印度是我第一個拜訪的「發展中國家」，當時街上為數眾多的乞丐與流浪漢的景象，對我造成很大的衝擊，也讓我強烈覺得自己應該要為窮人做些什麼。我成為德蕾莎修女（Mother Teresa）在加爾各答垂死之家（the Kalighat Home for the Dying）的志工，提供醫療照護給病人。
From Sociologist To Social Entrepreneur
In this blog, I will write about “Social Enterprise”. As a brief introduction, let me introduce myself and the company I work as a global marketing manager.
In March 1985, I was born in Fukuoka city, the biggest city in Kyushu islands locate at the southern part of Japan. After graduating from a local high school, I went to the United States to study there, but I did not know what I want to do.
The first transformational experience for me is when I visited India when I was 18, the first time to visit so-called “developing country”. Seeing thousands of beggars and homeless people was totally a shocking experience, and I strongly felt that I should do something for those in poverty.
I worked at the hospice, the Kalighat Home for the Dying, founded by Mother Teresa in Kolkata as a volunteer staff. I worked to provide daily cares for patients there, but after working there for a month, I had a strong doubt about what I was doing there. Everyday I stepped outside of the hospice after work, I saw countless number of people suffered from poverty, but I could not do anything for them.
The hospice could only provide last-minute/baseline healthcare services to the most needed, which accounted for such a small proportion of the local poor. There were still thousands of poor people out of the hospice suffering from problems other than health, such as lack of education, contaminated water, malnutrition, or unemployment.
I was overwhelmed that there were too many people need help, but I did not know what to do for them. From my first encounter with poverty, I realized that what I can do as an individual volunteer is very limited. I went back to school to find an alternative way to deal with poverty.
At University of California, Los Angeles, I ended up studying to be a sociologist. For me at that time, to be a scholar and enlighten people from academic field seems a good idea. To be an effective sociologist, I studied almost all subjects in social sciences – from politics, economics, statistics, to ancient Greek and modern philosophy.
Sociology is a subject to study a way to make better society. However, as much I studied it, I realized that even a great idea created by a great scholar does not work if it is not practiced appropriately. And I found from a lot of cases that an idea, which seems excellent, failed because nobody practiced it or it was not practiced precisely.
To overcome this problem, I concluded that I should be the one who practices it precisely and effectively. As soon as I came up with the idea, I encountered with the concept of “Social Entrepreneurship”. I found that the concept is exactly what I want to do, and serendipitously, I also found a brand new social enterprise, with no employee yet but only a founding CEO, on the small corner of a newspaper. The company’s name is Motherhouse.
I took a contact with the company immediately and applied for internship. In the interview, Eriko Yamaguchi, 25 years old CEO at that time, told me about her dream to create a world-wide fashion brand from developing countries. The vision sounds really exciting and innovative for me. After graduating from UCLA, I went back to Tokyo and worked at Motherhouse full-time for half a year as one of the founding members.
After the six months, I joined Mitsubishi Corporation, the headquarter of the Mitsubishi conglomerate. The reason why I did not continue working with Motherhouse and joined Mitsubishi was because I wanted to know what I could do through working at a big company. In my opinion, whether a person works for a big or small company, there are both positive and negative sides. And the best way to find which type of company (big or small) is better for me is to have respective working experience with both.
My job at Mitsubishi was an analyst for their Energy Group (annual revenue above USD20 billion), making a financial model for energy related investments. Working at Mitsubishi was not bad. The work was interesting, and more than that, the salary was quite high. However, I quitted Mitsubishi in a half year and came back to Motherhouse to pursue and achieve my dream to change the world for the better through business.
At Motherhouse, I have been working as a manager for sales, marketing, promotion, accounting, finance, shop development…almost everything. And the sales of Motherhouse have almost doubled every year since I joined. I am now spearheading and directing our first foreign sales operation in Taiwan as a global marketing manager, currently residing in Taipei, trying to expand Motherhouse to the world.
Motherhouse is a fashion brand, which mainly produces and sells hand-bags, aiming to create a global brand through maximizing potentials in developing countries. Motherhouse aims to change the world for the better through changing the idea/mindsets of people toward “made in developing country” products from negative to positive. The goal of Motherhouse is “to create a global brand from developing country”. I will use the next blog entry to introduce this social enterprise in greater details.