Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Of The Entrepreneurs and The Runners

Part- I: Of The Entrepreneurs

"We were young, but we had good advice and good ideas and lots of enthusiasm."

And, in the end, that is what counts. Making a start, taking a shot at something, steeling yourself to take a course few do, and being willing enough to take the outcome. Such people become classified entrepreneurs, and, some of them even go on to make history. Like the man who gave us that first line, a certain Mr. Bill Gates.

Often, of B-schools we complain that the students are taught to become too structured, that while they teach leadership, they take away initiative, that B-schools produce functionaries, not businessmen. That the students come out unwilling to take risks and do something new, but willing to shape themselves to a format. Fortunately that is not always true. There are a slew of those who are willing to do something new, and here at XLRI, there are some who are willing not just to do something different, they are willing to do something different, with a difference. Yes we are talking social entrepreneurship. There are people who are willing to invest their time and money in ventures to benefit the society as a whole, and they have, as Mr. Gates points out above, some good ideas, some good advice and a lot of enthusiasm. And now, it is for us to support them.

So Ladies and Gentlemen, let the drum rolls sound, lift the curtains and let the spotlights be firmly fixed on The XLRI Social Entrepreneurship Trust. For sixty years now, XLRI has been producing managers with a social conscious, in accordance with its mission, and in keeping with those values, the trust was formed in 2008 with an aim to encourage and support “entrepreneurship with a social cause” among the XLRI students, alumni and community.
Besides training and incubation facilities for budding entrepreneurs, one of the key activities undertaken by the trust is to mobilize funds to support new social entrepreneurship ventures. Even now, the trust is currently funding three projects- Parichay, Swavalamban and Dream4Others- with contributions from the XLRI alumni of the batch of ’81 and from the XLRI Alumni Association (Jamshedpur Chapter).

Part-II: And of Those Who Run

There are as many reasons for running as there are days in the year, years in my life. But mostly I run because I am an animal and a child, an artist and a saint. So, too, are you. Find your own play, your own self-renewing compulsion, and you will become the person you are meant to be. -George Sheehan

The act of running has many times been compared to, even equated to setting your soul free. Like Steve Prefontaine said, he did not run to see who was the fasted, but to see who had the most guts. You ask runners why they run, and much like Sheehan above, they will often reply that they run to find out who they are. Much like entrepreneurs, people who are willing to chase their dreams. And so, it is fitting that XLRI is running for a mission that supports entrepreneurship. The XL Dream Run, organized by CII Young Indians-XLRI Chapter, XLANC, The XLRI Alumni Association and Sportscomm, is scheduled for November 16th, 2008, to coincide with the alumni homecoming, nearly 250 XLers, both students and faculty, have already registered for the run to support a cause they hold dear to their hearts. It is a four kilometer run, to spread awareness about the cause of the XLRI Social Entrepreneurship Trust.

Thomas Crown advises us about fundraisers- “I just go up to the stage, wave my hands vaguely and cry-“help! help!!”. The Dream Run is doing rather more than that. It is 250 XLers giving all they have across a four mile stretch to drag your attention to a cause that needs espousing. And we sincerely hope that you are going to come through and do the best you can. Donations to the trust are welcome, from all XLers and non-XLers; we are sure you all understand the gravity of the cause and its worthiness. You can contribute online directly to the trust account, send in cheques or even donate via PayPal. In return, we can probably offer you nothing but the satisfaction of having contributed to something you believe in, and the pride of having your name displayed on the website in the list of donors. And of course, the gratitude of the budding entrepreneurs whose ventures your money will be used to fund, and those people who will be benefited by these ventures.

A runner runs against himself, against the best that's in him. […] That's the way to be great, running against yourself. Against all the rotten mess in the world. Against God, if you’re good enough. -Bill Persons

P.S. Kim appeals for the DreamRun here, while Gautam Ghosh writes about it here.
I write more about jogging@XL here, here and here.