br_dollars_and_change

Wharton Business School, irresponsible travel, and how you can have fun and do good at the same time.

Recently I was interviewed for the Wharton Business Radio Show, Dollars and Change.

It’s great to see a leading, Ivy League University putting resources into developing social impact initiatives like this.

As it’s a paid-for service, I can’t link to the actual 30 minute interview, but I’ve put details at the bottom of this article as to how you can sign up for a free trial if you’d like to listen.

What I can do is share four interesting points that came up from the interview.

Question: We’ve heard about your Beer-to-Beer Social Enterprise Learning Journey. This sounds amazing. We want to join. Can you tell us a bit more about it?

Answer: As I’ve said before, your friends are amazing, but you don’t always have the chance to learn from them.  Sure, you can go out with them for a beer on a Friday night, but why not go out on a fun journey with them, and actually learn something new at the same time?

That’s what the Impact Hub Crawl is all about. Not just peer-to-peer learning, but Beer-to-Beer learning!  Here’s a video to explain more from my last Impact Hub Crawl, Beer-to-Beer social enterprise learning experience:

Question: Surely, some people just want “irresponsible” experiences. Are people really interested in responsible travel experiences? 

Answer: Yes of course some people switch off their brains and just have a beer.  However as more and more people look for purpose in other parts of their life, like their career, they are also looking for it in their other experiences, like their holidays and vacations.

They might be surrounded by inspiring colleagues at work, and instead of looking for a short-term escape from a boring job, they’re looking for a deeper, more enriching experience.  As a simple example, the Beer-to-Beer Impact Hub Crawl uses locally produced beer, and that pay their staff fair wages.

Question: What are some examples of social enterprises that people can use when they travel to more exotic locations?

Answer: If you are visiting a big city, there are many types of tours you can take.  In Rio, for example, it’s becoming popular to visit the poor communities, known as favelas.  There’s a right way and a wrong way to do this. The wrong way is to use a large international travel operator, that will hire an expensive non-local guide, and take you to the favela to take pictures.  This is a terrible kind of poverty safari.  None of your money stays with the local community, and you are not helping them at all.

The right way to do it is to work with operators that use local residents of these communities. These locals are passionate about their communities and can tell you about the history, and daily life. As well as this, your visit helps them economically. As they are paid, the money can go back into the community to help it develop.

(I’ve written previously about visiting social enterprises in Favelas and Responsible Favela Tours)

Question: Is it hard to find social enterprise and responsible travel options?  

Answer: It can be hard. It can take more time or cost more, but it’s worth it.  It’s worth it because we all play a part in investing in the types of businesses and services we want to see in the world.

There’s a growing number of people who care about the impact they are having, both at home, and abroad. Whether it’s Rio, Bangkok, New York or London.  If you shop Fair Trade at home, don’t you want to encourage Fair Trade in the destinations you visit?  If you support your local community at home, don’t you want to support the local communities you stay with?

That’s why it’s important to do your research, and ask your operators gentle questions about how they work with local communities.  And if you’re not satisfied with the answers, find someone else, or ask someone to help you find someone better.

If you’d like to speak to me about it, have a look at my social enterprise coaching and mentoring service. Let me know if you think we can work together.

Here’s a link to the Wharton Business Radio Station: http://www.siriusxm.com/freetrial – but fair warning, it was a little difficult to get set up!

Do you have any questions you’d like to ask me?  Let me know in the comments.

Impact Hub Islington

Your Friends are Amazing – 3 ways to Learn From Them

At the end of this month, I’m running the Impact Hub Crawl – In a warm up to this peer-to-peer (beer-to-beer!) learning event, I wanted to share with you three ways to learn from your friends.

 1) Teach to Learn

When I was a teacher in Japan, the joke was always – “Who learns the most in school?” “The teachers!”. OK, that’s not something that our global education systems should be proud of, but in traditional education it’s true.

Why is this true? Because to be able to teach something well, you have to know it really well. And if you know you have to teach it, you’ll really concentrate when you are learning it! What could you teach your friends?

Who's really learning here?

Who’s really learning here?

“We Learn…

10% of what we read
20% of what we hear
30% of what we see
50% of what we see and hear
70% of what is discussed with others
80% of what is experienced personally
95% of what we teach to someone else”
William Glasser

2) Make and Spend Time with Them

To learn from your friends you have to make time to spend with your friends.  Last year I was so interested in this idea I set up a group on facebook called “Finding a CoLiveWork House“, because I wanted to be living with friends that motivate and inspire me.  It worked! I ended up living with Brenna, an excellent writer and travel blogger, and Mike, a specialist in social business and investment. I recommend making time to form your own intentional community, and then spending time in it.  If you are interested in the same things as me, join my facebook group, or start your own.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”

3) Ask and Give Back.

If you have a friend that is good at something you want to learn, just ask them to help you. Invite them round for dinner, and as above, spend time with them. We’re all busy, but hopefully we’ve got time for our friends – that’s what friends are for, right?
Surprisingly, the Ben Franklin Effect suggests that if someone does YOU a favour, they will like YOU more! How interesting is that!
“He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged.”
And maybe after your new best friend has helped you out, you can do something nice for them too. Like invite them to join you on the Impact Hub Crawl on June 27th. 
If you thought this was useful, please give it a share now.

How do you learn from your friends?  Let us all know in the comments.

Thanks!
Hubcrawl Logo

Join the Award Winning Impact Hub Crawl this month and #SparkSomeGood

I want to help you get started in Good Business. In work that makes the world better.

And if you’ve already started in good business, I want to support you to learn from your friends and peers. Some call this peer-to-peer learning. But this is Inspiring Adventures, and we call it beer-to-beer learning*!

And so, on Friday June 27th, you can:

Join the Impact Hub Crawl – The CoWorking, CoWalking, Social Adventure!

 

I’m very happy to announce that I’ve been given the social enterprise Spark Award by a fantastic organisation called UnLtd. It’s their mission to support social entrepreneurs too.

UnLtd Award Winner
Together with Santander, we’ve team up to #SparkSomeGood and help you learn more about becoming a social entrepreneur. If you already trading, then great! The Impact Hub Crawl will help you build your network and make new connections on a fun urban social adventure.

Join the #HubCrawl

Will you make it all the way?

 

Spark Awards

*It’s really not about the beer, it’s about the learning! Personally, I don’t even really like beer that much. Other drinks are available.
I’m looking for ideas for my next Healthy Hub Crawl – got any?  Let me know in the comments please!
Lifeguarding at Hub Westminster

How to Start a Social Enterprise You Love

This post has my top three tips for starting something that matters. This is how I started, and it can work for you too.

1) Subscribe to blogs

No one likes unwanted spam. But newsletters and emails from interesting people have poked me into action more times than I can remember.  And it’s a great way to make sure you don’t miss the posts from people you like, and from people like you.

  • For business, I love to read the Four Hour Work Week blog by Tim Ferriss. It’s full of interesting posts on lifestyle design, health, new books and online business. I’ve learned a lot from his work. I like to read it with a social entrepreneurship lens. What would a social Tim Ferriss do?
  • For travel, I love This Battered Suitcase by Brenna Holeman. She writes wonderful stories of her adventures around the world, and also around my back garden here in East London.  I love it when she writes about causes she is passionate about, like Femme International, or questions irresponsible tourist practices like chumming for sharks.
  • For social impact, I always read The Impact Hub London Newsletter, and not just because I work here creating Hubcademy.  It’s great, and important, to hear about all the relevant, local events going on near you.  If you live in London, and you’re interested in making an impact with your life and work, join this list.

You can get all my blog posts in your email too – just enter details on the right at the top of the page. Never miss an Inspiring Adventures post!

I also have a newsletter, and I’d love to know what you’d like to read more about.  Answer my 17 second two question questionnaire, so that I can give you more of exactly what you want.

Thanks so much.

2) Write down ideas

Continue reading

Project Hub Yangon Co-founder, Allison Morris

How to Start a Social Enterprise From Anywhere in the World

You want to start a company that makes the world a better place. How are you going to do that, then? I’ll tell you how. And I won’t just tell you how to start one in the UK, I’ll tell you how to do it in Myanmar too. And if you can do it in Myanmar, I’m pretty sure you can do it anywhere in the world.

1. Join a community.

I love coworking spaces. I love to visit and work from new ones in new countries. In London, I spend most of my time in Impact Hub Westminster, and I’m even on their website as a coworking lifeguard.

Joining a supportive community is a vital ingredient in your start-up success, so do it! Where else are you going to make friends that get you through your hard times, and help you celebrate your wins?  Check what’s around you and go for a look, or join a tour of coworking spaces in London.

Project Hub Yangon

What do you do if no community exists? You start one. That’s exactly what Allison Morris (pictured above), and Pete Silvester did with Project Hub Yangon. The space launched in 2013, but the community building work really began when the pair hosted Global Entrepreneurship Week in Myanmar in 2012. They hoped that Project Hub Yangon would become a place for like-minded people to discuss ideas, work on projects and create businesses. That’s exactly what’s happened.

Finding new members, and managing the space are the daily battles of every coworking space, but their vision has become a reality. In their first year, as well as hosting the space for members with local space manager Zar Chi, they supported 5 local start-ups through a sponsored incubation program.

“It’s still a lot of work, but it’s worth it to support the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.” Allison Morris, Co-founder.

When I got there, they’d just installed their third independent internet connection, to deal with Myanmar’s notoriously unpredictable service. It was one of the fastest I found in Yangon. They’ve even got a an emergency battery that keeps the wi-fi going even when all the other electricity goes out!

If you’ve got some work or research to do while you are in Yangon, definitely check it out.

2. Get Support.

Continue reading

Yangon Bakehouse

3 Social Enterprises You Will Love In Myanmar

When you go to Myanmar, definitely visit these places.  You’ll get great food and souvenirs, and you’ll truly be helping the local people who need it.  The amazing power of social enterprise – do what you love and make the world a better place at the same time!

As I mentioned in my previous post “5 Fun Things More People Should Do In Myanmar“, there are three great social enterprises that I recommend you visit on your stay.  Here’s a bit more information about each of them:

For your lunch – Yangon Bakehouse

As a customer, what you see when you walk into Yangon Bakehouse (YBH), is a small bustling cafe with a delicious looking menu, and mouth-watering baked goods on display. I ordered a chicken wrap with fresh salad, fresh juice, and had a brownie and coffee for dessert.  If I’d have been passing by, that might have been all I’d have noticed. Freshly prepared, high quality food.  But behind the scenes there is another world going on, that sets this cafe apart from the rest in Yangon. The next day, a came back and met co-founder Cavelle Dove, who explained more.

“YBH runs an apprentice training programme for local women that have come from difficult circumstances” Says co-founder Cavelle Dove. “All women that join the apprenticeships are referred from specialist agencies that work with women in need.”

“The program sees the women training with YBH for 10 months. They become part of a family. During the apprenticeship, they are paid for their work, and often for the first time they feel a sense of security. They are able to access healthcare, and plan for their children’s education. By the end of the program, the women have key skills that can be transferred to other restaurants and bakeries around Yangon, and will be especially well suited to the high value work in the growing tourism sector. “

The Yangon Bakehouse shop front maybe small, but the dreams and plans are big. New partnerships and locations were being put into place when I visited, so have a look at the Yangon Bakehouse website for the latest information on new locations, and more beautiful photos.

For your souvenirs – Pomelo Yangon Continue reading

Sunset in Bagan

5 Fun Things More People Should Do In Myanmar

In this post, I’ll take you through 5 things I think more people should do in Myanmar, and why. If you haven’t already, be sure to read my previous post – 5 Beautiful Things Everybody Gets To See in Myanmar.

Sometimes it seems that every tourist in Myanmar is trying to do things that no one is doing. There are some great things to see and do, but if you yearn for  experiences that are a little more rare, try a few of these.

1) Sunrise from anywhere, in Mandalay

Everyone is pretty much obsessed with sunset in Myanmar. For good reason – it’s beautiful. But don’t forget about the equally beautiful sunrise.

On my first morning in my lovely guesthouse (Ma Ma’s Guesthouse) in Mandalay, I went up to the roof balcony at about 6am.  By 6.30am, the sun was starting to peak over the hills, giving me my first daylight view of the city.  I also managed to accidentally give a good scare to one of the guesthouse staff. She came up to sweep the floor, and wasn’t expecting a foreigner behind the door taking pictures. So I took a picture of her too.

They say Mandalay Hill is an excellent place for sunrise and sunset. I didn’t make it there that early. For me, it was a fine, deserted walk up in the middle of the day. Occasionally I was stopped and asked to pose for photos. To be back in Asia is to be a mini-celebrity again!

2) A Scooter Trek from Hsipaw Continue reading

Fisherman on Inle Lake

5 Beautiful Things Everybody Gets To See In Myanmar

Over the last couple years, Myanmar has made it easier for tourists to come and visit this little travelled region of South East Asia. In the past, the military government just wasn’t that keen on letting outsiders come in, and seeing what they were up to.

For reasons that I won’t go into right now (let’s just use the code word: Aung San Suu Kyi), they have decided to open up their kimono, and are making it easier for the world to see their attractions.

Already, there is a well-worn path of worthy destinations. I’m not saying you should skip them, as they are beautiful experiences, but be prepared to share them with the other travellers in Myanmar.

1) Sunset at Ubein’s Bridge, near Mandalay.

Walk along the world’s longest teak foot bridge at Sunset. Perhaps get a boat, or stay on shore.  Either way, at sunset you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful, photogenic scenery.  Of course, you and dozens of others will be taking nearly exactly the same beautiful photos.

It’s not just Ubein’s Bridge around Mandalay, there are some fantastic monasteries, stupas, pagodas and images of Buddha.  Just explore and see what you find.

2) Villages, near Hsipaw Continue reading

An Inspiring Adventure

6 ways to have an Inspiring Adventure

In February 2014, I’m going to Myanmar and Thailand. I want to tell you how I plan this trip, so that you can take your own Inspiring Adventures too.

Firstly, what is an Inspiring Adventure?

An Inspiring Adventure is anything you want it to be. Inspiring Adventures explore the world. Exotic new countries and the cities you live in. They are fun, unusual, exciting, and maybe a little outside your comfort zone. They might teach you a new skill, or introduce you to an amazing person, or a whole new way of life.  They benefit the people you encounter, and probably enrich your life too.

So now you know what it is , how are you going to have one?

1. Have a purpose

Ask yourself why you are going. Perhaps an opportunity has come up right now, and you just have to take it and make the most of it. Perhaps you’ve been planning all the details for years.  Either way, ask yourself what the purpose of this adventure is going to be.

For me, it’s to have an adventure with a healthy dose of social benefit. The adventure part just happens. You don’t have to plan that. In fact my definition of adventure includes “an uncertain outcome…”  What’s the point of going if you know everything that’ll happen to you?

The social benefit part is more challenging. I love to showcase the best examples of social enterprise and responsible tourism that I can find. That means step 2.

2. Do your research

Who’s doing what you want to do?  Who’s already done it?  And who can you ask? Google. Start typing in relevant search terms that align with your mission and see who pops up top. Read about them and organisations. Send them an email about yourself, your adventure and your purpose. Make it personal.

They might not all write back, but some of them will, and their connections will help you. For me, the British Council in Myanmar was especially responsive, and has connected me with a responsible travel specialist.  And of course, don’t forget to ask your friends.

3. Tell everyone you know Continue reading

My Top 3 Restaurants in East London

Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, Old Street

The chefs at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen restaurant

The chefs at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant

I promise not all my recommendations will be social enterprises, but I had to include at least one, and Fifteen is the most famous example in London. Operating since 2002, this restaurant takes 15 disadvantaged young people per year through a 12 month apprenticeship, in the skills of becoming a chef.

The food is modern British, and scrumptious. For our large group, we were served sharing plates for mains. Passing these meaty plates around added to the feeling of being with your extended family during the holidays. Dessert was fantastic, with the chocolate mousse sticking in mind as especially delicious.

Being associated with a high-profile figure like Jamie Oliver of course helps to promote the restaurant, and also promote the whole idea that a restaurant can be used for good. All profits from the restaurant are donated to the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation Charity, and over 350 students have now graduated from the three Fifteen restaurants in London, Cornwall and Amsterdam.

Cay Tre, Shoreditch Continue reading