In a rapidly changing environment, our youth are facing a world full of complexity, wicked problems and immense challenges. Teaching social entrepreneurship and design thinking will prepare them to turn problems into opportunities. So what exactly is a social entrepreneur?
According to Ashoka (a large network of social entrepreneurs worldwide), social entrepreneurs can be described as:
... individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems. They are ambitious and persistent, tackling major social issues and offering new ideas for wide-scale change.
Rather than leaving societal needs to the government or business sectors, social entrepreneurs find what is not working and solve the problem by changing the system, spreading the solution, and persuading entire societies to move in different directions.
Social entrepreneurs often seem to be possessed by their ideas, committing their lives to changing the direction of their field. They are visionaries, but also realists, and are ultimately concerned with the practical implementation of their vision above all else.
Social entrepreneurs present user-friendly, understandable, and ethical ideas that engage widespread support in order to maximise the number of citizens that will stand up, seize their idea, and implement it. Leading social entrepreneurs are mass recruiters of local changemakers— role models proving that citizens who channel their ideas into action can do almost anything.
In creating Jump Start, our vision was to arm students with the skills to thrive in the 21st Century; to create an army of social entrepreneurs and innovators with the drive and knowledge to create positive change.
Igniting a passion in our students and allowing them to embrace risk and failure helps set them up to understand a problem thoroughly and then ideate, prototype and test their ideas.
Students are encouraged to identify and define what success means for them, to set goals and work efficiently towards them. By giving students the skills and tools to define (or re-define) problems, map out ways to redirect the future and act upon them, the Jump Start program is creating the leaders of tomorrow.