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What do 115 students from 29 countries have in common?

If your answer was ‘they are all students’ then please go to the back of the class 😂.

But seriously, today, we are very excited to announce that we have selected the latest cohort of 115 college students to join the 4th annual Fishbowl Challenge!

Representing over 25 countries around the world, our future challengers represent a diverse range of fields including, e-commerce, fashion design, medical rehabilitation, veterinary medicine, astrophysics, physiotherapy, business management, marketing, agroindustrial engineering, human nutrition, artificial intelligence, product development, education, law and many more.

But despite their varied and colourful backgrounds, they are all driven by a willingness to think globally, take initiative to challenge themselves and contribute to making the world a better place. And for many of them, this competition will be their first taste of social entrepreneurship. Defined as the act of crafting innovative approaches or launching a business to address critical social needs, social entrepreneurship is becoming increasingly popular, especially as more problems threaten our world today. But even as this field grows, not everyone makes it or succeeds.

So what makes a social entrepreneur - and in our case, what do our next cohort of Fishbowl Challengers have in common?

#01: Social entrepreneurs are bold risk takers
“Often, in the real world, it’s not the smart that get ahead but the bold.” - Robert Kiyosaki

When we selected this year’s cohort of Challengers, we didn’t just look at their degrees. More importantly, we wanted to see if they could think differently. If they were willing to step outside the line and see what new ideas and solutions they could come up with to the challenges that everyone around them was facing.

The ability to be bold and take risks is a key ingredient for success in entrepreneurship. Half the time, you will be presenting ideas that people have never heard of or tackling challenges that everyone is avoiding. To survive or succeed, you need to be bold and willing to take a risk even when it may lead to failure.

#02: Social entrepreneurs are problem-solvers

The biggest difference between entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs is perhaps what guides their ideas. Social entrepreneurs are interested in ideas that dive into the root cause of wicked problems affecting society. Their bottom line is not profit, but rather how many lives they have impacted.

Our Challengers are not just looking to invent the latest technology. They are asking themselves questions such as how can I reduce food wastage in rural communities or how can I help facilitate maternal education to reduce child mortality?

#03: Social entrepreneurs are creative

During their six-month program, Fishbowl Challengers are expected to build ventures addressing problems in one of 5 critical areas: agriculture, healthcare, economic empowerment, renewable energy and education technology. These are not new problem areas. But today more than ever, they need new solutions.

That’s where social entrepreneurs thrive. They think outside the box and continuously challenge themselves to think about what would happen if X was combined with P. Where they don’t have an answer, they are not afraid to ask and learn from others. In fact, in whatever they do, they adopt a beginner’s mindset first before utilizing their creativity.

#04: Social entrepreneurs believe in collaboration

There is an African proverb that says “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together”. For most social entrepreneurs, building ventures is not just about coming up with something cool— it's about triggering transformation. This can almost feel impossible when done alone. But one thing we truly believe accelerates transformation is collaboration. When Challengers work together, they are not just exposed to new perspectives or ideas, but more importantly, they are able to build momentum in their area of focus.

These four characteristics are a glimpse of some of the ingredients that make up impactful social entrepreneurs and some of the key traits you can find in our newest cohort of Fishbowl Challengers. Over the next couple of months, we will be walking alongside them and spotlighting their dreams, ideas and game-changing solutions. Stay tuned to discover more about this unique group of young people who are not afraid to challenge the status quo, one bold idea at a time.

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