Lead Young: Social Entrepreneurship Starts Early
Jeroo Billimoria is one of the social entrepreneurs recently featured in the Ashoka series, #LeadYoung – Great Changemakers Start in Their Youth.
If you have raised a teenager, or been one yourself, you know that teens are experts at arguing. While it is not uncommon to have a disagreement with a teen, for Jeroo Billimoria there is one argument that changed the direction of her life for good.
At the age of 16, Jeroo debated her mother on the best way to help children get through school. Her mother was a social worker in the schools for poor members of the Parsi community. Her mother focused on family and other environmental issues. Jeroo believes in the importance of looking at the data, and the data showed that two topics, math and English, were holding the students back.
Jeroo found a partner to work with; the first Ashoka Fellow, Gloria de Souza. Together, they proved Jeroo’s theory, backed by data, that focusing on math and English could have a significant impact. This early start put Jeroo on a road to social entrepreneurship.
Hold on to the vision, but be flexible in the implementation.
Jeroo has learned to be flexible. She said, “A river originates in the mountain, and it has to make its way to the sea. That’s your journey. Go around the mountain. Go into the valley. Go this way. Go that way, until you get to your goal.” And yet, with her advice to be flexible, she also encourages early-stage social entrepreneurs to be determined. “Never give up,” she coached.