What inspired you to launch DO GOOD X four years ago? And what did you learn from that experience?
Diverse, young adults interested in working at the intersection between religion, innovation, and social entrepreneurship inspired the creation of DO GOOD X.
We created DO GOOD X for three reasons: 1.) The majority of entrepreneurs working to do good in the world do so out of some motivation of faith. However, most accelerator programs either do not address this key motivating factor and source for one’s inspiration, resiliency, and entrepreneurial work, or too many entrepreneurs feel like they have to leave their faith at the door. 2.) The next generation of faith-rooted leaders increasingly want to address inequality and social inequity in communities around the world but they have not considered entrepreneurship as a viable way to disrupt systems for good. 3.) The field of entrepreneurship is not diverse or does not adequately address the business development needs of underrepresented entrepreneurs. As a result, the field supports and develops solutions to problems the elite few care about.
What we have learned….
Entrepreneurship in general, and social entrepreneurship in particular, is not for the faint of heart. Developing an idea into a business requires a great deal of discipline, time, perseverance, vulnerability, resilience, and grit.
People who have entrepreneurial experience or have been exposed to entrepreneurship have more to draw from and leverage in developing their business venture.
There is great disparity between the majority of white male entrepreneurs and their entrepreneurial peers—women and people of color. White men have at least 10 times more access to business development knowledge, resources, and funding
If we give the next generation of underrepresented entrepreneurs access to business development knowledge, tools, and resources needed to successfully launch a business, they will have a positive lasting legacy on communities around the world.
What do you find most rewarding about your work with DO GOOD X and why?
I enjoy walking alongside and coaching brave and brilliant entrepreneurs as they discern how best to bring their ideas to life. It is so rewarding to see an idea for good actually become a real business. I am honored, for a brief period of time, to be granted admittance into social entrepreneurs’ business development discernment process and to witness their next bold steps to bring meaning and purpose to life in the form of their businesses.
This year, the accelerator program will be an online experience due to the pandemic. How, if any, has your vision for DO GOOD X changed under these new circumstances?
The vision has not changed significantly because of the pandemic. If anything, the pandemic has accelerated our efforts. Prior to the pandemic, I had been envisioning the development of an online accelerator. While there is no substitute for an in-person experience, an online accelerator will provide diverse, aspiring entrepreneurs more access to business development knowledge and expand DO GOOD X’s reach in ways that an in-person accelerator is not able to do. More people, including the next generation, are doing online learning and learning remotely will continue into the future. We want to meet ideal participants for our accelerator right where they are, minimizing as best as we can barriers to access regarding entrepreneurial knowledge, resources, and a community of peers wanting to do good in the world.
Social entrepreneurship has been on the rise in recent years and given the hardships many people faced in 2020, the desire to do good has increased significantly. What are your thoughts on the future of social impact work and where do you see DO GOOD X in that?
The most pressing challenges we face as a global community demand the collective genius of the world’s most diverse problem solvers. The future of social impact work or the quality of this work is dependent on the degree the field of social entrepreneurship is diversified, resourced, and supports diverse entrepreneurial networks of problem solvers. DO GOOD X is one of many important networks necessary to diversify the entrepreneurial field and to unleash the positive impact diverse entrepreneurs can have on people, their communities, and the environment.
If the world is to become a better place for the next generation and their children, what we do matters. We can no longer invest in the type of social impact primarily defined by what white investors and entrepreneurs care about in a globally, diverse world. This is why DO GOOD X’s work is so important to the network of organizations supporting the early stage of the entrepreneurial developmental arc.
As someone building a diverse community of change-makers, what are some ways people can do good in their community if entrepreneurship is not the path they choose?
Everyone doesn’t need to be an entrepreneur to effect change. There are many ways to bring about change in communities. Educate yourself on the problem you care about and the systemic realities that continue to create the problems. Donate, support, or volunteer in organizations working on issues important to you. Work with community organizers addressing issues you care about. Work with lobbyists and local legislators to bring about change. Host meetup groups to educate and inform others on issues you and them care about. Start a giving circle with people who care about similar issues and become local, community philanthropists. And remember that it takes a network of change-makers to create a better world.