“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”

    [Photo Credit: Mark Tantrum]

    Two days. 3 key notes, 12 young innovators, and more social entrepreneurs than I knew even existed in New Zealand. And, most of them were under 30 years old.

    You can imagine how excited I was about Festival for the Future. Having focused on creating a “for benefit” business model for PledgeMe in my masters thesis, scoring this conference in Wellington was like getting Christmas a month early. Being invited to speak was that humbling realisation that what we’re doing in the PledgeMe office is actually making a difference.

    Want to see what I had to say on the day about PledgeMe, crowdfunding, and general thoughts for social entrepreneurs? Check out this video, about 16:45min in:

    Festival for the Future was inspiration overload. It revitalised me, and got me excited about the places we are going. Here were my personal highlights:

    • “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” Sasha McMeeking, Ministry of Awesome
    • “Change happens faster with collaboration” Guy Ryan, Inspiring Stories Trust
    • “We need to remain connected to our land, who we are, and our communities. Start with a focus” Shay Wright, Icehouse
    • “Make friends with reporters” and “watch Brown Brother” Andrew Patterson, RadioLive
    • Everything that Malcolm Cameron, Senior Citizen of the Year, said was gold, including – trust your guts; deliver; value the opinions of people; surround yourself with expectations; encourage and support everyone that wants to make a difference; be non judgemental; send a thank you card out a day; be empathetic; “When a child sees a tree they think climb, when an adult sees a tree they think fall” (anon); be courageous; don’t be afraid to fail; think on your feet; no is a question; opportunities not problems; just believe; young people and communities have the answers they need; always share the credit; don’t be a workaholic; being busy is a great avoidance strategy;
    • “Be kind” Alex Hannant, Hikurangi Foundation
    • Youth are our greatest renewable resource” Shruthi Vijayakumar from P3 Foundation
    • Enjoy the Malaga, the journey, as it can be more important than the outcomes” Grace Taylor, Action Education
    • Wish I had always been taught that the world is far more malleable than we realise; BE the agency of change” Will Watterson, GPP
    • Youth are able to come up with innovative solutions, but you need intergenerational learning to really “be unreasonable”.

    Many of the sentiments voiced at Festival for the Future align with the ethos of crowdfunding – things aren’t working so we need solutions, technology can help but it shouldn’t replace community, authenticity is important, and communication is key. What’s next? Moving from introspection to collaboration – thinking to doing.

    We also had two bits of great news on Saturday (almost simultaneously). One, we hit 150 projects funded and two, we were in the Herald. Did we celebrate? Of course.

    I’ll leave you with one of my favourite quotes (did you see it in the presentation?):

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