It takes a specific character to harness their observations, reflect on the needs of the world, and then produce a service that caters to improving their surroundings. This individual confidently relies on the power of the self to move towards controlling their personal life destination. They value and exude a level of dedication, doggedness, and passion that goes beyond the typical personality. This individual knows that there is a crucial difference between optimism and being realistic, and has both in balance. Above all, this individual knows that behind any form of success is the foundation of love. Love for the self, love for their world, and love for leaving their mark.
This individual is a social entrepreneur, and we want to take a moment to appreciate just how remarkable and influential these innovators are. All of our brands and partners at Lux & Eco were started by brave people with revolutionary ideas. They all understand the key to having a successful business is sustainability, and that the future of our economy AND our well-being rests in this concept. Social entrepreneurs grasp the idea of the Triple Bottom Line, a known model for acknowledging that people, profit, and the planet need to be accounted for in order to take a simple concept and transform it into entrepreneurship. Conventional entrepreneurs only see opportunity as profit, whereas the individuals we are inspired by see a community transformed as the opportunity to take advantage of. They work to solve a problem with outside-the-box ideas that add new value to already existing interests. Social entrepreneurs rely on renewable resources and low-cost investing to launch, then take into account the power of teamwork and collaboration to turn their plans into actions.
I was shown firsthand the power of social entrepreneurship in action and how successful it is through one of the original social entrepreneurs, Dr. Chyi-Lyi (Kathleen) Liang, a published, award-winning professor of Community Development and Applied Economics at the University of Vermont. Her course on Community Entrepreneurship and its Dollar Enterprise project, a concept she coined herself and personally wrote the textbook for, emphasizes that “communities will transform when people and enterprises transform.”
Another mentor in social entrepreneurship and a motivator because of how much he has accomplished so early in life is NYU Adjunct Professor of Tourism and Stony Brook College lecturer Eddie Bergman. He encourages social entrepreneurship and uses his life story as a prime example. The work he has done for tourism in African countries while taking on the role as Executive Director of the New York-headquartered Africa Travel Association (ATA) has proven that Eddie has fit the mold of social entrepreneur. He recognized the social benefits tourists experience as well as the economic benefits local businesses receive when tourism is carried out in a sustainable manner.
Through efforts like Dr. Liang’s and Eddie Bergman’s, and success stories like the Lux & Eco brands, we can all move towards a world where success is measured by sustainability and social entrepreneurship is the norm, not the exception.