As David Bornstein, author of “How to Change the World” said: “Social entrepreneurs identify resources where people only see problems. They view the community as the solution, not the passive beneficiary. They begin with the assumption of competence and unleash resources in the communities they’re serving.” (http://wildpollinators.org 2012)
This quote really resonated with me, as someone who works for a politician and is constantly on the end of the phone to the many community groups throughout the electorate who are all desperate for funding for their projects but are caught in the traditional long term cycle of relying on scarce or tired fund raising opportunities and government handouts.
The demand on government funding far outweighs the funds that are ever going to be available and this problem is only going to get worse. There is a great need for community organisations to think outside of the square to enable them to have their own long term financial security and to no longer view their organisations as not for profits, but organisations that are for profit for the social good of their community.
How great would it be for these groups to apply business principles to their long term strategic planning? Social Eentrepreneurship means different things to different people and what I have described above will no doubt differ greatly to what other members of the Pollinators view social entrepreneurship as. This is what makes it so exciting. The principles can be adapted to so many scenarios.
“I arrived in Geraldton as a fresh faced seventeen year old in the late eighties. In those days, Geraldton had long been a fishing and farming town with many of the local businesses and buildings in the CBD being owned and operated by ‘old’ Geraldton families whose influence crept into all areas of decision making. Consequently, not much happened unless it was for the benefit of a few, not the whole.
“It was the fishing industry that would provide an income and the most wonderful life experience for my family over nearly the next two decades and we were extremely lucky enough to be able to give our children in their early years of childhood the Abrolhos Island lifestyle as well as living in the small coastal community of Leeman during the ‘whites’ stage of the crayfishing season.
“As such, we were only part-time residents of Geraldton and as wonderful as the fishing lifestyle was, I have to admit that it was also very insular and it was only when we left the fishing industry that I realised that there was a whole other world out there that I had not been participating in.
“I have been fortunate to have fallen into some very interesting employment which has provided me with great personal growth over the last few years and introduced me to some amazing people.
“My job at the Geraldton Universities Centre was instrumental in introducing me to the world of academia and the concept of BIG thinking. It was also the first time that I really started to appreciate how others viewed Geraldton as a great place to live. I was quite astounded by the number of highly qualified/skilled and inspiring people from all over the world who had decided to make Geraldton their home and being able to work with these people taught me how to think BIG. It also taught me to appreciate how great a place Geraldton is to live.
“The best thing was that as I took in more of what was happening in Geraldton, I could see the change that all these new BIG thinkers were making to the city, with the help of many locals who had been waiting for this much needed period of growth and innovation which is still unfolding and still offering great opportunities for those who want to be part of the long term vision.
“My current job working for the Hon Grant Woodhams MLA, Member for Moore and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly has been a baptism of fire! There is no ‘how to’ job manual. The Moore electorate comprises seventeen local governments and takes in 71,909km² from Kalbarri in the north to Muchea in the south and almost out to Yalgoo in the east and everything in between. If I thought I had not been participating in what had been going on in Geraldton for a long time, I hadn’t even been in the room when it came to the Mid West!! Great things are happening in our hinterland communities.
Natasha has recently joined the Pollinators board and we welcome her passion and experience with open arms.