I am, at heart, a philanthropist. It makes me feel good to know that someone is benefiting from my actions. It is not about how good I will look, what drives me is the ability to make a positive impact on someone’s life. That is power. Power isn’t about having control over people, it is about the ability to change lives and make great things happen. We all possess this power, but most of us do not harness it.
I am entrepreneur because I have identified an issue, albeit accidentally, and I stepped up and decided to address it. I am new to entrepreneurship – in fact, I have told myself that I am merely engaging in a few “projects” but someone I respect and admire, referred to me an entrepreneur, and so I affirm this.
The issue that I have identified is social discrepancy among South Africans, I live in an upper-middle class suburb with the richest people to the left of me and extreme poverty to my right. I want to live like the people on the left but I cannot ignore the people on the right. I have spent six years actively engaging in fundraising for and volunteering at many NGOS. It is hard work, but hard work has never detoured my sense of responsibility.
I have also noticed how NGOs PLEAD and BEG for money and resources. I do not want to plead, I want to encourage businesses to be responsible corporate citizens because they have the means to make a substantial impact.
I aim to address this by incorporating CSI to a business’s growth strategy. This is not merely donating money to random NGOs, to address the issue, we need a sustainable solution. I want to work with businesses and employees to select a cause that is relevant to that business and plan a long term project which is ultimately a genuine investment in the community. A business WILL reap the rewards – and there are many rewards. Forget using CSI to look good, consumers can see through that. I am passionate about helping people and I coordinate projects in a hands-on way. I have always been 100% involved at EVERY step and ensure proper feedback and evaluation with regard to every project that I have undertaken, whether in my personal capacity or with Rotaract and NGOs.
Essentially, I will be spending someone else’s money on my passion. My passion is people and social development. However this does not mean that I don’t enjoy the finer things in life or that I won’t splurge occasionally – because I will, but it brings me joy to know that I have done something to help – to help a business enhance their competitive advantage and retain loyal consumers AND to help the communities they operate in, thrive.