My journey to find a Entrepreneur Mindset
Kirjoittanut: Seungyeon Shin - tiimistä SYNTRE.
It has been nearly 8 months since I arrived in Tampere and started study. Looking back on the first fall semester in Proakatemia, I was mostly confused but surely there were several enlightening moments that I felt I was in the right place at right time of my life journey. Being asked fundamental questions from the meaning of trust to my deepest values was eye-opening. It made me able to keep knocking to my heart and concentrate on myself as learning about what is important to me and what am I afraid of. Sense of belonging to my team and the whole Proakatemia was getting deeper. However, as the second semester started, we started building our own enterprise which required a lot of work such as opening a corporate bank account, understanding legal documents, and deciding company rules. To be frank with you, these first two months of spring semester was a crisis for me. A lot of self-doubts were happening in my head. “Do I want to be an entrepreneur? Do I want to start a business? Do I even have an entrepreneurial mindset?”. Such questions were popping up every day and I couldn’t find my position in our team.
Getting doubts off my chest to Sille helped me to find the answer. She said visiting young sustainable startups in Tampere, learning their journey, and making a positive in our team by bringing that knowledge can be also entrepreneurship. Truth is I didn’t know that there are various kinds of entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurship is one of them. A social entrepreneurs seek opportunities to innovate and create positive impacts in a society through their initiatives. In other words, they are problem-solvers who add value to people’s lives and make a difference in the world (Hayes 2021). When I was making Haku video for Proakatemia application, I made a clear statement that I believe entrepreneurship is the greatest way to change the world and I want to tackle existing problems such as climate crisis and gender inequality through entrepreneurship. Although I was brave enough to say it loud, I didn’t contemplate what and how. Subsequently, the next question stared in spring semester, “How”. Nina de Korte, Amsterdam based sustainable entrepreneur, said changing the world to a better place might sound overwhelming, considering that humankind is facing unprecedented issues, but it can start from my community and my city. Making a positive impact starts from identifying social problems and focusing on specific goals, which will eventually boost for people to take an actual step.
So, instead of asking to myself whether I have an entrepreneurial mindset or not, I’d rather ask “what kind of learning goals I should set for myself and what are the first steps”. From my understanding, entrepreneurial mindset isn’t something special or big. It starts from finding one’s own interest and keep trying things out even if it is not easy and you might not get the result you wanted at once. When it comes to a project, one of my goals was to integrate sustainability into my projects. At this point, my learning goals became clear that I wanted to learn how the sustainable production works and its process in Finland. My goal is to bring awareness about current ocean pollution that discarded fishing gear is the biggest polluter in ocean, not plastic straws. Watching Seaspiracy, a 2021 documentary film about the environmental impact of fishing directed by and starring Ali Tabrizi, was a big inspiration for me to realize how fishing industry is affecting to oceans.
My first step was to find out the importance of keeping our ocean alive and what is really happening in there. We understand leaving trees or planting trees really helps the carbon equation, but nothing matters more than maintaining the integrity of ocean systems (Earle 2021). Did you know that one of biggest carbon sink is the ocean, as equally important as vegetation? Oceans, and all marine life that lives under and above the water, play a central role in absorbing global emissions and stabilizing the Earth’s climate. They provide a vital source of food to a vast number of land and water species and regulate the amount of CO2 that stays in the atmosphere by absorbing 30 per cent of global emissions (Barathieu 2018). For example, the world’s largest animal, whales help reducing climate change, because they excrete enormous amounts of nutrients that help phytoplankton grow. And phytoplankton have a huge influence on the planet, capturing about 40 percent of all CO2 produced which is four times more than the amount of Amazon rainforest captures (Yeo 2021).
However, our oceans are suffering. We might have seen a lot of campaigns or public advertisements about the oceans full of floating plastic wastes, keep telling us to reduce our plastic consumption. Surprisingly, the biggest ocean polluter isn’t plastic bags or straws but discarded ghost nets from fishing. According to the study published in March 2018 in Scientific Reports, approximately 46% of the 79 thousand tons of ocean plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is made up of fishing nets (Lebreton, L., Slat, B., Ferrari, F. et al. 2018). Ghost nets have been putting countless marine animals in death, but real problem is fishing industry since our oceans are getting emptier and emptier from overfishing. In specific, marine scientist Callum Roberts said:” A typical fishing boat was able to catch one or two tons fishes every day 190 years ago, whereas today the entire fishing fleet catches the same amount across the year.” Overfishing is ruining the entire ecological pyramid of the ocean, and nothing matters more than maintain the integrity of ocean systems to stop climate change (Earle 2021).
What will I do next to contribute to solve problems that our ocean has faced and how will do? I am on my learning journey with my teammates, trying to innovate solutions together. It won’t be easy, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t even try. As Sille was there for me, this time I have other my teammates who I can go this journey with. Here in Proakatemia where it is a safe place to trying out new things with the whole community’s support, this project will be a first actual step to implement improvements in society.
-Hayes 04.21 social entrepreneur. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/social-entrepreneur.asp
-Coffee and Q&A Nina de Korte: Bootstrapping and mission-driven life. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geubjQLsnJ0
– Lebreton, L., Slat, B., Ferrari, F. et al. Evidence that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is rapidly accumulating plastic. Sci Rep 8, 4666 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-22939-w
-Sylvia Earle. Seaspiracy(2021). https://www.netflix.com/watch/81014008?trackId=14170287&tctx=1%2C6%2Cb8c2ca58-c855-4287-8cb3-9f5dc12c5f49-52118088%2Cdfd6c796-d98c-4c72-84fc-591f4867f612_66956792X3XX1648298519259%2Cdfd6c796-d98c-4c72-84fc-591f4867f612_ROOT%2C%2C%2C
–Gabriel Barathieu 2018, Business Unusual: How “fish carbon” stabilizes out climate. https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/story/business-unusual-how-fish-carbon-stabilizes-our-climate
-Sophie Yeo 2021, The world’s largest animals are unusually good at taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20210119-why-saving-whales-can-help-fight-climate-change
– Featured image-https://m.facebook.com/seaspiracy/