Creating Social Value Blog / Social Innovation

Empowering through Entrepreneurship

By Prabha Dublish, Undergraduate student at Babson College and Undergraduate Scholar at The Lewis Institute.

Earlier this month, in honor of International Education Week, The Lewis Institute and Glavin Office of Multicultural and International Education hosted a Good Business Friday featuring Rick Harriman and Kristen Wainwright who help facilitate Babson’s youth entrepreneurial programs in Tanzania. Rick and Kristen, who started this program in an attempt to help children in developing areas, have been working in Tanzania for the past three years. The focus of the conversation was to show Babson students how entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial mindset can be used to empower youth in developing countries.

I was inspired by the stories from BELA Tanzania told by the wonderful Rick and Kristen: children who did not want to speak and how they helped them find their voice and advocate for their ideas, or others who had dreams of changing their community. It was clear just how impactful these entrepreneurial programs were to these children. They found a sense of ownership and confidence when they knew someone valued their voice. It was incredible to see the entrepreneurial mindset at work in developing countries changing the lives of youth globally. This was the same sort of idea that I witnessed this summer as I traveled through India to see how women were using entrepreneurship to change their lives. Through becoming entrepreneurial they became so incredibly confident, just like the children who went through the BELA Tanzania program.

In particular, Rick stated how economic and social value should be created simultaneously, not sequentially. This idea struck me because this is a concept that we talk about often at Babson and can take for granted. But learning how this concept is being used in the world to change the lives of people gave it new meaning for me. Specifically, how the students involved with the BELA program were learning how to create both through their small scale ventures. So many companies focus on creating economic value BEFORE social value, leading to highly disjointed corporate social responsibility strategies. Yet, it seemed that these children ONLY wanted to start businesses that could help their community in some way.

Going to the #1 school for entrepreneurship, being able to see how a concept I learn about every day can change the lives of people globally was inspiring. From Rick and Kristen, I have learned that creating social and economic value simultaneously is vital and that entrepreneurship can be used to empower youth world-wide.