Today’s young entrepreneurs are renowned for their passion and commitment to changing things for the better through their businesses. And as socially responsible business leaders, their aim is to make an impact on some of the world’s biggest social challenges.
The most outstanding among them also get an opportunity to be recognized by the World Economic Forum and invited to join an exclusive global organization, Young Global Leaders (YGL), whose 800 members have access to a network of high profile people to help them further their endeavours to bring about change and operate as a force for good.
It is an eclectic community. Current and alumni YGLs head up governments and Fortune 500 companies, are the winners of Nobel Prizes and Academy Awards, and have become UN Goodwill Ambassadors, and social entrepreneurs.
This year the honour was extended to 100 of the most distinguished leaders under the age of 40 for their professional accomplishments, commitment to society, and potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world through their leadership.
Among the young social entrepreneurs in the YGL class of 2017 is Dan Berelowitz, CEO and founder of the International Centre for Social Franchising (ICSF). The not–for–profit organisation has created a framework to unpack and demystify the complex issue of scaling social impact, so that organisations delivering community-transforming work don’t have to spend precious time and resources trying to figure out the best way to grow.
He said: “As a youngster I was involved with a youth movement, developing their leadership, and had my first taste of what a difference you could make developing young people. After university I went into the commercial sector, making films, but realised it wasn’t for me. Once I’d experienced helping people create change I knew that’s where my future lay.”
Having founded ICSF five years ago, Berelowitz believes that YGL will be a catalyst for change in a number of ways. “Just six months in and we are looking for new board members and a new global chair,” he said. “And we are now connected to a network of high profile people, shaping decisions, who we would not formally have had access to.”
Most of his team have been recruited from Ivy League schools with MBAs who have taken significant pay cuts to join him; a trend that Berelowitz sees as significant terms of a positive shift in awareness moving forward. And he is optimistic for the future.
He said: “The world does seem to have turned inwards in the last year or so, and we just need to be outward facing, work with others, and be more collaborative. Every day I meet people who are striving to create social change in a different way, and many YGL members and alumni are leading the charge.”
Also new to the YGL community this year is Rebeca Minguela, founder and CEO of Clarity, a company that uses data science to address the problem of unequal capital allocation.
After completing her MBA at Harvard in 2010 she created a bespoke tool to help investors to maximise the social impact of their investments and enable consumers to see which companies are making a better impact on the world.
She said: “I was very proud and honoured to be selected; I was one of only 17 candidates from Europe, and the only one from Spain. Being part of this community is very important. In terms of helping investors to understand the social impact of their investments, there are other things I need to make my venture successful, for example, feedback to my methodology of measurement of social impact, and connections to valuable data providers. I believe that the YGL and WEF communities with their academic and technical expertise can actually help with that.”
So what does it take to join this exclusive global group? First of all, you need to be nominated and this year the YGL selection panel received more than 3,000 nominations from all over the world.
Pilar Santiago is a partner at Heidrick & Struggles, one of the world’s largest global search firms, which for the past ten years has partnered with the WEF to help identify and assess worthy candidates to be selected as YGL members.
Being closely involved with the selection process she must be able to identify the young entrepreneurs who have what it takes to create substantial change and who have the passion and drive, but also the leadership skills and capabilities to both contribute to the YGL network as well as making the most of it.
She says: “There are three things we look for; a proven track record of professional accomplishments, a breadth of expertise, and a commitment to society. Candidates must also be able to demonstrate an ability to overcome adversity. The mission for these people is to think about the strategy of the world in the next five or ten years, and importantly, to inspire others to make things better as well.”
This article was originally published at Forbes. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.