Gang Chen (Richard)

Where Richard is from

Shanghai, China

 

Interview

What was your dream when you were a kid? What was the reason?

I have lots of crazy dreams when I was a kid. Maybe involved in so many novels about heroes, I liked dreaming myself as a lonely knight living in a humble life. I could use my own ways to fight for justice and punish bad guys in the extreme way.

 

What was your dream when you were 18 years old? What was the reason?

They are too much homework waiting for me to finish when I was 18 years old. I put myself in lots of examinations and was too busy to raise my head from exercise books. The only thing I could consider was to have a good score for my university entrance examination even though I didn’t know it deserved or not. So, I totally lost in this period.

 

What made you start thinking about social entrepreneurship/social enterprises? When was that?

Honestly, I think about entrepreneurship at the beginning. After 12 years working, I get lost again. I’m doubt whether I should kill my whole life in this routine way or not. What’s the value of my life? We all live for only once, so I don’t want to waste it. I start to think about doing something which can make my life different. Doing the startup become my primary choice. Two years ago, I met some disable artists in a NGO supported by local district government. Most of them are full of art talent, but they can not transfer the talents to improve their life. All of them are struggling for the living because of their disability and limited incomes (only $300 each month). I believe they should live better. So I started to try helping them sell their artworks by my sales experience. I never know the word “social entrepreneurship” before, but this is my first time to consider helping the poor in business way. But the reality is much harder than I imagined. Finally, I failed because I could not find a right way out.

 

How much do you think social entrepreneurs play an important role in the world?

Social entrepreneurs play huge important role on the mission of changing our countries, even the world, to become a better place to live. I really appreciate the concept that social business gives capitalism a soul. It may be the only way to save my country to get ride of crisis both in economies and morals. I believe China one day will become better and stronger with all the efforts of Chinese social entrepreneurs.

 

What would you say to future social entrepreneurs / those who are interested in social entrepreneurs?

Keep fighting, don’t give up! The world will become better because of your efforts.

 

What is your favorite quote? Who said that quote?

“Social business brings souls to the capitalism”

 

Who Richard is

Richard is a very wise person. Oh yes, he has lived longer than me so he has experienced more than me, and those experiences makes him more open minded and flexible. He is not someone who judges another before actually listening to opinions from both sides. He is not going to push prejudice or his point of view to you.

One day, members had a conflict in a team that Richard belonged to and it divided the team into two sides. I saw that Richard came to see each perspective and to tell how important it is to accept differences and understand others’ perspectives. He helped the team reconcile and did this even though it was on Saturday. Richard was willing to sacrifice his precious weekend for his teammates and his team and literally become a bridge among the team to make things better.

He did not point out which side was right or wrong, just mentioned the importance of understanding both sides even when two people argued. It is harder than you think to act but he did it and showed it to me. It was very impressive.

Richard is also not afraid of giving opinions or sharing his point of view with others. He showed a glimpse of this part of who he is several times during our class. He has impressed me many times. I really respect him as a person.

 

Awesome Episode

Richard went for a bike ride to Sausalito with other classmates of us in April. He did not have his own bike and I did not join them, so he came to borrow my bike. I did not have an image that he is active, and for this reason I was so proud of him. It was on Spring break, a good season to be active anyway.

When he came to my apartment, we talked about his baby. While he was studying at Hult International Business School his baby boy was born so he went back to China to see his family and the new family member when Spring Break started. I remembered that he was so excited and happy to meet his baby for the first time when he left San Francisco. I mean, who would not be? Richard showed me a lot of photos of his baby boy. Of course the baby was too cute and Richard himself looked so happy looking at the photos again.

This is the beauty of having a family. I really respect Richard. He decided to study for a master’s program in the US apart from his family but cared about and took care of his family no matter how far he was from them. I do not think I could do the same.

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The Power of MSE

What Richard is holding is a symbol called “go-en(ご縁)”, which means ‘fate’, ’destiny’ and ’special tie.’

I believe that it is meant to be that we met in San Francisco! I studied Social Entrepreneurship with Richard for a year, saying “We will make the world a better place.” I would love to spend the rest of my life with MSEs (Master of Social Entrepreneurship; my classmates) until the very day I die. They have already completely changed my life.

At the same time, however, I also think that we should not be together all the time, because that is not the reason why we learned Social Entrepreneurship. That is not how we will deliver the impact we want to give to society and to the world.

I think MSEs are like dandelions. We were seeded at the first day at Hult and we bloomed on our graduation day. Our mission is that we spread all over the world like dandelions and seed the future, the next generation, from each place where each of us has landed.

本当にありがとう(Honto ni Arigato-); Thank you very very much for everything!! The world needs you! Let’s make the world a better place together!!

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