From Sultanas to Social Entrepreneurship

How do sultanas and social entrepreneurship fit?  A few years ago, I attended a talk by Sean Coughlan, CEO of Social Entrepreneurs, an organisation that funds many social and community projects.

Sean recounted the many twists and turns his career path took.  Sean’s career started with Theoretical Physics in Trinity College Dublin. When Sean  graduated he became an Actuary.  Bored with the actuarial world he turned his hand to becoming a business man. He bought tonnes of sultanas in Greece and tried to sell them.  He even worked for a few days in the Civil Service.  Eventually, he found his calling.  Now, he is committed to sponsoring social projects that make a contribution to society.  Projects that involve inner city rejuvenation, projects for recovering drug and alcohol addicts, men’s sheds and Pieta House. Some of his projects are dedicated to improving outcomes for kids in care systems (see ).  Sean is an excellent example of the many careers we can have in a lifetime.  He exudes passion, belief and enthusiasm for his current role.


Sean’s energy would power up a lighthouse. Listening to him reminded me that passion and genuine interest is the key to finding the work you are born to do.


Kahil Gibran the ancient Persian prophet put it more starkly when he said;


“Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy”



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