There is a 200% chance that you will hear Ganesh Muren's booming and infectious laugh long before you see him in person.
However, what is most memorable about this young intellectual is that beyond his sunny disposition, it is what he’s so bent on doing these days, after a ‘soul-shaking’ encounter with a girl who was suffering from diarrhoea.
This lost opportunity to make a difference in her and her family’s life led him to this realisation: “That I have the basic knowledge and education to make a big difference in the life of others and start changing lives,” said Ganesh.
Following that, nothing could stop the Ganesh Muren train. With a noble goal in one hand and a thriving business in the other, this people's person has been invited to speak on various international stages about social entrepreneurship, and it is a true honour to have him as part of our Generation T's judging panel - the Tatler Tribe - this year.
READ ALSO: How Ganesh Muren is bringing light to rural Sarawak
Stories of social entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurs themselves are making headway in the world today. Anyone out there with a business that helps society, in essence, is a social entrepreneur and ultimately, practising ethical business strategies that maximises both positive impact and revenue of an organisation is social entrepreneurship.
How does one truly get into it, though? Like Ganesh said, there is no special recipe nor are there any shortcuts, but he managed to break it down for us:
1. Have a heart
“Having sympathy, empathy, understanding and wanting the best for others is not something heroic. I realised that it starts with me, having a heart, before I can make changes in this world. Being more human will cost us nothing, but it goes a long way in guiding our actions as social entrepreneurs and fundamentally as humans.”
2. Be passionate
“I have many interests, but they are like the tide. They come and go, in phases, when I have the time or mood. But if it is using green technology and using it to help people, I can go for days just reading, talking and working on it. I will not get bored. I will make time for it. It will be a priority. I will do everything I can to make things happen.”
3. Have integrity
“I’m very lucky to have really good and kind mentors. I learned that integrity keeps you disciplined, honest and safe. It is integrity that defines your relationship with the team, business partners and beneficiaries. In these reciprocal relationships, we make ourselves responsible to be accountable, trustworthy and reliable in providing the specific products and services needed by our stakeholders. It is a tough decision at times, but believe me, stick with integrity.”
4. Remember that it is a business.
“Causes aside, it all boils down to money to deploy resources, sustain projects and community development initiatives, and secure talents, skills and vital services. Having that mindset will force us to look into how we operate professionally with a competitive edge and efficient use of resources. Donations and sponsorships help, but being a social entrepreneur means making a change through your business. It’s different.”
“Going into a business is never easy. Being an entrepreneur is even more difficult. There are times when I felt like giving up, leaving it all and doing something much easier. But I remind myself, time and time again of the possibility of things becoming better, and that it’ll all be a waste if I quit now.”
Ganesh also reminds anyone who’s planning to get into social entrepreneurship to never forget personal values and the true purpose of delving into it in the first place.
As he so very eloquently puts it, “What happens when the spotlight shifts its focus, when the cause you’re fighting for is no longer ‘sexy,’ and when you’re not all that anymore?”
He shares the answer with one of his favourite quotes by John Wooden; ‘The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.’
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