By Georgia Horton
The world today is facing unprecedented global challenges. Issues like poverty, climate change, and gender inequality, to name a few, are pervasive and pose a threat to the present and future success of the world. While these challenges appear daunting and unsolvable, some individuals are fueled by the circumstances and inspired to make a difference.
These special individuals are known as social entrepreneurs — people that utilize the power of business to leverage social change. While this potential is exciting, it is easier said than done. Without proper guidance, these individuals can sometimes fail due to a variety of reasons, including outdated organizational systems that perpetuate the problems that social entrepreneurs are trying to solve.
This issue was recognized, and Tendrel was born. Named after the Tibetan phrase “interdependent nature of all phenomena,” the organization supports social enterprises as they embark on projects to fix pressing global challenges and shape a brighter future for generations to come.
Tendrel recognizes that not only are the issues that social entrepreneurs are working to solve challenging, but so are the obstacles that they face along the way. Personal, professional, and systemic roadblocks are all areas that inhibit good intention toward creating tangible change. This is where Tendrel offers forums, network connections, webinars, and chapter events to share information and advice on a global scale to facilitate large-scale social change. The organization stresses the need for their four core values to be on the minds of their social entrepreneurs:
Interdependence – Tendrel recognizes that only through combined group effort and the sharing of knowledge will social entrepreneurs collectively be able to solve major global issues.
Courageous Leadership – It takes leadership and bravery to tackle these global challenges. Tendrel has organized support groups to tell social entrepreneurs that their challenges and goals are not too large, and that change is possible.
Growth – In order for change to take place, companies and social entrepreneurs must adapt and grow within and around the changing, global context.
Empathy & Authenticity – For commitments to last and partnerships to endure, the individuals committed to addressing major social issues need to be honest with themselves and those working with them. Their work is hard, and it is easy to ignore the truth that our nation and future is in danger. However, by holding onto the values of empathy, social entrepreneurs can maintain a clear focus and drive for their mission.
Trendel has received incredible support and encouragement from leaders across many social enterprises and organizations. Willy Foote, the Founder and CEO of Root Capital, acclaimed Tendrel for “provid[ing] a space for members to discuss the tension between business model constraints and social needs, impacting board composition, team, and competing theories of change.” Foote went on to say that “this is what the world needs right now.”
Examples of social entrepreneurs that engage with Tendrel’s unique offerings include Ashoka, B Corp, Ideo.org, and Skoll Foundation. These connections are propelling Tendrel forward, and galvanizing greater change in the development sector.
The organization is growing, and presently has offices in five continents. It has conducted forums in over thirty different countries, stressing the global need for spaces that facilitate conversation, creativity, and change for the better.