Introducing Social Enterprise Consultant #2: Melanie Akerboom

Since a young age, I imagined being an adult that changes professions over time. I simply couldn’t picture myself working in one specific field for the rest of my life. At school, I enjoyed most, and was best in, practical subjects like music, arts and sports.

At the age of 21, I completed an apprenticeship in photography. After that, I did a lot of different things, basically and mainly to make money quickly, like housekeeping, private coaching, elderly care, waitressing or accompanying youngsters overseas as a course leader. I also spend a year working and travelling Australia, which was truly one of my greatest experiences so far.

It was during my internship in South Africa, which was part of my BBA in International Tourism Management, when I first got involved with community development work and entrepreneurship. That time, I realized that starting and running a business isn’t such a bad choice after all.

And I really loved this internship! On a daily basis, I was confronted with poverty and inequality, and worked with township based micro-entrepreneurs, co-operatives, youth development organisations and other local stakeholders. With another intern, I co-founded 2010 Enactus Stenden South Africa, a student-led organisation that empowers local communities through entrepreneurial-based projects. Later on, I supported the organisation as co-faculty advisor and got more and more involved with academia. I worked as academic assistant and research associate tutoring and supervising international students in the fields of Humanitarian management, Entrepreneurship, Innovative Tourism and Hospitality.

By now, I hold a MA in Social Entrepreneurship, support social-startups.de as a contributing editor and work on a personal blog. I’m keen to join _SocialStarters as I want to learn more about effective facilitation and teaching techniques, whilst being able to focus and develop my own ideas. I strive to work with motivated and aspiring social entrepreneurs in South Africa, whilst continuing my photography work. I’m also considering getting into responsible tourism.

You can read Melanie’s blog here: www.whatamission.com/

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