I don't give a....care about all that sort of stuff.
What sort of stuff?
Oh you know, all that mumbo-jumbo about social conscience, social responsibility. Not my cup of tea.
Hmmm, o.k., that's fair enough... I hear the new budget is being released...a rise in tax on cigarettes.
That's great. Them things cost the health service a fortune, bad for you. Should be banned.
Yes. And the Christmas market is starting this weekend. There's going to be a charity collection for Cancer Care West.
Ya, I always give a few quid to the charity bucket. Great cause.
Oh, the annual Christmas swim has been cancelled.
Ya, pollution on the beach, the sand is covered in oil slick.
Well, someone should probably organise a clean up for that. It would be awful to miss that big event.
Social Conscience Definition: a sense of responsibility or concern for the problems and injustices of society.
Everyone has a sense of the society that we live in. It is impossible to have no social awareness because we, as human beings, are group orientated. So when I tried to explain social conscience to the collection of T.Y. students I used examples such as giving to charity, being aware of environmental concerns, have a global awareness of what is happening in other parts of the world, being aware that crime is wrong, that smoking kills, that drink driving affects people's lives.
This is all social awareness and if you have opinions on any of these issues you have a social conscience.
Throughout these last few months I have been working with a group of T.Y. student's from Sancta Maria College, Louisburgh on a social enterprise project.
Social Enterprise...where business and social conscience meet. We explored the two concepts in isolation and then looked at what happens when social conscience and enterprise mix together.
The students decided on a business model and a product, they sourced a supplier, they negotiated a price and they put together order and delivery processes. They also pitched, marketed and haggled with interested parties, showcasing the brilliance of their business.
Their orders will be fulfilled by Christmas and they are in the process of deciding on a expansion. Their business model is a resounding success.
The crux of this project though, was the social conscience...the students decided that a percentage of their profits should go to a need in the community. They are going to be working with and supporting a local charity.
Congratulations Mia, Aoibhinn and Alanna, you are now successful social entrepreneurs, with a viable business. They give us some insight into their project.
How did the term of social enterprise and business fair out for you?
John Cannon, 'I thought the choice of colours and the market research for the business product was really well done. The sales aspect might be hard because you are trying to sell to your friends.'
Mia Warde, 'I learned some great skills such as the confidence to stand up and speak in front of people, as well as trying to sell. I found it mostly enjoyable but at times stressful. I think I learned that if you have a good idea, don't be afraid to say, to talk about it. To push for it.'
Aoibhinn Needham, 'I think I learned a lot about I.T. and the skills that you need for order forms and working with the finances of setting up a business. I could see how to work an idea, to work the challenges. When there is a problem there is always a way round, a loophole.'
Alanna O'Keeffe 'I got a lot of life skills, I loved creating something, something unique, that is totally yours. It was hard to keep everyone happy. Taking on board people's opinions. In the end I realised that you can't keep everyone happy. The fine line of customer research. In the end, you just have to go for it. Believe in your idea.'
It was amazing working with these young people.
Their commitment to the project and their enthusiasm were akin to the highest C.E.O. It is quite something to realise that within the group we could have the very next Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or Arianna Huffington.
Thanks to their teachers Mr. Flynn and Ms. Courtney for all their help. Best of luck to the budding social entrepreneurs. I'll be watching the Financial Times in the future for the Top 30 Under 30. I'm confident you will all make the list.