Our social entrepreneurship professionals gathered innovative social enterprises that are improving the world through its businesses.
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Documentaries are an increasingly popular format to create awareness for today’s real-world issues.
Here are some of the movies you need to add to your watchlist as a future social entrepreneur!
The True Cost
Andrew Morgan’s Kickstarter-funded documentary The True Cost is an unearthing of the ugly side of clothes manufacturing. By making the connections between fashion consumerism and poverty, The True Cost reveals the exploitation that comes with ever-lowering price tags, and uses 2013’s Rana Plaza catastrophe as its centrepiece.
Although you wouldn’t label Morgan a social entrepreneur, he does what every good one should by shedding light on a real issue no one wants to talk about. Many saw the oppression, but Morgan was the one to do something about it and ignited a global conversation. There’s no better inspiration than that for anyone pushing for change.
The award-winning Real Value questions how businesses should define the value their products bring, by asking if it’s just about the bottom line, or if there’s more to it than money? This documentary makes its point by profiling business leaders who’ve grown their enterprises after becoming more socially minded.
From Sow True Seed, which empowers communities with nutritional awareness, to a custom t-shirt retailer that has embraced sustainability into its business model, the Real Value reveals how positive values enhance every corner of the enterprise. And by showing that social responsibility can be possible for any business, Real Value highlights that you don’t need to be starting from the ground up to be a social enterprise.
Codegirl follows the competitors of the Technovation Challenge, which asks teams of high-school girls from around the world to design, build and pitch a smartphone app that serves a social purpose. The aim of the challenge – as well as the documentary, for that matter – is to address the gender imbalance in tech and encourage more young women to pursue computer science.
Rather than raising the inclusion topic in anger and protest, Codegirl chooses to simply focus on the amazing work the competitors can do when given a chance – a great approach for anyone trying to make their case heard.
The Interrupters follows the work of anti-violence organisation CeaseFire in Chicago. Shot in 2011, when Chicago became a symbol for the inner-city crime epidemic in the United States, the film documents the work of three gang members turned activists as they protect their communities from gang violence.
The film’s main subjects – or “the interrupters” – Ameena, Cobe and Eddie, are each on a journey of personal redemption as they fight against an out-of-control issue. The bravery they show is the inspiration for anyone battling for social good and shows that the most worthy causes are often right on your doorstep.
Living on One Dollar
After discovering that over 1.1b people live on under US$1 a day, four college students travelled to rural Guatemala to do the same for two months – not your typical holiday.
In those two months, the common issues of poverty became very real for the four. They faced illness from dirty drinking water and then huge medical fees afterwards. Then when trying to start a business, they found gaining a bank loan almost impossible.
But while the documentary reveals the hardships of everyday poverty, it also shows how those struggles are overcome by the local community’s unique spirit and resourcefulness. If nothing else, their ability to make good of bad situations is the inspiration for any social entrepreneur.
The Pursuit of Happyness
The Pursuit of Happyness is a true story based on the life of entrepreneur Chris Gardner’s nearly one-year struggle of being homeless with his son.
Chris Gardner overcame unbelievable circumstances to achieve his dreams. Evicted from the mainstream and bounced from shelter to shelter, Chris holds firm to his dignity, resolve, faith, love and independence. His optimism sweeps through the film like a searchlight, scattering clouds and dark thoughts to the wind. That passion and sacrifice is something that every entrepreneur should be willing to embrace. Will Smith’s portrayal of Gardner earned him an Oscar nomination.
This movie is all about real-life entrepreneur Joy Mangano, inventor of the Miracle Mop, who got rich in the 1990s selling her own revolutionary self-wringing mop on the QVC home shopping channel.
This film is rich in business lessons. Lawrence’s Joy is struggling to combine motherhood and work and live with her invalid mother, Terry, and grandmother, Mimi, who is the only one who remembers how talented and creative Joy was as a little girl. The movie suggests the attainability of the American Dream and the idea that a single mother can physically build a business to support her family. It suggests the incredible tenacity required to grow a startup. Joy’s Miracle Mop is a good value proposition. It takes a pre-existing tool and makes it easier to use.
Faced with a limited budget, Billy Bean decides to take the untested metric approach towards building his team to achieve incredible results in the Major Baseball League.
Billy Bean had to adapt to survive. He knew his team couldn’t compete with the big guns in the league because they didn’t have deep pockets. As such, he had to take risks and make tough decisions to achieve good results. “Moneyball” is about finding value where other teams don’t see it. Most startups face a similar scenario when they go up against stiff competition from established businesses in the market. Billy Beane’s story shows that success can be achieved through risk-taking and inventiveness.
The Social Network
Directed by David Fincher, The Social Network tells the story of how Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook while studying at Harvard.
It offers you a glimpse of how Facebook began and reminds you that big companies often have small beginnings. Love Facebook or hate it, viewers can’t deny the power of Zuckerberg’s story. It’s not about who has an idea but who can execute it. Facebook did happen because Mark Zuckerberg took the initiative. He had the confidence and belief in the idea; worked towards it and thus made it happen. That’s what other entrepreneurs need to do. Ideas are all around. All you need to do is brace yourself, preparing a plan and execute it as soon as possible rather than waiting for the perfect moment to start.
The Aviator is a biopic of Howard Hughes, the eccentric billionaire who overcame all the odds to become a famous businessman and successful film director
When it comes to innovators, very few have soared as high and fell as hard as the legendary Howard Hughes. He is a true, can-do American pioneer and visionary in both the motion picture and aeronautics industries, who fights the forces of censorship in the one realm and government control in the other. He is involved in every aspect of the design, development, and testing of the products of his company. Howard is the ultimate problem solver. He is the perfect role model for fledgling entrepreneurs who have to overcome numerous obstacles in life to achieve great things.
If you’re ever in need of inspiration or would just like to take a break, watch or rewatch these movies. You’ll not be disappointed.
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