Starting a social enterprise trvst

Starting a Social Enterprise? Just Do It and Get Over The Fear!

Our eighth SDG Network MeetUp, hosted by Global Action Plan, was an inspirational and engaging gathering with helpful advice and interesting Q&A around the theme of starting a social enterprise, as social female entrepreneurs Kathy Wong (Moeloco and Crazy Dreamers TV show), Sophie Andre (Elysia Catering), Steffie (Karma) and Abena Poku-Awuah (Muon Events) took to the stage to share their stories and the oh so important “why” to what they are doing to make a difference.

The SDG Network MeetUp, run and organised by Amanda Weilenmann and myself, Carolina Karlstrom, is a London based grassroots network aiming to educate and raise awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), connect people, and inspire to action towards achieving the Goals. Since the two of us took over the organisation last spring, we have grown the network from just over 300 to an amazing 750+ changemakers keen to make a difference. It’s a lovely crowd, some familiar faces and always new joiners too at each event, and you never know who you will meet and end up talking too.

Starting a social enterprise
Moeloco flip-flops. For each pair sold a child in India will get a pair of shoes to go to school. Photo courtesy of Amanda Weilenmann, co-organiser SDG Network MeetUp.

Like Kathy founder of Moeloco said: “Your networks and the people you seek support from are critical. I see a lot of fragmentation where we all see similar issues. I don’t see competition, I see collaboration.”

Our four women speakers for the evening all contribute to SDG 8, decent work, and economic growth by being social entrepreneurs –  and they are also engaged in driving progress towards several other goals; 1 zero hunger, 2 no poverty, 4 quality education, 12 responsible consumption and production, and 13 climate action. It was fascinating to hear the story of each speaker and we all learned so much. Did you know that 1/3 of all food produced globally is wasted? Through Elysia Catering’s breakfasts and canapes, and Karma’s rescue food app, surplus food comes to great and valuable use which is doesn’t just make environmental sense, it is also financially sustainable.

Did you know that there are 1.3 million events in the UK every year? In general, these are very wasteful affairs and Muon Events are aiming to raise the bar for the industry – they recently ran an event where 100% of the energy demand came from on-site solar panels.

Before we all engaged in the networking element of the evening and to munch on delicious surplus cakes and pastries acquired at half price through the Karma app, our speakers gave their take away actions that we can all start doing now. And what better way to round up this blog than to share these actions with you?

  • Start a Conversation- speak to what you are passionate about - the ripple effects can be amazing.
  • What questions do you have - find the answer, raise your awareness and find out!
  • Know your values - trust them and take your time to learn those of others, you might be amazed what you have got in common.
  • The next time you go to an event, question what food they’re serving - is it local? What about plastic bottles or disposable cutlery? Just ask them questions and get a conversation started.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the event – it is our amazing audience who make the events the friendly and engaging gatherings that they are, alongside of course our fantastic speakers who shared their stories of starting a social enterprise. Thank you also to Global Action Plan who generously hosted us all for the evening.

If you would like to learn more, why not join the SDG Network MeetUp? You can sign up here and it is free to join. You never know who you will meet!

Audience listening to presenters at Sustainable Development Goals meetup
Photo credit: Amanda Weilenmann
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Carolina Karlstrom is the founder and director of Jade Advisory Ltd., a small sustainability consultancy creating space for change in organisations and communities, through strategic interventions and people engagement. Carolina’s broad knowledge of sustainability is the result of 20+ years of experience in the sustainable energy sector and in leading strategic and professional sustainability roles. […]
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