Last month, social entrepreneur Jessica Jackleg (pictured above) joined a Google Hangout hosted by Upstart, a platform allowing entrepreneurs to monetize their future potential. Jessica, who might be best known as Cofounder and CMO of Kiva, is currently an advisor at the Collaborative Fund, which invests in creative entrepreneurs changing the world though emerging technologies.
Prior to joining the Collaborative Fund, Jessica cofounded and held the position of CEO of ProFounder, a pioneering crowdfunding platform providing tools for entrepreneurs in the U.S.. Despite several serious technical glitches, Jessica shared her introduction to the concept of social entrepreneurship and answered questions from Upstart and the Hangout participants.
Very early in the Hangout, Jessica dispelled the common myth that to be a social entrepreneur, you must be a martyr. She stressed it is possible to create positive social change and be paid what you’re worth. Additionally, when it comes to considering a social entrepreneurial career, it is important to consider the value of being able to do something that you love and are passionate about.
Jessica shared that when it comes to organizational structures, she is agnostic. Instead, she believes entrepreneurs should answer, “What do you want to get in the world?” Then, “What’s the most efficient way to do that?” And, “What’s the fastest way to access capital?” Then determine the right organizational structure. In some cases, the most efficient way to affect change is by creating a not-for-profit and sometimes it’s not.
What’s really important is diving in, having in-person experiences with the people you want to serve, and then finding the most effective way to do it. When asked what advice she has for young social entrepreneurs looking to gain leadership experience, Jessica explained that she encourages young people to be confident in your knowledge and skills, but balance it with humility and a desire to constantly learn.
She also encouraged young leaders to seek out coaches and mentors. To wrap up the Hangout, Jessica shared her thoughts on the future of social entrepreneurship. She strongly believes it “won’t be anything unusual” and people will pursue it as naturally as people currently pursue other entrepreneurial ventures.
She also predicts the blurring between “social entrepreneur” and “entrepreneur” as people come to expect companies to automatically consider their social and environmental impacts. Dovetailing with that, the role of social entrepreneurs within established corporations, or “social intrapreneurs,” will become increasingly more important. You can watch a recording of the Hangout here.
What do you think about the “social entrepreneur martyr” myth? Are you organizational structure agnostic? What advice would you give to young social entrepreneurs seeking leadership experience? Please share your thoughts below!