by Ishani Chattopadhyay, Head of Programs at TDi (2016)

Over the past 15 years I have been an entrepreneur and worked closely in the operations of several social and environmental enterprises. I am attuned to the philosophy of “make what you have work”, as well as the strong intent with which an entrepreneur will set up their enterprise.\r\n\r\nMy personal journey has led me to realise that while the path of entrepreneurship is joyful, it is also tough. Without support along the way, it can be a very lonely road ahead. In fact, in research I conducted interviewing over 100 social enterprises, I discovered that having trusted people around them was identified as the number one necessity. People to talk to and sound board with was crucial as well, but … money was number 3!!\r\n\r\nIt goes to show that when you are trying to design and build a business that might potentially impact the world, working in a silo is a little counter-intuitive if not completely counter-productive. It’s imperative that you talk to others, whether that is other entrepreneurs or subject matter experts, to help fine tune and add rigor to your method of creation. It’s even more imperative that at this early stage of setting up a business, you seek out those that ask you the hard questions. This will help you think through them and make the necessary iterations to your model.

My personal journey has led me to realise that while the path of entrepreneurship is joyful, it is also tough.

— Ishani Chattopadhyay

As I have followed the journey of several social and/or environmental entrepreneurs, I have noticed the successful ones are curious. They constantly challenge themselves and their beliefs, learn and iterate. A wise person once told me that a belief is a thought you think many times over- and over time it becomes your belief. Entrepreneurs who have created a constant curiosity to learn and imbibe are “teachable”. It’s the opposite of developing an entrepreneurial ego and getting stuck in one’s own belief system.\r\n\r\nIf your business idea has the ability to change the world, wouldn’t you want to do all that you can to make it the best it can be? Of course! So seek out people willingly and regularly to have those tough conversations. Apply rigor to your business model, so it can create the impact that you want it to create in the long term. Creating businesses that impact the world isn’t a small feat by any means, so equip yourself, invest in the right partners and get comfortable with the discomfort of creation!

Spots are now open for our 2017 Two Feet program. Please email Ishani for more information at ishani@tdi.org.au