Jeroo Billimoria: a global movement that started with a simple gesture in her teens
The majority of Ashoka’s leading social entrepreneur Fellows had their first changemaking experience before age 20, according to two internal surveys. This pattern of early achievement also holds for the business sector: a recent study based on LinkedIn data for all professionals (400 million or 66 percent of total professionals) found that those who signaled they started something noteworthy in their teens are four times more likely to be entrepreneurs and four times more likely to be a top corporate (C-level) executives.
“We are all in a new game – one where change begets and multiplies change. The old game, which sought efficiency in repetition (think professional firm and assembly line) and was characterized by walls and rules, is dying—awkwardly and painfully,” said Bill Drayton, founder and CEO of Ashoka.
“Now, to play, everyone needs to be a changemaker. And that requires starting and practicing in the teens. That’s always been true: Today’s great entrepreneurs and leaders overwhelmingly first started something in their teens. Now any society that doesn’t make this experience the norm will miss the turn and find itself toast."
A social entrepreneur known for building huge, global coalitions, Jeroo first started in Mumbai. Around age 11 she organized all the domestic workers in her apartment block to get bank accounts. She traces her interest in financial literacy and access back to this intervention.