In our series about Social Enterprises' "helpers', we'd like to introduce you to Lily Chong, an enthusiastic curator and business intelligence provider, passionate about driving social change through business.
Lily is supporting social entrepreneurs to start and grow their social enterprise by providing knowledge and connectivity through her conferences, workshops, monthly meetups and personal development & sales coaching. She has also developed a job board that supports talented professionals to find more impactful work in social enterprises.
Ogunte: How does your eagerness to be involved as a social entrepreneurs’ supporter stem from what happened in your early years?
Lily Chong: I was a co-owner of a bar & restaurant while still working my corporate position as commercial director for a multinational media company. It dawned on me that neither of these fulfilled my desires for creating and doing something different that matters to me. After working some months for an international development charity. I’d learned about social enterprise. It's a business model I believed in. While I am aware of challenges for being an entrepreneur, being a social entrepreneur can be exceptionally more challenging. Especially when you learn why a good business fails - because of lack of commercial support- it's very disheartening to see. Therefore, it has become our mission at The Fourth Sector to support social entrepreneurship, to provide people with knowledge and experiences in developing their business and social impact sustainably.
There is a growing interest of people who want to start a social enterprise and our member's network is rising. So far our events have attracted over 50+ speakers and 250+ social entrepreneurs have been inspired to start and grow their social venture.
As a personal development and sales coach too, I have supported many entrepreneurs, founders, team members, freelancers - who had benefited from the 1-2-1 sessions with me. They have gained more confidence in their business and removed any uneasiness in approaching sales to ensure revenue is generated for their success.
The ability to support, inspire others and see them succeed is hugely rewarding. Together, we are expanding the impact we can make in this world.
Ogunte: What is your theory of change in 3 points?
Ogunte: What do you know now that you wished you had known from the beginning?
Lily Chong: “If you don’t build your own dreams, someone else will hire you to live theirs!”
Ogunte: Can you suggest a couple of women social entrepreneurs in your network, that the world should know about?
Amy Carter-James, co-owner and founder of Guludo; a ‘responsible tourism’ initiative which enables the local community to work their way out of poverty, while providing a luxury resort for tourism
Ruth Anslow, Co-Founder of hiSbe Food a new kind of independent supermarket built on ethical and transparent trading practices and sustainable sourcing policies.
Ogunte: How does your world look like in 2030?
Lily Chong: In 2030 I will be running my social business. It will be a time where all businesses whether they are start-ups, new or existing multinational corporations will be a social business, where we stop talking about “social” vs. “non-social” and encourage all everyone to focus on impact in every element of the business model as well as the whole for profits and social change. There will be a well informed public and conscious consumer population for social enterprises, where our choices for service or product will contribute to greater economic pressure in support of a meaningful social economy.
To attend the meetups, visit https://www.meetup.com/Social-Enterprise-Meetup