Social Enterprise Workshop

What is Social Enterprise?

I was recently invited to be part of the Beyond Sports Summit, in Philadelphia to help the audience answer one question – What is Social Enterprise? I want to give you an answer to that question too.  It’s a question that keeps coming up, and I don’t think it’s going away any time soon.

A little background

I’ve worked with several different social enterprise support services in London over the past couple of years, and had the privilege to know and work with a number of social entrepreneurs over that time.  When the organising team contacted me to answer the “what is social enterprise” question, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

You see, even for us in the social enterprise industry, we don’t all have one strict definition that everyone around the world agrees on.  We do all have a sense of what it means, and I’ll give you my answer:

Social Enterprises use financially sustainable business models to solve social problems.  

Wikipedia says Social Enterprises apply “commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being, rather than maximising profits for external shareholders.”

I like my answer better.   Continue reading

Impact Hub Islington

Touring London for Social Enterprise – My Hub Crawl Route

I’m a big supporter of Social Enterprise.  I’ve worked with several of the leading social enterprise support services in London.  I love to introduce people to the fascinating world of business for benefit.

That’s why I created the Hub Crawl – A four-hour guided tour of three of the best social enterprise coworking spaces in London – Hub Islington, Hub Kings Cross and Hub Westminster.  I only run it on special occasions, but I want to describe it here to encourage you to learn more about social enterprise and these amazing hotbeds of social innovation.

You may still be wondering, what is a social enterprise anyway?  Here’s my short answer – it’s an organisation that has both social and financial goals.  What makes it different from a regular business? The social goals are at least equally as important as the financial ones.

What does social enterprise look like in action?  It could be anything from a small group of committed citizens, like the team at Hub Westminster, to a large international organisation like the Big Issue.

And that’s what’s great about the Hub Crawl, you get the chance to see and meet people from both of these organisations, and everything in between.

The Hub Crawl Route Continue reading

Superheroes

7 ways to be a terrible volunteer abroad

You’re going to volunteer abroad, and you want to make sure you do a terrible job. Here’s how.

1. Be a Super Hero

In another country, you are a Super Hero.  Your simple deeds will fix the world, probably in two weeks or less.  Make sure everyone knows that you, and you alone can save them in their hour of need. You are not there to be of service,  you are there to be the saviour, and of course should be treated as such.  Expect local people to worship you and bring you offerings.

2. Don’t accept the unknown

Make sure that you are not open to any kind of new experience.  Demand that everything be exactly the way it is back home, otherwise you will leave.  Do not be flexible and adaptable, and definitely don’t try anything new.

3. Be the smartest person in town

You know best, and make sure every else knows it.  You know how to do everything better, so make sure you tell everybody that what they are doing is wrong. Don’t learn why they are doing things the way they are, just tell them what they should do.  You are foreign, so of course you must know better than the local community, right?

4. Go with the most expensive and famous volunteer operator Continue reading

Community Dinner

What is responsible volunteer tourism?

Volunteer tourism, or “Voluntourism” comes in many shapes and sizes.  Just like any holiday, or travel plan it can be adapted to suit the tourist or traveller.  There’s a lot to think about though, and that’s where the “responsible” bit comes in.

Irresponsible volunteer tourism

You probably don’t want to be volunteering at an orphanage in Cambodia right now – Why? Because so many people want to volunteer with orphans in Cambodia, that unscrupulous operators are filling houses with children (that still have parents) just so that wealthy tourists can see and work with them for a few weeks.  Siem Reap, home of the fabulous and beautiful Angkor Wat, has a population of 100,000 and 35 orphanages.  That ratio is wrong, and it’s driven by irresponsible volunteer tourism.   Responsible Travel has stopped offering all orphanage voluntourism packages while it fully investigates the situation.

 Responsible Responsible tourism 

During my recent adventure in Thailand, I was introduced to a responsible volunteer tourism operator.  Set up 11 years ago as a partnership between local Thai Gaweechat Joompaula (known as Toto) and Swedish social entrepreneur Sven Mauleon, Openmind Projects is role model in responsible volunteer tourism.  Now they operate in four countries, in partnership with over 70 grass roots projects.

“The background to a lot of the problems in this world, poverty, pollution, environmental destruction, is knowledge…  Knowledge brings awareness, and a motivation to change. Helping people to learn, Helping people to learn how to learn, and helping people use new technology. That is our mission. That is Openmind Projects”

What experience can volunteers abroad expect? Continue reading

Winning with the TAT

How we got more than a million votes in two weeks, and won the Little Big Project Blogging Challenge

This in-depth article is about how my small team managed to smash all expectations and get more than 600,000 rating votes for our blog in less than two weeks.

**UPDATE – THE OFFICIAL COUNT IS IN – WE GOT 1,078,049 VOTES – OVER ONE MILLION!!**

First of all – a big thank you. Without you, and thousands of others, my team would not have been able to win the Little Big Project. With your help, we were able to win a grant of $5000 for an NGO that specialises in ecotourism and responsible volunteer tourism – Openmind Projects.

Thank you to all of you that voted, shared, liked and participated. My team-mate and I also won $1000 each, and courtesy of Thai Airways, return flights to Thailand for me, and return flights anywhere in Asia for my Thai team-mate.

Here ‘s a quick recap, before we get into how we did it.

From July 3rd to July 17th  myself and nine others were selected by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to promote ecotourism and responsible volunteer tourism in Thailand.  The five international bloggers were paired up with five Thai bloggers, to make five teams – all working with different host organisations around Thailand.

My team’s project was responsible ecotourism and marine conservation in Phuket.  My amazing Thai teammate was Wimalin Chalermporn, known to everyone as Fha.  Our host organisation was Openmind Projects (OMP).  You can still see all our coverage of the two weeks, and the huge number of voting hits we received, at the official competition website. The competition – whichever team gets the most total combined rating votes for all blog posts, wins $5000 for the host organisation.

So how did we win?  Continue reading

Vote for us!

Help promote ecotourism in Thailand

Are you a supporter of ecotourism, and responsible volunteer tourism?  Do you want to help protect and preserve marine national parks

I’ve been selected to help the Tourism Authority of Thailand promote these types of activities in Phuket, and I could really do with your help.

I’m working with a great team at Openmind Projects, and together with my Thai team mate Wimalin (Fha), we are trying to help them win $5000.  We’re doing many things, and focusing on the amazing work the Park Rangers are doing to protect and preserve the marine national parks.

Please help out this great organisation by following the steps below. Continue reading

Volunteering Abroad – Pay to join or do it yourself?

Have you thought about volunteering abroad, but not sure about paying an NGO to organise your volunteer experience? Can’t you just do it yourself, or pay your own way? I’ve had the chance to try volunteering abroad in different ways, and I’ll share with you what I’ve learned. Before you volunteer, read this:

Paying to Volunteer – Nepal
In Nepal, I chose to join a small NGO that offered me the experience of helping a small school with its English Education. I found them online, checked out reviews from past volunteers, and decided to join. Continue reading

Beautiful Thai Waterfall

How to Win a Volunteer Ecotourism Trip to Thailand

Have you ever won a holiday? I’m slightly surprised, delighted and grateful to say that I have been selected to join a 20 day volunteer ecotourism project in Thailand.

Here are three tips to help you get selected and win your own Inspiring Adventure:

1. Be Connected

You have to hear about relevant competitions from somewhere.  Start a meet up  or a twitter account or a Facebook page around something you are passionate about.  Connect with other people who are interested in the same things.  Help these people find relevant, exciting, interesting opportunities, and they will help you too. I saw the competition on Facebook in April, entered it, and shared it on the Inspiring Adventures Facebook page and Twitter.  Did you see it?  Did you enter? What are you doing to build your own relevant connections?

2. Enter the competition

As Woody Allen says, “90% of success is just showing up”.  If you don’t enter because you don’t think you will win, you will never win.  Do you know how many other people entered?  Do you definitely know that someone else is going to win?  Sign up for the competition and try. You might just surprise yourself. Continue reading

Copacabana

Copacabana or Ramsey – The Final Beach Walking Video?

Farewell for now Brazil. It was a wonderful journey.  I hope you enjoyed following the adventures, and the inspiring stories from the social entrepreneurs.  Have you been inspired to take your own Inspiring Adventure?  I hope so!

Together with you, I visited all five regions of the fifth largest country in the world in just over five weeks.  I feel very lucky to have been able to meet and share the stories of more than 15 social entrepreneurs with you.

Inspiring Adventures is now has more 2600 followers. My fun YouTube videos have been viewed more than 50,000 times, and my articles are starting to be published on major online content providers. Thank you for your interest and support!

I feel very grateful that my stories will continue to spread, and I am happy to be part of a positive journalistic movement.  I strongly believe that we can all find amazing people doing inspiring work where ever we look.  From exotic locations on the other side of the world, to right in our own local neighbourhood.

As you can tell from the video, I’m now back in the UK. I will continue to share fun adventures, along with stories to inspire you to start your own adventures.

The journey is the reward

Coworking tour for startups

Join The Hub Crawl – A Co-working Co-walking Adventure!

  • Want a fun adventures around three of London’s coolest social innovation coworking spaces?
  • Want to have a drink and a walk with socially minded people who are working on interesting projects?  

Then the Hub Crawl is for you! 

It is a 4 hour guided group journey around all three Hubs in London, on a Friday evening. It’s been running for more than a year, and we’ve taken more than 100 people on Hub Crawls.

Eventbrite - Hub Crawl! The Social Innovation Adventure

Why attend?

  • Enjoy a fun night of adventure around London! It just so happens to coincides with the weekly Friday night members drinks at each Hub…
  • Learn about social enterprise and coworking. If you didn’t already know, coworking growing rapidly, and the Hub is a global network of these spaces and a community of social entrepreneurs.
  • Connect with interesting, like minded people. The best feedback is that people have a fun night with great people.

What is the Hub?

The Hub is a global network of  more than 35 coworking spaces and a community of social entrepreneurs.

The Hub Crawl London takes you from the very first Hub in Islington, through to the beautifully designed Kings Cross (with its own bar), to one of the very latest Hubs in the global network in Westminster.

Eventbrite - Hub Crawl! The Social Innovation Adventure


Inspiring Adventures also arranges bespoke tours to meet your needs. If you’d like to request something special, simply fill in the form below.