At SocialBusiness.org, we like to get to know a bit more behind the founders of the organizations we profile and Omer Khan, the founder of Social Startups, offers some sound insight into how he addressed a need within the sphere.
Four Questions with Omer Khan
1. How did the idea for the business model come about?
As an entrepreneur, even though I had a background in technology, finance and marketing, I wasn’t a programmer and I found it really difficult to launch a technology-based social enterprise. I tried different accelerator programs, crowdfunding, venture capital groups, angel investors, and I found there was a gap for people like myself, so I launched Social Startups program.
The program is designed to help change makers around the world to validate their social enterprise model and attract funding. For social entrepreneurs with an idea for a mobile or web app for creating social impact, we will develop their App and launch minimum viable product (MVP) within four weeks.
2. How did you decide to join this sector?
I started my career with a technology consulting group in late 90’s. Over the past decade I was involved in diverse industries including digital media and finance. In 2011, I started a part-time project with the aim to develop a system which will allow people to round up everyday transactions and donate change to charity/project of their choice. I wasn’t aware this side project will change my life upside down. My passion became so strong that I end of giving up everything I had my job, house literally everything. Along the way there were a lot failures and few wins and that led me start Social Startups program to help change makers around the world in their transition to start a technology-based social enterprise.
3. How do you get your inspiration?
Most of my inspiration comes from nature, if we spend some time with nature it can inspire and teach us things that we can’t even imagine. Sometime ago, I was walking in a park, noticing trees that have lost all their life due to autumn. As I was reflecting at my life and feeling sorry about loss of few possessions I had. I walked up to a tree that has almost lost all its leaves dead on the grass, I stopped and stared and the tree inspired me. It taught me a lesson that to embrace new life we have to let old one go.
4. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?
I have learnt that creativity is basically imagination put into action. To reset my creativity I actually reset my imagination without any boundaries and take one step at a time to transform my imagination into a reality.