Interview: Jonathan Chang, Executive Director of the Lien Centre for Social Innovation

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Thirty-five-year–old Jonathan Chang is the Singapore-based founder of four Silicon Valley social enterprises. He has two degrees from Harvard and has taught social enterprise in Rwanda to genocide survivors. Here he explains why society should look at social entrepreneurship as a business, not a charity.

What first inspired you to become a social entrepreneur?
In 2010 I went to Rwanda to teach entrepreneurship to genocide survivors. I taught them how to create a business plan and set up a company. I remember one particular student, Patruci. She noticed companies who were dumping chemical waste around her neighbourhood and she developed a business plan for a waste-recycling plant.

What surprised me about her was that she didn’t think about it from a purely financial perspective. She took it a step further and said she would like to create jobs for young people in her neighbourhood because unemployment was high. She also said that she wanted to use this business to heal the wounds of the civil war in 1992.

Source: Billionaire (link opens in a new window)

Base of the Pyramid, social enterprise