What drives the people who make the world better through business?

03 January 2017

Social enterprises mix the imperative to be commercially successful with making a positive social impact. And they seem to be an increasing phenomenon.

What motivates the founders of such businesses? Why do they decide that it’s not enough to make a profit, it also has to have a base of values?

I vlogged a trip I took to Birmingham just before Christmas where I had meetings with two inspirational social entrepreneurs.

Melody Hossaini, who first came to national attention when she got nearly to the end of a season of the UK’s Apprentice, runs InspirEngage and is committed to empowering young women to become entrepreneurs and to take control of their lives. You only have to speak with her for a few minutes to get a sense of the passion that drives her to make a difference.

She attributes her drive to her background, being born in Iran and seeing difficult times there before moving to Sweden and then ultimately the UK. “I always felt a sense of purpose,” she says. “I wanted to be part of creating a sense of social justice. There are so many disparities between rights, and how women are treated and how young people have opportunities or education.”

Business, if it’s done well, can truly be closer to this idea of sustainable

The work she now does is focused on developing the right mind-set in people to enable them to get to where they want to go. At a time when there seems more division and negativity in the world than ever before, it is a timely mission.

In addition to the video above, I've published the full interview on the latest podcast - embedded below.

At first glance, Ravinol Chambers – the creator of Be Inspired Films – could not be more different. And yet they both share a particular passion for empowering women. He recently did a challenge to drive a tuk tuk from Mumbai to the south coast of India specifically for the cause of educating girls.

Be Inspired Films has quickly made its mark as an award-winning film-maker. But his passion is using the power of video to further social causes.

“My whole driver for all of this,” he says, “is primarily social change. In my career I’ve done things that are very commercial, and I’ve done things that are in the charity sector and in the public sector. And the thing that pulled me back again and again that just makes me excited is doing something that I feel has value to society.”

But he is clear that his platform of choice for doing that is business. “Throughout my career, I’ve seen how if it’s government funding it’ll be for two or three years and then it will end. So this great thing that you’re doing in the community, raising all those expectations – is gone. So I feel excited about how business, if it’s done well, can truly be closer to this idea of sustainable.”

You can see the vlog with more from each of these interviews above. Let me know what you think in the comments below. Full versions of the interviews will follow in the Respectful Business Podcast.

By the way, not all of my YouTube videos are posted here. If you like what I do and want to stay up to date with what I’m adding on my channel there, why not subscribe? It’s the best way not to miss something of interest.