Using Business To Change The World

My biggest “What Were You Created For?” moment occurred in my sophomore year at Westmont College when a few friends and I decided we wanted to major in Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship at a school where the major didn’t yet exist.

You know you were meant to create something when you ask yourself, “How has this never been done before?”

Creating is what reminds me that I am alive and one-of-a-kind. So when I went to college I was looking for a path of education that would enable me to always create. I entered my second year fresh from an amazing experience at the very first Yellow Conference in LA--a conference dedicated to empowering creative women to spread good through everyday living. 

I knew I needed to be at a place where creative minds gather, so I found myself driving down alone for this conference, probably one of the youngest there at 18 years old.

My creative nature took me somewhere I didn’t think I would go, yet it was here that my heart’s passion was put to words: Social Entrepreneurship.

At the conference, Ashley Howell of the Givve Collection introduced me to the phrase “Social Entrepreneurship” which was her focus as a graduate student. The concept of using business to change the world--I was intrigued that one could study such a thing! So there I was, an undeclared major, confused but also intrigued and somehow assured that I was on the right path.

Creativity can be a meaningful lifestyle that flows into everything you do, so you’ll make things that haven’t been made before.

So, what could I do--Westmont College didn’t have a Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship major; what I felt passionate and called to...Turns out if you read the fine print on the website, they allow something called an interdisciplinary major. My two friends, Becky Collier and Avery Osborn, and I were thrilled to find out that we could pursue an education that combined all of the things that interested us and made us excited for potential vocations. By combining Sociology, Communication Studies, and Business under the umbrella of “Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship”, all our creative juices began to pour into our studies and free time and I knew this was the creative outlet I had been wanting for so long. We worked hard and long hours, but they were somehow fun and fulfilling. And that is the joyous thing about creativity: by peering inside your soul and following where it leads you, innovation is a natural byproduct.

And that is the joyous thing about creativity: by peering inside your soul and following where it leads you, innovation is a natural byproduct.

As you hone your craft, creativity can very well become your livelihood. With the classes that we have been involved in through our major, we have been on a micro-financing trip to Haiti, explored the business sector of Uganda, and learned what it means to thoughtfully engage in social movements around the world.

So for me: I was created to create. But more specific than that, I was created so that I might find ways to liberate others and lighten the world.

That realization has been the outpouring of my pursuit of a Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship major.

What we create is the gift of our story to the world as we know it to be and seek to deepen it.

We live in a day and age where you can drink TOMS Coffee from a Created Co. mug and simultaneously help build wells in the developing world. You can empower women by sporting a Krochet Kids beanie. The world is waiting for more creatives to search within themselves and pursue innovation for a better world.

What are you waiting for? Start today. Start living out what you've been created to do. The world is waiting for you to blossom.

Annie Koeller is a dancer and dreamer with Southern Californian roots and heart remnants scattered in Montana, Uganda, and Haiti. You'll find her caffeinating, contemplating, and creating as she studies social innovation and entrepreneurship at Westmont College.

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  • Brian on

    Inspiring, amazing young woman. Praying this is contagious.

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