Today we are facing some of the greatest challenges that we have ever faced, including climate change, uncontainable technological advancement, inequality, and more. It will be up to our generation to solve many of these problems and ensure that we do not lose control of them. Solving these problems often requires changemakers who are willing to prioritize their goals over financial gain, which is why social entrepreneurship plays and will continue to play a very important role in the coming years.
My partner organization, NextEnergy, is a great example of social entrepreneurship in Detroit. This non-profit works with cities and innovators to accelerate clean energy solutions. Tim, our supervisor, explained to us that being a non-profit does not really change the way the business operates. In conversations with NextEnergy leadership, I have found that making money is important for the organization, as the business cannot continue to sustain itself unless it is making a profit. However, the people at NextEnergy are concerned with profit as a means to pursue their mission, not for personal financial gain. The leaders and employees are focused on making clean energy more common and readily available so that a shift can be made away from forms of energy that cause health and environmental problems. This summer, Maggie and I will be working with NextEnergy to help organize an initiative to expand clean energy into smaller cities that are interested in implementing such technology but lack the resources to do so. With our work at NextEnergy, we hope we can contribute to the ambitious and important goals that the organization strives to achieve. Although we may only make a relatively minor contribution to a much greater mission, it may create a ripple that could cause a lasting effect.