Money makes the world go round?

While I was reading Maria’s essay, I remembered a book I read recently – Richard Branson’s “Screw it, Let’s Do it: Lessons in Life “. I noted down to take it to the office, so I could give it to Maria when she comes. Then I remembered that I had planned to find out more about Branson’s “Virgin Unite” initiative, so I nibbled at some of its website’s pages to get a feel of it. There’s so much there, so I’d better give you a rough idea and let you explore for yourselves.

Some of you dream of entering the world of business – either as hired managers or as entrepreneurs, starting their own small business or building a business empire.  Others dream of making the world a better place. All of you have been brought up in a culture which does not see how these two could be related. I do believe they are: we live in a money-driven world which needs improvement.

Just as Archimedes, who believed he could move the Earth with his lever if he had a place to stand on, some peple believe that if they had the money, they would improve the world. Well, money can be raised through charity activities, but it is known to be naturally generated by business.

Moreover, saving the world needs not only material resources but also some intangible assets, born and develped in human minds. Anyone can spend money with good intentions, but making money work takes an entrepreneur – someone who is brave not only to dream but also to see opportunities where others could see only problems, someone who knows how to manage people and resources to get things done. Social and environmental problems might be (to some extent) publicized by people flaunting their strong feelings and artistic angst. However, they are solved by humble, hard-working, smart, knowledgeable people who have the vision, the strategy and the skills.

What does all this have to do with Sir Richard Branson and his company Virgin Group? That’s their belief that “Business has the capacity to improve the human condition. We believe the same visionary thinking and problem-solving skills that make entrepreneurs successful can be channeled into solving the world’s social and environmental crises.” That is why they have created the non-profit “Virgin Unite”, which raises money and helps support numerous projects. I recommend exploring their website to see  social entrepreneurship in action. If you are a business oriented person, it could inspire you not only to make money but also to do good. If you are a non-business oriented person, it could help you overcome your uneasiness about making money. You might even decide to join in.

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