Learning About Social Entrepreneurship

It is always nerve-wracking to start an internship or new job, but also having to get oriented in a new country adds another level of anxiety. This summer I interned at an organization called Ashoka in Israel. Ashoka invests in and supports social entrepreneurs through their social justice endeavors. It is an international organization that has truly had an impact on the way people think about the connection between entrepreneurial thinking and social change. I feel as though my Brandeis experiences led me to interning with this organization. I was first exposed to the name Ashoka at a Brandeis event. When I was accepted into a program in Israel that pays for you to intern in the country, I was ecstatic to find through a google search of “social entrepreneurship Israel” that there was an Ashoka in the city I was going to be in.

My duties at my internship both excited me and gave me a sense of stability. My supervisor was one of the most engaging and intelligent men I had ever spoken to. He gave me the task of reading a book that he said was responsible for his involvement with Ashoka, a book that completely changed his way of thinking. “How To Change The World” showed me what truly defines a social entrepreneur and what characteristics a person must have to create social change. It follows many Ashoka fellows in their ventures to do good while analyzing why what they were doing worked. I was so satisfied with this assignment. It showed me how unaware I was of what it takes to be a social entrepreneur, and how Ashoka seeks out and helps these uniquely motivated people. I found the six qualities of successful social entrepreneurs eye opening; willingness to self-correct, willingness to share credit, willingness to break free of established structures, willingness to cross disciplinary boundaries, willingness to work quietly, and strong ethical impetus.  The connection between social change and entrepreneurial thinking is something I believe everyone interested in business should think about.

Danielle Mizrachi

Brandeis University

Related link: https://www.ashoka.org/social_entrepreneur

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