more dangerous and serious. It’s convincing yourself that it can’t be done.”

10) Vandana Shiva, founder of NavDanya and environmentalist on rapid industrialization and its consequences:

“Globalized industrialized food is not cheap: it is too costly for the Earth, for the farmers, for our health. The Earth can no longer carry the burden of groundwater mining, pesticide pollution, disappearance of species and destabilization of the climate. Farmers can no longer carry the burden of debt, which is inevitable in industrial farming with its high costs of production. It is incapable of producing safe, culturally appropriate, tasty, quality food. And it is incapable of producing enough food for all because it is wasteful of land, water and energy. Industrial agriculture uses ten times more energy than it produces. It is thus ten times less efficient.”

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