Urges to get involved with social business
Organized for the seventh time by students of ISM University of Management and Economics, the international social business case competition "Creative Shock" once again invites students from various countries to come to Vilnius and to compete in a four-day finale, where they will solve problems of real-life social businesses, according to a press release by ISM University of Management and Economics.
The initiative was started back in 2011 and attracted 178 young people from Lithuania. This year, there were 1224 participants from 102 countries of Europe, Asia, Africa, South and North America. "Creative Shock" traditionally attracts students from the best universities of the world – last year, the winners of the contest were MBA students from the university of Oxford.
According to the organizers, the main purpose of "Creative Shock" is to spread the idea of social business and to reach broad audiences of people from all over the globe. Partnering with real social enterprises, the organizers create authentic business situations for the contest participants who then share their solutions with the same companies. Thus, the project not only helps students gain valuable practical skills, but also creates enduring value for both the participants and their social business partners.
During the second preliminary round, the participants created effective and low-cost marketing strategies for Lithuanian social businesses, such as "Share the Light", "Baby's Nest", "Friend's Jam" and for the American enterprise "Conscious Step". Besides that, this year the project is partnering with the famous world-wide social business company "TOMS Shoes".
Every year, the idea of "Creative Shock" spreads further and further. Inspired by previous year's competition and excited to find out more about social business itself, contest participant Nihar Lohiya initiated a similar project in India. Created by the example of its Lithuanian predecessor, "Strategy Storm" was also established to enlighten young people about the benefits of the sustainable business model.
This year, the TOP 10 teams from European and Asian countries will participate in "Creative Shock" finals from November 30th to December 3rd. There they will compete for the main prize: round-trip tickets from Turkish Airlines and a cash prize of €2000.
Invites to join
The organizers did not forget the general public outside the competition – during the final weekend, they will hold an international social business conference, which will take place on December 2nd at ISM University of Management and Economics. The event is free and open to everyone. Following this year's topic "Beyond the Idea", speakers from Hong Kong, United Kingdom and Switzerland will invite the attendees to take a practical look on idea implementation: how to take the first step, what challenges to expect and how to find a way to solve them.
Born in Hong Kong, but currently residing in the United Kingdom, Bonnie Chiu will begin the conference by speaking about the establishment and development of an international social enterprise. Involved in social activities since early youth, Bonnie has founded "Lensational" – a social business that equips marginalized women with photography and digital skills, which helps them to re-discover their self worth, tell their story on a global level and gain some additional earnings.
The event will be continued by Josh Turner, the founder of social business "Stand4socks". By buying colorful and cheerful socks from the company, people can choose a social problem they want to solve. Josh then gives the profit to various charities, which are selected according to the Global Goals list of United Nations. At the event, Josh will discuss the future of business and how the social business model is a key element of that future.
The other two speakers will dig deeper into the managing side of social business. Born in Chile but now living in Switzerland, co-founder of "beyondBeane" Hector Alvarez will speak about motivation and how to maintain it in the face of a challenge. The last speaker, Ruth Jenkins, will reveal some useful advice on how to create a strong social business brand.
A simple explanation of the concept
The host and discussion moderator of the social business conference, Jurgis Didžiulis, stresses the inevitable changes that await traditional business models. Involved in various social initiatives, he has acquainted himself with the social business model and claims that Lithuania needs more examples of these kinds of companies. Only then people will start seeing business not as a self-serving tool, but as an opportunity to transform society:
"A lot of people who seek social change look at business skeptically. However, it is skills, knowledge and experience of entrepreneurship that truly enables people to create a real impact," – says the artist.
Jurgis Didžiulis has an easily-understandable explanation of the social business model. According to him, business people know how to use their circumstances to gain profit. On the other hand, a society-oriented person sees the problems around him and seeks to solve them for the greater good. Finally, a social entrepreneur is the best of the two: he combines profit-seeking and altruism in order to achieve the best result and create the biggest impact.
"Creative Shock" is an international social business case competition, for creative, ambitious and socially responsible people. Its main purpose is to spread the idea of social business. Also, during the final weekend, a free and open-to-public social business conference will take place. For numerous times, the project was nominated as the best entrepreneurship inducing student event in Lithuania. In 2016, "Creative Shock" was awarded "Event of the year" in awards organized by "Delfi" and Lithuania's Students' Association. The project is organized by ISM Student Association together with ISM University of Management and Economics.
More information can be found at: www.creativeshock.lt