Making moves as a social entrepreneur

By Melissa Keogh

International social entrepreneur Suzi Sosa sees the world of business as a game of chess.

There are winners and there are losers.

But a true entrepreneur will always see one more move on the board.

“Too many people quit too early,” says the Texan, who is visiting Adelaide this month for Entrepreneurs Week.

“Don’t give up until no moves are left on the board. You must keep playing because unexpected things happen all the time.”

The ability to “desensitise yourself to failure” is another snippet of advice from the mother-of-two, who is founder and CEO of global corporation, Verb.

“In my life, the way that I have avoided big failures was when I had no other choice,” she says.

“You learn that you can step up and you have to keep going.”

Suzi is a Don Dunstan Foundation’s Thinker in Residence and is making various appearances at Entrepreneurs Week (July 3-7).

Suzi Sosa tells Entrepreneurs Week audiences about fellow Texan social entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie.

Suzi Sosa tells an Adelaide audience about fellow Texan social entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie.

Among her renowned achievements include running the world’s largest student social entrepreneurship competition – the Dell Social Innovation Challenge – at the University of Texas at Austin.

The challenge engaged more than 25,000 student social entrepreneurs from 100 countries.

Suzi says embracing social entrepreneurialism could hold the key to success in South Australia.

Social entrepreneurs launch enterprises with the aim of solving a community’s problems, rather than being driven solely by profits.

Renowned social enterprise TOMS is one of Suzi’s favorite examples.

TOMS was founded by fellow Texan entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie and is praised for its ‘one-for-one’ mantra.

For every pair of TOMS shoes sold, a new pair is given to a disadvantaged child in a developing nation.

Suzi says Adelaide is a promising ground for social entrepreneurs.

“It’s very clear that the entrepreneurial economy is very strong and growing,” she says.

But what can we do better?

Seeing the social economy as “an opportunity to create wealth and solve community issues” is one thing.

Snapping up opportunities as soon as they present is another.

“Be pioneers, this space is new,” Suzi says.

“Perhaps Adelaide can be the social entrepreneur capital of Australia and be on the front foot.”

Suzi is attending a number of Entrepreneurs Week events, including the IPAA 2017 Intrapreneurship Forum on July 6 and the Social Capital Conference 2017 on Friday, July 7.

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Entrepreneurs Week is a collaboration between Brand SA, the Adelaide Entrepreneurship Forum, Adelaide City Council, the State Government and other stakeholders, and is supported by News Corp Australia.