My dive into social entrepreneurship.

A few weeks ago I was able to cross a major accomplishment off my list: complete the co-op requirements for my undergraduate program at the University of Waterloo. When I first accepted my offer of admission 5 years ago, I was under the impression that the co-op program would help me choose who I want to work for before I graduate. Boy, was I ever wrong… but in no way is it a bad thing. Turns out I want to work for myself.

For the most part, I have thoroughly enjoyed every single work term at each organization I have had the opportunity to work with. I’m thankful for all the wonderful co-workers I met and developed valuable friendships with, and those I acquired much wisdom from. Of course, I also ran into a lot of frustrations throughout the process. I question the way business gets done. I question whether some people are really in it for the well-being of our society and our environment, or their own personal gain – whether it be money, recognition or self-entitlement. How conscious are we about our own choices and our choices for others?

It’s really discouraging.

When people ask me who I see myself working for when I graduate, I have a very difficult time naming any company or organization in particular. I’m not patient enough to wait for bureaucratic organizations to start adopting new ideas that result in widespread change. Change for widespread social or environmental good is rarely adopted unless there is a significant return on investment or enough funding dollars. I want to work with someone who considers impact the underlying motivation for the organization.

I’m ready to start taking some big leaps. I’m not sure down what avenue I’m headed, but whatever it is, it will ultimately be for the benefit of more than just myself. We need more entrepreneurs that are ready to take on society’s most pressing challenges. Startups are already taking over, and I want to see more doing it for the right reasons.

My first big leap was finally getting this blog up and running. I want to explore social entrepreneurship and what it means for the people behind different organizations making real, measurable, positive impacts.

My next big leap is to make some solid connections at Monday’s Green Jobs Forum at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and turn them into action by the time I graduate, whether it be joining forces on an initiative or finding a prospective, like-minded company to work for. Will you be there on Monday? Drop a comment and we’ll arrange to meet :).

Have an awesome weekend!

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3 thoughts on “My dive into social entrepreneurship.

  1. alittlevoice says:

    Hi Nicole! I’m a recent ERS grad, and I stumbled across your blog via The Green Student.

    I’m excited to continue reading your blog. I am also interested in understanding people/motivations and the communications side of the environmental movement! I think that there’s often a disconnect between science and the general public — neither knows how to talk to the other — and I’d like to be the go-between!

    I wish you well with the rest of your undergrad and your job search/creation!

    1. Nicole Anne says:

      Thanks Jennifer! This is a super late response, I apologize (I kind of fell off the face of the blogosphere after midterms)… but you’re totally right. There is definitely a disconnect between both communities. Environmental communicators are high in demand, so it’s definitely a good position for us to be in right now :). I think the biggest challenge is getting people to understand the consequences of their actions and drive them to go beyond their self-interests. Definitely a frustrating issue but one that will always be interesting and open to creativity!

      I’d love to connect, seems like we have quite a bit in common! I just followed you on Twitter (@youngwildgreen). I’m actually running The Green Student this year also. I hope the post-grad life is going well!

  2. alittlevoice says:

    It’d be very cool to connect! I’m very interested in environmental communications but don’t have a lot of experience in it. My current job is borderline communications, but there isn’t a lot of time to concentrate on the how/why we communicate the way we do. I’d love to take some communications class and learn a little more about the theory/nuances of the trade.
    Being done school is a bizarre experience. Job searching is painful, and I thought I’d have more figured out by this point. But I suppose it’s good to get kicked WAY out of your comfort zone every once in a while. Despite not knowing exactly where I’ll be in a year, things are going very well! I hope your last semester goes super well!

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