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“Treat youth feedback as important” says Kenneth Kwok

by Mirabelle Morah / August 2023

In a world that needs innovation and social change, SEWF23 speaker, Kenneth Kwok stands at the forefront, bringing education and entrepreneurship lessons closer to young people in Hong Kong and around the world. With his numerous roles at Global Citizen Capital (Founder and CEO), KIDsforSDGs and other groundbreaking ventures, Kenneth is on a mission to empower the next generation of social entrepreneurs. And in this interview, he shares his invaluable insights gained from working closely with young people.

What was the ‘aha!’ moment that inspired you to develop Global Citizen Capital?

It was in 2017 when some of our business partners and I were reviewing a series of healthcare-related start-ups and we thought to ourselves, rather than only seeing [monies and] numbers in financial statements, how about seeing the number of lives these technologies could potentially save or enrich in the future? That was when we thought about creating an impact investment vehicle for the purpose of supporting start-ups that aimed to empower the next generation of global citizens, who are healthy, active and conscious individuals aiming to leave the world in a better place than when they joined it. 

Speaking about leaving the world a better place, what’s a social issue you’re passionate about but haven’t found a way to address yet?

It’s related to youth empowerment; it is still difficult to come up with a holistic solution that really supports youth to thrive. Nowadays, information is so easy to obtain with one click of a button. But this recent over-exposure to information has in fact led to the reversal of learning. Young people’s overall intellectual curiosity has declined in adverse relation to the ease of access to information. 

Also read:  Rural Manifesto: A call for global collaboration 

As a social entrepreneur, what’s a setback you’ve experienced and what did you learn from it? 

Our experience with KIDsforSDGs as a social enterprise has taught us that even though education and youth empowerment seem like causes which everyone ⏤ and I mean everyone ⏤ would support, historically speaking, the attention from both investment and industry transformation angles has not been high because of the dependence on government and other public institutions for their policymaking. What we had to do was to make education not only about learning but also about lifelong economic contribution to society, tying together the future of education and the future of work. We recommend all social entrepreneurs look 10-20 years down the road and align with that timeline to deliver long-term impact. 

In what ways do you wish more people could support young changemakers

Simple. To start with, be a better listener and don’t just give lip service or token support. Treat youth feedback as important as you treat directives from your major shareholders.

Fostering entrepreneurial solutions for better lives is one of the focuses at this year’s Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF23) 11-12 October. Come join Kenneth and thousands of changemakers as we form new collaborations and share ideas on several ways to improve education and encourage youth entrepreneurship across the world.

Mirabelle Morah is the community and communications manager at SEWF