Why Nathan Chan is helping young people develop their social enterprise ideas 

by Mirabelle Morah / August 2022
Nathan Chan
Nathan Chan

Nathan Chan, the Founder of Mission Fortitude is a rising twelfth-grade student of law, international relations and history studying in Shanghai, China. Having worked with KIDsForSDGs and received a nomination for the World Humanitarian Forum Youth Council, Nathan is well on his way to achieving his dreams with hopes to inspire and equip 10,000 youth across 100 countries with the necessary skills to develop their own blueprint of social impact. Nathan and his team are also set to host an SEWF Community Hub later in September 2022, through Mission Fortitude! 

Aimed at empowering youths to become social entrepreneurs and innovators, Mission Fortitude will be hosting a hybrid Community Hub in Shanghai, China, focused on fostering dynamic interactions between youth internationally to inspire social change, promoting the idea of “East meets West” to maximise global impact. 

Why host a Community Hub in Shanghai?

Speaking on his decision to host a Hub, Nathan explains how scarce social enterprises are in China and how hosting a Community Hub would provide a wonderful opportunity to introduce the notion of social entrepreneurship.

“After working with Lilitime Cafe, a local social enterprise that trains and employs deaf people, we at Mission Fortitude were inspired to learn about similar initiatives globally”. – Nathan

In an education system that is almost solely geared towards Gao Kao (高考), the college entrance examination taken by Chinese students in their third and final year of high school, students often lack the opportunities to pursue other interests. As a result, youth who are passionate about creating tangible change simply lack the knowledge, skills, platform, and network to do so.  

“I was recently lucky enough to be invited as a speaker for the UN Global Schools event. There, I got a chance to not only present my work but also learn from other youth — there are very few similar platforms locally”, he said. “So, our hope is that by hosting a Community Hub, youth will have an opportunity to learn from leading experts, form long-lasting relationships with peers, and spotlight their initiatives”, Nathan explains.

What young people stand to benefit from joining this Community Hub

According to Nathan, the Community Hub will be youth-led, as the entirety of Mission Fortitude’s leadership team will be the driving force behind it. In other words, the event will be “extremely focused on youth social entrepreneurship and voice”, as Mission Fortitude is also set to host a joint event that will feature student speakers. 

“We hope that our youth-led Community Hub will serve as a blueprint for other youth to host similar events in the future”, he tells us. “We hope attendees will learn valuable lessons from listening to successful social entrepreneurs describe their journeys. Most importantly, we hope attendees leave with an invigorated passion for social entrepreneurship”. 

In addition to the amazing opportunity to connect with peers and prospective mentors worldwide at SEWF22 Community Hubs, those attending the Mission Fortitude Hub in person will also experience first-hand, the work of one of the few social enterprises in China — Lilitime!

Lilitime Cafe

Advice to young social entrepreneurs 

Becoming a social entrepreneur, especially as a young person, can come with its own fair share of challenges. But like most journeys, it always begins with a single step — something that Nathan strongly believes in.  

“I’d say that if there is a social issue that you want to tackle, begin ideating and prototyping. I’m not advocating for trying to make a change without a plan, but I had no idea that Mission Fortitude would be what it is today when I started”, says Nathan.

In early 2020, Mission Fortitude began with barely 30 students attending their events. Today, they boast of having participants from more than 37 countries.  

“In my humble opinion, too many wonderful ideas are unfortunately lost to inertia, doubt and inaction”, Nathan points. 

As we countdown to SEWF22 and the SEWF Youth Forum, Nathan Chan’s zealous call to action is indeed worth bearing in mind.

Unable to attend SEWF22 (28-29 September) online or in Australia, but still want to have an in-person experience? Learn all about SEWF22 Community Hubs! The SEWF Youth Forum (29 November) is also your opportunity to connect, learn and be inspired if you’re under 30.

⏤ Written by Thelma Ideozu 

Mirabelle Morah is the community and communications manager at SEWF