Seeing the World Through The Lenses of Social Entrepreneurs

Posted By on Jul 25, 2016 | 18 comments


Most people dream to live a meaningful life while giving their own contribution for a better world. However, only few people actually create a business that allows this dream to come true. Have you ever wondered why?

Last weekend at the beautiful courtyard of Chula, Knowmads Hanoi invited four social entrepreneurs as storytellers to share a glimpse of their worlds with more than 70 participants.



The storytelling event was done through a methodology called Collective Story Harvest, in which participants not only listen to the stories, but also use particular lenses to harvest what they hear. There were 8 lenses that were used for this event:


What are the contributions of this social business to the society?
Why are they of particular importance for the storyteller?


What can we learn from this story about the importance of relationships?
How can we work effectively as partners or step into collaboration?

Leadership & Entrepreneurial mindset

What mindsets played an important role in the story? What can we learn from them?
What’s the importance of leadership in this story and how did it manifest?


What values are dear to the storyteller’s heart?
What does the storyteller stand for?

Challenges & Breakthroughs

What were the challenges encountered along the way and how were they overcome?
What are the breakthrough moments in this story? What can we learn from them?


What were the times when the right people showed up in the right moment and things came together and just flowed naturally?
What were the coincidences? Where did the luck or destiny play a role?


Express in a creative way what the story meant to you.
You can write a poem, sing a song, draw, dance or express yourself in any creative way


Hold and observe the space: a) in you; b) in the teller; c) in and between us

Here are our four amazing storytellers:

Diego Cortizas Del Valle, from Chula – an ethic fashion brand.


He told the story of how he and his wife came to Vietnam and fell in love with the country, and how he quit his job in Spain to follow what his heart was telling him to do in Hanoi – as an architect and fashion designer.

Frederic Labarthe, from Life School Hanoi – a place for spiritual, personal development, holistic living and social responsibility designed to facilitate the emergence of a new generation of global citizens.


He shared about his childhood in Africa, adolescence in monasteries in France and the UK, and adulthood in India and Vietnam, and about how he faced his fears, insecurities, and trusting the flow of life to found Life School.

Jimmy Pham, from KOTO – a social enterprise, training center, restaurant chain that is changing life of disadvantaged youth in Vietnam.


He recounted how KOTO (Know One Teach One) came into being and the mindset for the business to flourish – empowering street kids for employment and training opportunities.

Ngo Thuy Van, from Xưởng Vegan (Atelier Vegan) – a workshop and restaurant that promotes veganism and love for nature.


She shared the story of how she went to school in France as a biology student, refused to dissect an animal, and embarked on her journey of speaking up for those whose voices aren’t heard.

After listening to the stories in 4 groups, participants gathered in a circle again to share their harvest through different lenses.





What is unique about social entrepreneurs? They see the world in a very particular way. They see opportunities to do business with heart that has a social cause in its center. They want to give their contribution to solve a social problem they see, while giving meaning to their own lives.

However, they’re also like us, who encounter challenges and difficulties, who feel discouraged from time to time, and who almost gave up before finally making their dream come true. They’re not that different from the rest of us, after all – each of us can be a changemaker, as long as we believe a better world is possible.


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