The Obligation of Entrepreneurs : Under30CEO The Obligation of Entrepreneurs : Under30CEO
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The Obligation of Entrepreneurs

| January 8, 2011 | 6 Comments


Entrepreneurs, by means of nature or nurture (another argument) you’ve been gifted with the ability to bring together resources for profit. Just as much as our world needs you for economic stability, jobs, and innovation, we need you for your ability to bring resources to those in need.

This year I’ve been heavily influenced by an organization called Charity: Water. Their founder, Scott Harrison made his living as a New York City nightclub promoter. He led a life of selfishness and arrogance. Desperately feeling unfulfilled, he asked a simple question:

What would the opposite of my life look like?

Scott proceeded to take a position with a humanitarian organization traveling to Africa. It is there he found his calling. Scott saw first hand the affects drinking dirty water had on people. He went on to use his gift as a promoter and founded Charity: Water. The organization now raises money to drill and build wells for the billion people living without clean drinking water.

Scott Harrison used his influence and entrepreneurial abilities to help those in need. As an entrepreneur, it is my belief you have the obligation to do the same.

I’m starting small. On January 1st, I turned 21. Instead of asking for gifts which I certainly don’t need, this year I decided to give up my birthday and ask for donations for Charity: Water. Each $20 raised is another person that never has to go without clean drinking water.

I’d like to encourage you to find an occasion or reason of your own to “give up” an event for a charity. Entrepreneur favorites include: which supplies micro loans to entrepreneurs in third world countries and the aforementioned They also have a nice platform for you to host your own event page at

Some of the most rewarding experiences you will have in life will come from helping those in need. Do something besides blowing your money on shots at the bar on your birthday and decide to do something that matters. It’s your duty.

If you’re feeling generous, you can donate to Charity: Water on my page here

For further inspiration, check out this talk from Scott explaining its founding in detail.

Luxury Lab – Scott Harrison of charity: water from charity: water on Vimeo.

Marshall Haas founded AllRendered, an architectural rendering firm. He is currently working on a new startup, Follow him on Twitter @MarshallHaas

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  • Chandlee Bryan

    Great post…and inspiring. Curious on thoughts on other ways entrepreneurs can be philanthropic. One of the big ways I see: creating jobs and opportunities for others who may not have had access before. Exploring opportunities and funding for econ dev.– great leadership. One of my friends started a company in Maine making wood pens–he found a way to employ people with mental handicaps. As I see it, awesome!

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  • Dubem Menakaya

    wow amazing work bein done here i hope this spirit that is bein fostered by charity:water spreads and prove that we can really make a differencs

  • MattWilsontv

    Hi Chandlee, I think it is incredibly important for entrepreneurs to create jobs, but also treat their people with respect and create better lives for them in addition to creating economic means. There are plenty of ways to create economic impact AND make your community a better place. Triple bottom lines are the way of the future

  • Justin Hammack

    awesome – we’re such big fans of charity: water at (my fav non-profit)

  • Matt Ackerson

    I disagree, Marshall. Personally, I don’t spend my money on shots at a bar anyway. I put it towards 2 things, my rent and investing in my business. A complete understanding of this situation escapes me. I don’t have all the details, facts, or numbers. But I don’t need them to know that I don’t feel any sense of obligation at all. And neither should any other entrepreneur. It’s very difficult to build a sustainable civilization without a profit-incentive. Otherwise you’re just teaching others to rely on you without any sense of mutual-trade or, dare I say, MUTUAL-obligation.