7/11/14 – This guest blog is part 2 written by Joe Ewing, co-founder of Kapok Connect. He is currently in Ethiopia conducting field work as part of the Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise MBA. Read part 1 here.
The last few weeks in the field have been exciting, challenging, and uncertain. We have found this relative uncertainty to be a foundation for creativity and out-of-the-box thinking that we could never have presumed before entering the field. Classes and business plan preparations have prepared us to endure mental and intellectual hardships on a more hypothetical level. But in just two weeks in Ethiopia, new and exciting ideas have arisen from challenges that we couldn’t have foreseen through coursework.
Our business is highly dependent on the relationships we are building in our summer practicum work. Our goal at the end of the summer is to have a strong base of suppliers and established processes that will allow us to maintain operations through our final semester in the fall. Additionally, we are building a business that works to partner with and empower aspiring small-scale entrepreneurs. We understand that cooperation an mutual benefit will spark creative new approaches and help us to determine the best possible way to operate our business.
We operate as a for-profit social business venture primarily because we have made it our mission to alleviate global poverty. We believe we can make the greatest social impact as a financially self-sustaining business, and by giving ourselves the freedom and flexibility to be creative and to innovate practical solutions. Sustainable growth will come through empowerment of our partners and suppliers through collaboration and mutual financial benefit. This will help us to become an exemplary company open to innovation and creativity, and one that can prove that social welfare and capitalism, in fact, are not mutually exclusive.