My journey as a social entrepreneur: Founding before, during & after Kellogg
Written by Lauren Biegler ’23 MBA, Two-Year MBA Program
Biegler is one of the founders for the fundraising and marketing engine for nonprofits called Zeestr. The platform uses generative AI and predictive analytics to teach nonprofits how to become more effective marketers and sophisticated fundraisers.
Before I attended Kellogg, one of the greatest challenges I encountered as a founder was the lack of accessible mentors and guidance in a supportive environment. I often found myself relying solely on cold outreach and existing networks to make progress without having someone who truly believed in my vision and advocated for me and my success. However, everything changed when I came to Kellogg.
The post-Kellogg experience introduced me to a network of mentors and advisors who not only believed in my entrepreneurial vision but also provided invaluable guidance and support. Having access to VC investors, industry experts and social impact professors has been transformative for my entrepreneurial journey. Their guidance has enabled me to refine my strategies and navigate the business landscape with confidence. Additionally, the emphasis on professionalism in presentations and pitching at Kellogg has equipped me to compete effectively with VC-backed entrepreneurs.
Being a social entrepreneur is both a challenge and an opportunity. I firmly believe that social entrepreneurship is driven by a deep desire to create positive change and improve the lives of others. It comes from the heart, and that intrinsic motivation is what sets it apart. However, it also presents unique challenges. Balancing ethical considerations and prioritizing impact over immediate financial gains can sometimes clash with the traditional business mindset. Staying true to my values and principles while navigating the pressures of profitability has required unwavering commitment and perseverance. But the support of customers and like-minded peers who believe in the cause has been a source of strength and inspiration to keep going.
Purpose is at the core of every successful entrepreneurial journey. It is the driving force that propels us forward during the tough and often lonely days of building a venture. For social entrepreneurs, aligning purpose with work is even more critical. The burning desire to create a positive impact and contribute to the greater good fuels our perseverance in the face of adversity. It is what keeps us focused and dedicated, even when more lucrative opportunities may arise in other sectors. Choosing a path that aligns with our values and provides a deep sense of purpose brings true fulfillment and long-term satisfaction.
My journey as a social entrepreneur has been a testament to the power of purpose, mentorship, and education. Access to mentors, guidance, and a supportive community can make a significant difference in overcoming challenges and navigating the entrepreneurial landscape. Remaining true to one's purpose and values is crucial, as it provides the resilience needed to overcome obstacles and make a lasting impact. By combining passion, purpose and the knowledge gained through educational programs like the ones at Kellogg, social entrepreneurs can thrive and create positive change in the world.
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