Scraper bikes, social enterprise, money and mission

Had the opportunity to once again this year to participate in the Social Enterprise Summit, where I facilitated the pre-conference workshop on Getting Started in Social Enterprise. This is always very fun for two reasons:

  • People come to it with such amazing ideas and enthusiasm for community and social change.
  • After presenting the first day, I’m free to enjoy the conference without worrying about handouts, audio-visual, etc.

This year, with over 700 participants from across the world, there were lots of great conversations and sessions. One of the most interesting was a session featuring Tyrone, the young inventor of “scraper bikes.” Business planners, social venture capitalists, social entrepreneurs and social enterprise consultants viewed this video on scraper bikes, and then were invited to give Tyrone advice on how he could monetize his idea and “take it to scale”—the mantra of the conference.

The ideas were interesting: licensing the name and generating royalties; developing kits; franchising. Fabricate and get paid thousands for the high-end bikes, and manufacture kits for those who want to do their own. Monetize the over 2 million views his video has on YouTube.

With so many sessions, what made this one standout? It was the 21-year old’s response to the ideas being generated. Emotional. Appreciative. And honest. Asked about his goal, Tyrone said:

“What I really want to do is start a nonprofit to teach kids how to build scraper bikes and help them do something positive.”

A great reminder that, in the discussions about money and mission, it’s mission that makes something a social enterprise.

For more about this amazing young social entrepreneur, check out his blog and click on the film that is going to debut at the Cannes Film Festival.

Janine Vanderburg

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