How to Make Social Change Your Business

The Evening Standard (London, England), October 9, 2007 | Go to article overview

How to Make Social Change Your Business


Byline: SARAH RICHARDSON

TOM SAVAGE always wanted to be an entrepreneur. As a child, he was morelikely to be found browsing the pages of the Financial Times than the Beano,and at the age of 14 started trading on the stock market.

However, he quickly realised that using money to make more money did notmotivate him, and that he was more interested in the opportunities that moneycreates to affect positive change in the world.

While an undergraduate at Edinburgh University, Tom started a studententrepreneurs' society and helped a group of fellow students to raise [pounds sterling]25,000for an expedition to Zanzibar.

Their project, to chart and conserve previously unexplored coral reefs in theWestern Indian Ocean, formed the basis for Savage's first social enterprise,Blue Ventures, which he founded with fellow student Alasdair Harris.

Tom developed Blue Ventures while studying on the MSc in Management Researchprogramme at Oxford University's Said Business School.

"I remember lots of phone calls from the library and a lot of work afterhours," he says. "People on my course remember me as being on the phone most ofthe time." Tom, 27, is a rising star of the growing social entrepreneurshipmovement.

According to Government figures, around 55,000 firms in the UK definethemselves as social enterprises, generating a combined turnover of around [pounds sterling]27billion a year. They are notfor-profit companies that achieve public good andwhose surpluses are ploughed back for that purpose into the business or thecommunity, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profits forshareholders and owners.

Tom defines a social enterprise simply as "using business methods to helppromote social change". …

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