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Social Entrepreneurship

A student's perspective on why it's never too late to "go social"

“It is exciting to share ideas, learn how your experiences differ from others, have constructive arguments, and create something with the strength to endure because it is built on a diversity of thought.”

Name: Tristan Månsson-Perrone
Title: Master Student at KTH

Tell us about yourself, what do you do and what is your academic background?
I am a dual Swedish-American citizen, grew up in a small coastal town in northern California, and spent frequent summers in Sweden. I received a bachelor’s degree in Film & Television from CSU Monterey Bay and a minor in Journalism & Media through courses taken at Uppsala University. I have been working for NatureFootage, a wildlife video library, for the past eight years and am half-way through my master’s program at KTH in Media Management. I am passionate about sustainability and when I find free time it’s spent hiking, filming/photographing, and traveling.

What are your impressions from the course? And what are your major takeaways?
The SSES Social Entrepreneurship course was extremely helpful in putting the purpose of social ventures into perspective while understanding the dilemmas a social entrepreneur might face both emotionally and financially. Through engaging discussions, led by our instructor Hanna, guest lecturers, and guest social entrepreneurs, I was able to weigh the pros and cons of starting a venture focused on delivering social good. The course helped build my confidence that social good can and should be prioritized.

How will you use the knowledge and the experiences of the course in your future career?
Whether I work for someone else or start my own venture, this course helped build my confidence in recognizing opportunities for creating social good as well as knowing where to set boundaries between work and personal life. Even if a venture does not prioritize creating social good, it is never too late to pivot – especially considering the growing interest of employees to feel a higher sense of purpose in the work they do. Whether or not my future careers involve “saving the world” there are plenty of small things I can do to improve the lives of my customers, colleagues, suppliers, partners, etc.

Have you taken any previous courses/experiences at SSES? If so, which ones?
I have also taken the Execution course which was helpful in focusing on the core strategies for starting a new venture. I hope to take Ideation, Trendspotting and Future Thinking, and Growth during my second year. I have heard great things about the latter courses and would highly recommend the Execution and Social Entrepreneurship courses.

Do you value working in interdisciplinary groups? If so, why?
There is so much to be gained by collaborating with people who have different perspectives, interests and skill sets. It is exciting to share ideas, learn how your experiences differ from others, have constructive arguments, and create something with the strength to endure because it is built on a diversity of thought. Challenging your comfort zone, finding your own voice, and learning to compromise are vital to being an integral part of a team.

Would you recommend the course (and SSES) to a friend?
Absolutely! Though I might recommend they start with the Ideation course and move through the SSES program as it’s intended. It wasn’t until I took the Execution course that we had someone present to us the formal structure of the program, which was really helpful. I would make sure my friends knew about the structure as soon as they were accepted into their program (i.e. KTH) and before they signed up for their first courses.

You find yourself suddenly walking up on stage to your own TED-talk, without any preparation. What do you talk about?
I would likely talk about what’s been on my mind recently. Since the social venture we created in this course was focused on connecting local farmers with urban consumers, I might discuss the importance of rebuilding our global food systems with a focus on biodiversity. Knowing that I also enjoy being philosophical, I might also discuss broader topics like privilege, open-mindedness, and patience. My generation will be the next leaders and decision makers, and I hope we take a moment to contemplate that and move everyone in a direction which benefits both people and planet.

What’s one trend that you’re most excited about in the next five years?
It might be an overused word, and it better be more than just a trend, but Sustainability is the most important concept we need to see to fruition. Supply-chain transparency, global food sovereignty, fact focused journalism, biodiversity, wildlife corridors, universal healthcare, and access to education are just a few of the priorities which must be balanced and approached holistically. I’m not sure I could just pick one, since they all need to happen in unison.