By Jood Al Harthy
How about traveling for the sake of social change?
The social enterprise spirit in Saudi is rising. Thriving business minds are creating an impact by launching start-ups that generate capital and offer lasting social solutions.
Several aspire to join in, contribute, and further develop such a goodwill concept in our region. However, their enthusiasm cannot make up for their lack of hands-on knowledge. So, some adventurous souls decided to travel abroad to obtain experience in a social enterprise and then return to implement what they’ve learned.
“I learned in a month at a global social enterprise, more than I’ve learned during my degree. Seeing it in action was something different.” – Ahmad Aba AlKhail
Get your socializing on.
When your environment becomes social entrepreneurs, consultants, social programme developers and researchers, you’ll eventually catch the bug and adapt their mind set. By involving yourself in an international circle of dedicated colleagues you’ll learn their stories and the characters of the industry. You’ll come to realize the culture of social enterprises on a personal level.
“I entered the financial department of a social enterprise for two weeks in London. I met inspiring individuals, and gained a supportive mentor. We still stay in touch and meet up whenever I visit.” – Nuha AlZamil
“Mom, I’m going on an adventure!”
It’s a guaranteed promise that whatever department you’ll be involved in, the things you’ll see in a social enterprise aren’t the usual. Social enterprises deal with the societal areas that are yet to be developed, hence it’s a journey of exploring the full potential of every social problem. You’ll come across topics that you’ve never considered before, or knew you had any interest in.
“While working with a social enterprise aiming to create special canes for seniors, I came into contact with the culture of the elderly on several levels. I’ve never considered the topic before, so the experience was an eye-opener.“ – Firas AlJarrah
Now that’s a skillset.
Experiencing time in an international social enterprise will change you. (Disclaimer: This statement has been fully agreed on by the social entrepreneurs we’ve talked to).
Some flew to work in global social enterprises with no background on social entrepreneurship, while others were a bit familiar with it. Nonetheless, both agreed to have been exposed to situations they’d never come across before, and to have gained a valuable set of skills. Remember, social entrepreneurs need the ambitious attitude, alongside the practical skillset.
“I’ve learned from my experience in India the importance of teamwork, time-management, impact assessment and accepting colleagues with different backgrounds and ideas. I feel people more now, I feel more compassionate than ever. “ – Bariah Elajou
Once you gather all these known treasure and the hidden ones, pack up your souvenirs and get on a plane back to Saudi. View the local social entrepreneurship field with wiser eyes. Share what you learned. Contribute with your knowledge to the rise of the sector, and encourage the spirit in others.
Above all, keep traveling and seeking international social entrepreneurship experience; the world of social enterprises is endless and there’s more than one treasure box you can bring back home.