Spotlight: Kaitlin Tait

kaitlin-long

What drives you?

Seeing this latent potential in people and help them develop their own belief that they can make a difference, help them understand they can have a huge impact.

How do you define social entrepreneurship?

We try not to. There is a lot of talk about it, we just say we are entrepreneurs that change lives and support entrepreneurs changing lives.

Biggest SocEnt trend you have seen in the last 5 years?

The B Corp movement has been excellent to watch. One of the biggest challenges for social ventures is that they often don’t fit nicely into a nonprofit or a for-profit legal structure. In Australia, we have our first 40 to 50 Australian companies that are B Corp-certified, we don’t have the corporate structure of Benefit Corporation in place yet. It’s a start.

Background

I grew up in San Francisco, in a very socially engaged family.  At university I studied psychology and traveled in between; I built houses in Tijuana and volunteered with native American communities. I was keen to find a solution to these problems and help these people but didn’t know how to go about this.  After Aaron and I met in Spain, we spent 2 years in East Africa at a secondary school for street children. We learned quickly how to do international development. As part of this experience, we sat down with students and teachers and learned that local development and buy-in were key.  We understood that the only thing more valuable than ownership is authorship which gave the first impetus for Spark*. We spent a year in the UK – while Aaron studied at Cambridge – and developed the first Spark* program. We returned to Sydney in late 2010, and launched our first trial in Papua New Guinea followed by South Africa in 2012, Kenya in 2013 and Bangladesh and Australia in 2015.

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@kaitlintait

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