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[E4C45] How to Unleash A Movement that Ends Global Poverty – Bart Skorupa, Groundwork Opportunities

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Now, my guest for today is Bart Skorupa who is Co-founder and Executive Director of Groundwork Opportunities, which invests in local leaders and entrepreneurs who have the potential to end poverty in their own communities and beyond.
GO equips these leaders and entrepreneurs with the training, seed capital, and international exposure they need to take their mission to the next level.
GO engages champions – ordinary people like you and I – to use their crowdfunding platform to spearhead fundraising campaigns that support the leaders and projects that they’ve identified as having the most potential for positive impact for the communities they serve.

Projects like drilling a village well, vocational training for women in the Democratic Republic of Congo, education for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon.

In his interview, Bart shares:

  • His terrifying story & brush with blindness that sparked his resolve to leave his job as a well-paid Fortune 500 management consultant to become a social entrepreneur dedicated to eradicating global poverty.
  • The simple linguistic shift in how GO referred to their platform that unleashed a floodgate of support for their mission.
  • His number #1 entrepreneurial mindset hack that helps him overcome all kinds of challenges.
  • The defining characteristic that sets social entrepreneurs apart from other entrepreneurs.
  • Fundraising hacks that help you raise a meaningful amount of money for the causes you care about, without burning out.

Download the Audio Master Class

In Bart’s Crowdfunding Master Class, which you can download for free from the show notes at www.EntrepreneursForAChange.com/45, Bart teaches:

  • How to jumpstart a crowdfunding campaign from scratch and an overview of typical crowdfunding timeline.
  • The key components of a crowdfunding campaign and factors that will play a role in achieving success.
  • Common pitfalls that aspiring crowdfunders should be careful of.
  • And much, much more.


Mentioned in this interview

  • SoCap
  • Charity Water
  • Summit Series
  • Impostor Syndrome
  • Chip Conley – Joie de Vivre
  • Dreamforce
  • ToutApp
  • Simon Sinek
  • Full Circle Fund

Where to Find Bart

  • Follow Bart on Twitter
  • Groundwork Opportunities Website
  • Connect with Bart on Linkedin

Full Episode Transcript

Lorna: Hello, Bart. It is such an honor to have you here with me on the show. I have been a huge fan of Groundwork Opportunities for quite some time, and I really appreciate the work that you do in the world. So I would love for you to introduce yourself to the audience and what your organization does.

Bart: Hi, Lorna. Thank you very much for having me. My name is Bart Skorupa and I run
an organization called Groundwork Opportunities or GO for short. In short, what we do is invest in leaders and entrepreneurs who have the capacity to end poverty in their communities. It has been an interesting past six years.

We started about five years ago and just to give you a little bit of background for you and all the listeners out there how I came to be an entrepreneur was completely almost accidental. Most of my life was in strategy and management consulting. I worked for a number of Fortune 500 companies helping them get bigger working many hours without a passion or why behind what I was doing and then burned out. So I did what every logical person does is quit their job and move to Madagascar. [Laughs]

My mom, on the eve of Mother’s Day, actually hated this idea. I just told her that I just wanted to do something different and having worked nonstop for so long, I just wanted something different in life. I found this opportunity where I could volunteer at this Coral Reef Research Project in the southern tip of Madagascar. Diving had always been a passion of mine and I did it. I went out and I just shed everything I had in life and started afresh.

It was an amazing experience. I was working with local communities in this extremely remote area and we were in the ocean every day and I wore contacts. Because we did not access to clean water, that began to pose a problem about four weeks into the actual expedition. I have corneal ulcer developed that ate away the vision in my left eye. There was this bacterial infection that grew and it was incredibly painful. I was supposed to be evacuated, and then a hurricane hit.

So when the hurricane hit, it prevented anything from flying out to our dive site. And I ended up being evacuated to a Catholic mission. I did not make it very far because there was just really nothing that could move and there was evacuation by boat and then by car, ox cart and because of the risk that it could spread to my other eye, I had no other option and a local doctor, who is partially paralyzed and had only use of really one arm, just put popsicle sticks in my mouth for the pain and took out a knife and he scraped the ulcer out of my eye, which was an incredibly painful experience.

That was one of the best things that has ever happened to me because he actually healed my vision, and not only my physical vision which returned a few weeks later but something that opened up, something that I didn’t know I had inside me. I put all my faith and trust into this man and he taught me so many things. Even in the areas of extreme poverty, there are amazing leaders. There are amazing people who have the capacity to help their communities.

Ever since that moment, six years ago, I just dedicated my life to social entrepreneurship by finding amazing leaders such as that individual and investing directly in their ideas and their projects and in their ventures. We started five and half years ago at the bottom of the financial recession with just a $2,000 investment, half of that went to the IRS and we raised about $2 million annually now for amazing leaders around the world. And just thank you for letting me share about entrepreneurship. I know you are passionate about it as well, and I just want to share anything I can to help others thrive in what I consider one of the most blessed fields that I have ever worked in.

Lorna: That is an incredible story and it sounds like what I imagine what it might be like to be you in an ox cart wondering whether you are going to actually lose your vision permanently or not and having to make that decision of whether you trust this person to scrape your eyeball with one arm. That sounds like an incredible test and you were amazingly courageous to have to go through that. Are you still in touch with this doctor?

Bart: Yeah, we send notes. There was another person that was also involved. It is a very long story from the evacuation, and we still stay in touch through other people. They still have very little access to electricity. He is one of the first people that we sent funding to but because of the lack of communication, it has been very hard to get in touch. We have just seen other people that we have invested in and looked into. Once that grow really quickly, we have readily access to communications.

It is about the sixth year anniversary. It happened on Easter weekend actually. It was the third day where I got evacuated and being raised Roman Catholic, it has brought up a lot of odd stories in my own head as to why it was happening. I send them messages through the organization that I worked for, Blue Ventures – a London-based nonprofit. It has been a dream of mine to actually return. I think it is something I am planning for on the 10-year anniversary. His name is Dr Murray.

I have his notes that he took about the surgery. It was one of my priced possessions. And I just cannot thank him enough for all the lessons he taught me, probably the biggest one being trust.

Lorna: Yes, absolutely. Wow. So in the beginning days, in the early days of your organization, how did you go about starting to raise that money that is now about $2 million a year? Can you share with us some of the key successes that you had that allowed you to grow your organization from $2,000 to $2 million?

Bart: Sure. So basically, the first $2,000 came from me and the co-founder, Kyle. Kyle worked with me in Madagascar and we share the same hut. After that experience, I came out to California where he was originally from. The first $1,000 went to the IRS to get our 501 C3. The other $1,000 went to an event. We used our friends and family like most people do of raising their first amount of funding, and it was a promise. It was a belief in an idea and we did not have any impact to share. We just had stories including the story about what happened with me and how I met Kyle and how our collective ideas would create something.

By this mantra that we still use today that people give to people not organizations is still true today and was true back then. We just had a smaller scale. We raised our first amount of funds. It was about $12,000 that came through an event and through a small family foundation that believed in us. We invested all of that 100% into two projects – one in Uganda, one in Ghana. Then, that was it. We ran out of money. That is a very typical experience.

We are like, “People need to see the impact of this work.” So we made it open. We made it easy for people to visit. As more people started to visit and see those projects and then become inspired by what they saw without having to go through something crazy like losing their vision, just by seeing successful entrepreneurs in the field and shattering this myth that people in Africa or in Cambodia or Ecuador are helpless and starving.

There are really amazing, talented leaders there, coming back and telling their story and raising funds. That is when things began to snowball was when people started raising funds directly for the leaders that we first were champions of. We decided to start an entire movement behind that.

Lorna: That is really interesting. I think this is one of the keys to really scaling up your impact is you guys – the entirety of your efforts to build your organization and to raise funds, instead of that, residing entirely on your guys, the management, and the core team of the organization. You, instead, seem to become very successful in inspiring other people to get involved so effectively. It seems like you have crowd-sourced your growth.

Bart: Yes. One person that was particularly stood that was an advisor who said, “It almost seems like you guys are trying to crowd-source international development.” It is a very good assessment. When we first wanted people to visit and see – as an example, one of these first projects was Peter Luswada. Peter was an amazing master farmer in Uganda. He was literally born into a banana plantation in Uganda, and agriculture is a huge part of their GDP.

He had this vision that has a model development farm where farmers could learn how to farm better and then form a cooperative system or their food at scale. When we opened it up, when we are the first champions and then opened it up and then people began to visit, they became inspired not necessarily by us, but more I would say by Peter and his vision and his abilities and his capacity.

What we quickly realized was harnessing the stories that they were telling us when they come back. I will give you a specific example. So three years in were about $100,000 raise per year. In a random sort of way, we failed a lot. We tried events. We tried running raises to raise funds ourselves, but then we realize, there were people that were visiting and they were inspired by what they saw.

So Sarah, three years ago, took a week and a half of vacation to a friend of a friend, visited Peter and came back so inspired by what she saw. She said, “Peter has this vision to build a biogas plant now. He’s got his farm, has no source of electricity. If he had $6,000, he could build a biogas plant, have a clean source of energy.” She ran a marathon and raised that $6,000. She actually raised $12,000, and we saw the potential in inspiring more people like Sarah.

We built a whole movement behind it called Champions, which we really thrive off today. Champions provide the seed capital and visibility for the entrepreneurs like Peter. They are the ones that are raising funds via crowd funding and telling the story on our own platform to help people like Peter thrive. That was the sort of the crowd sourcing movement behind it and to empower anybody to become the change. That was remarkably successful for us.

Lorna: Wow. That is amazing. I am very impressed at how you are able to do that because it then takes a lot of the burden and the stress off your shoulders and allows other people with their enthusiasm to contribute in their own ways. So how do you reach your champions? How does the word spread? How did you get the word out that people can become champions and support an amazing leader or project that GO represents?

Bart: Well, one of the best piece of advice that we got at first, as we started to grow from about five to 10 champions to about 100 was to focus on five key areas, five key markets. So we were obviously based in San Francisco, that would be a key market. Chicago was another place we picked because I was Boca raised in Illinois and a few other key areas and really get there in person.

The champions, what they were doing to raise funds, often were having events. They would have fund raisers themselves and we help them with the fund raisers. Here is a way to really market the event. Here is a great template for a silent auction to get items for your event. Then, we go to the events in person because once you inspire one person, which has a high cost of acquisition, it takes a while.

If I told you about Peter just as I did now, would you necessarily fundraise for him right away? Probably not. You would go on the site. You would learn a little bit more. Perhaps you try to get in touch and it does take a little while to inspire that first person. Once you inspire that first person, you help them as much as you can.

So we go out there to their events in person. We pick five areas and showed our faces, told our stories and really try to get more people inspired because one champion event would get 60 maybe 100 people. Two more or three more from that event would sign up. At social media, we often use the hash tag “Be the Change”. We have inspired some great champions through Facebook and through just the power of storytelling and something that I reiterate a lot is the ability of telling good stories because that is what draws people in.

Then, third we are actually realizing there is a lot of people that have had this idea but simply have not had the technical prowess that we are blessed with here in San Francisco. So we are sharing that with them and they are bringing us now leaders that we want to support. We, at first, sought leaders like Peter that I mentioned earlier on. But now, there are more people recommending leaders to us. We have a metric to rate them, and then we will help them. They actually bring in their own champions, which has been an amazing evolution for us.

Lorna: Wow. I love it. That sounds really exciting. I think one of the things that I love especially through this podcast is to connect with new entrepreneurs that I haven’t previously discovered. So I imagine it must be really inspiring to connect with new leaders that people in your network are introducing you to. I think there is something that is really encouraging and hope inspiring to know that there are amazing people out there in the world that are trying to really make an impact and to really solve some very urgent problems in the communities at their end.

In fact, by connecting with each other, we are no longer working in isolation. Then, we can actually become of movement for change. It is being able to connect, first and foremost, and know that there are people out there that really believe in a shared vision.

Bart: Right. It goes back to that “People give to people not organizations.” So as those connections are formed, when Sarah became what was like the first champion almost at GO, people were not giving to GO. They were giving to Sarah because they believed in Sarah and Sarah believed in Peter, and that created about 30 donors or so that she received. As we showed the impacts, those donors, some of them became champions.

The whole thing is that the people give to people not organizations and that has been a key thing behind our success.

Lorna: You have mentioned a bit a few minutes ago failure, and I know that entrepreneurs are no strangers to failure. I am curious to know how often you might have failed in your entrepreneurial journey and what was the biggest failure that you experienced?

Bart: I think failure is one of the best teachers, best things that happened and you have to embrace it. We embraced early on a mantra “Fail forward”, which I know actually was really early on Facebook as well of just you empower people to take risks and to learn from them when they fail or misstep. Even if you think about a baseball player – I mean, the best of the best failed two thirds of the time at their job.

And so, when you are in the early stages, failure really helps you learn. As long as you are learning from it – I mean we tried so many different things and we tried to become so many different kinds of companies when we realized champions were a really good way for us. We should be always like voluntours and company and get people out in the field all the time. It was a huge time constraint for us to plan all these trips and our partners in the field were always having to receive people in their homes, and it was distracting them from their work.

All of those things we tried, eventually, led to something that began to click. Failures just helped guide that. I am trying to think actually probably one of the biggest failures in recent memory. I know the biggest failure. When we first launched, Sarah led us to building our own crowdfunding platform. So when Sarah raised that $12,000, 12% went to the third party crowdfunding platform that she used. That was like $850.

We thought, “Wow. Really Sarah that is $850, let us just build our own crowdfunding platform.” And we did. We built one internally to save costs, to get better data, and I actually built a really good name for us. So we first started and we were calling it The Platform. You should sign up here on The Platform, and this is where you create your page on our platform. We will track how much funds you raise on our platform.

We had about 10 or 15 people use it. It was embarrassing in its functionality which is fine because you want to get something out there, minimum viable product and get it out there and test in the real world. The biggest mistake and the biggest failure, we were focusing on just the numbers. I was at a conference called SOCAP, which I go to every year. It is an amazing conference. It happens here in San Francisco at the intersection of Social and Capital.

I was going to a conference with a rule of three, to get three great ideas and meet three great people. The best idea I got at SOCAP was focus on the stories your champions are telling you. There is a whole section on storytelling and the power of stories. There was a brilliant video called The Storytelling Wars and talking about movements like Toms and Nike and how they were so focused on the stories behind their products and the stories in the champions. They were using that word in their video even though we had already started using it.

That was our biggest failure. When we first launch and we called The Platform, we forgot this was a community. We forgot that it was the stories of the people that matter, and we saw a dramatic difference when we made that little shift. So at the time when we first launched, people were raising about $1200 on our “platform”. When we started thinking about it as a community and started thinking about how much their stories matter, and making sure they were video-based and they were really good as stories, they started raising on average now $3,400. We have about 400 champions already.

So even though our scale has increased, the number per average that they raise on our platform was much higher. I think the biggest failure was not seeing that earlier that it mattered more about the people and their stories than the platform and its functionality.

Lorna: Absolutely. That is a really good analogy. I am curious to know since you spend a lot of time with social entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial mindset is an area that I am really intrigued by because I have noticed that the mindset is what tends to separate the most successful entrepreneurs from those who struggle. So I am curious to know if there are any particular mindset tools or techniques that you use that allow you to really overcome your challenges and achieve your goals.

Bart: I think the biggest tool that you have are mentors that have done what you have already done. When we first started, it was based on that story and I remember Kyle said, “So you want to start a 501(c)(3)?” I said, “I do not even know what that is.” I was so ignorant what a nonprofit was. I do not even know it is IRS code which is so basic. I just learned that through mentors and people that have been there. It was very helpful.

Mentors do a couple of things. One, they have already been through those stories that there are lots of really good things that happen in entrepreneurship and there are lots of really bad. We have been through some really amazing peaks and some really low lows. It is helpful that people have been there before can relate to that, but the other great thing about the mentorships is that they are people that are often very successful.

To credit specific people, Greg Lavore was an amazing mentor of mine. Scott Harrison of Charity Water really helped me think through about the champion platform and everything they were doing at Charity Water.

Lorna: Who is Greg Lavore?

Bart: Greg Lavore is somebody I met through an organization called Summit Series. He is a career coach. He usually works with heads of state, CEOs, and we are just really lucky to have him early on. He taught me really about the mentality of entrepreneurship, really focusing on the reptilian part of the brain, where your brain for 10,000 years has been very afraid of change and it reacts quicker than you do.

Your amygdala, which is part of the walnut size part of the brain, that really resist things of change and it was your fight or flight sort of releases hormones that cause you to be very stressed and taught me how to really approach the mind and say, “You know, this is your mind working against you.”

There was a person that actually taught me this. I cannot remember his name. I was talking on a panel and he said, “I have a board of mentors” and I thought that was a beautiful concept of having mentors in different areas. Greg was wonderful in this sort of mindfulness spirituality world. Scott had started an amazing nonprofit that had scaled very quickly, so more of a mechanic sort of thing.

That was a wonderful approach when you have mentors in different stages even just asking their advice. One thing that I have been recently been struggling with was what I call the impostor syndrome wherein we have a board of directors and I was very cognizant, based on advice actually Greg gave me of knowing your culture and when you form a board that you document your core values. One of our core values that we would not always engage in group thing.

We have had a very engaged board. So we got very great early board members at a high level of expertise and also a board of advisors that know so much more. Sometimes, I am in this room with them and they’re are CEOs or early founders of Facebook. I am telling them things about what we are good at but it seems so odd that it feel like I am an impostor. How did I get here telling somebody that has decades more of experience and decades more of success that I have, what to do and what to say or what to think and that my opinion is of value.

I was struggling with this. I had dinner at Chip Conley home. He was the CEO of Joie de Vivre. I asked him, “How do you deal with impostor syndrome?” He just looked at me, tilted his head, and said, “Go to nature” and then walked away. It did not make much sense at the time but I still take it like a five minute mentorship. He gave me a great actual answer. I meditated on it for a while and I have used that a couple of times. When I go out into nature, I just realize this is such a large world. We are such an insignificant part of it and it helps relieve that stress when you can focus back on your issues.

I think the mentorship is probably the strongest tool an entrepreneur has because these are people who have to learn from doing and they can teach those lessons to you.

Lorna: Yes. I have to say that I am really grateful for all the mentorship that I have received. It is interesting because on one hand, it is absolutely essential for entrepreneurs to seek the support of others either peers especially like different classes of mentors. There are mentors that are just a few steps ahead of you that can really help you because where they are in the journey and where you are is not so far away.

There are folks that are kind of like the shining light that you really want to be, to emulate, who has a level of impact and success that you want to reach and it is always good to have those people in your sphere too. But I think one thing that I have been challenged by is sometimes I get really a bit confused by the advice of my mentors. Especially in the internet marketing world, there are so many different ways to launch a product, for example, or market your product.

So sometimes I get conflicting advice. I get, “Build your product first and then buy the traffic to sell.” Others are like, “Do not build your product first. That is a huge mistake. Pre sell it first and then see if anyone buys it. If no one validates it, then move on to another idea.”

One thing that I have grappled with is the value of investing in mentorship. There are people who that give you mentorship for free because they believe in what you are doing and these folks are always great. But sometimes as an entrepreneur with big goals, you need someone who is really in your camp and sometimes the only way to have someone that is consistently in your camp on a weekly basis is to invest in that mentorship for coaching.

I am curious to know in your journey, have you ever invested in a coach or mentor and paid them to actually help you? Or is most of the mentorship that you have received pro bono?

Bart: It has all been pro bono though I do ask for it specifically. Unless it is like a board member where they have obviously butt in and there is a huge commitment there, they are obviously acting in a mentor sort of way especially when things don’t go according to plan. When I got this concept of the board of mentors idea about a year ago from someone else – I wish I could remember his name. He was a panelist, I cannot remember what his name was – I started to think about all the past mentors I had and I like the concept because it allowed to put them in different categories.

You said it perfectly, there are few steps ahead and then they are a shining light. There is a current mentor I have whose name is Zio Caden, who had heard me speak at a tech conference once. He came up and he told me what he was doing and it was something that I wanted to stretch myself towards and build towards which is actually getting paid at a much higher rate for speaking and using that in speaking on much higher platforms.

The current places I speak are anywhere from 60 up to about 1,000 people which is great but I wanted to see, “How do you get on those 10,000, 15,000 person stages?” I have spoken at Dream Force. How do I speak as a keynote or introductory to a keynote at Dream Force? He is like, “I have been there. I can take you there. Let me show you how that is done.” I knew I needed him as a mentor. So we met a couple of times and by the third time, it is literally like you are asking for somebody to go steady with you. You make it a direct ask.

“Zio, I would like you to consider being a mentor of mine for six months. Here is what I think I can achieve with your help” and having specific deliverables. So even though he took me on, because he does charge people to do this, but I made a specific ask. Obviously, I have a nonprofit backing behind me saying, “This will help GO and help so many people suffering extreme in poverty.” I was obviously, “If he hears this, I am sure he would appreciate and he is probably smiling right now.”

That was definitely a hook, but I made it direct. I think he needs to have that direct ask. Otherwise, it is not going to work. You cannot just say, “I will just reach out to you with advice whenever I need it.”

Lorna: Yes. I think one of the many perks of being a social entrepreneur is that it is so much easy to attract services that most other entrepreneurs actually have to pay for because of the vision and the mission that
you as a social entrepreneur are representing.

Bart: That is very true. We started with $2,000 and so that is not a lot to start a company, but with the services, we were so frugal with everything from using Salesforce as our CRM because they gave 10 free licenses. Even now, we use Tout app which I think is an amazing application to track your relationships via e-mail. Even now with money, I still send an e-mail with Tout app like, “Do you have a nonprofit discount? Can we get some licenses for free? I will do a webinar with you guys to promote your product.”

It is such as huge benefit. The startup cost of our nonprofit in terms of tools and services are far lower than any other startup.

Lorna: Great. Remember folks out there, if you have a nonprofit organization, use that to your best advantage in order to serve those folks that you serve. I am curious to know, what sets social entrepreneurs apart from other entrepreneurs in your opinion?

Bart: The why. I think the why they are doing it is such a more important way of getting people behind the product and the movement – a cause whether it is for profit that has a social impact or a nonprofit with a social impact. It is a wonderful TED talk and view on life. It does not really matter what or how you do something, it is why you are doing it. It was an idea first posited by Simon Sinek and he called it The Golden Circle, which is the why’s in the center of the three concentric circles of why, what, and how.

That separates social entrepreneurs. We want to help women get better jobs. We want to provide more water. We want to get rid of homelessness. That is why we exist. It is the reason behind our mission statement. And then they can go on to their product and then they go in to their methodology. But when you start with why, it is such a great way to get people inspired behind what you do. It is one of the first things that we teach our champions when they sign up and say, “I am going to help Peter get that biogas plant or the drill rig that he is currently fundraising for.”

When you reach out to somebody to inspire them to be a champion with you or get donations in your event, tell them, I am having this event to help provide clean water. Start with why, and social entrepreneurs, they definitely have the leg up on that and that attracts people to work for you for free with their volunteers, with their time. They donate their thoughts. They donate their licenses. They donate their mentor abilities. Why you do something I think is the strongest thing a social entrepreneur has.

Lorna: And what do you think are some of the most defining characteristics of the social entrepreneurs that have the highest impact, the ones that seem to be able to achieve the most far reaching successful impact?

Bart: The ones that are out there everyday, it’s something I began to learn through, not even as social entrepreneurs but people become an overnight success after 10 years of experience. They never say no to the smallest meetings. It has become very difficult especially here in San Francisco. This may not be applicable elsewhere but there are so many meetups. There are so many events and the ones that I have seen, even start small, just have built a very big network by always being visible, always being approachable.

I am a member of a giving circle called Full Circle Fund where every year, we invest $10,000 to $20,000 into about 10 nonprofits around the bay area. It is always the ones that win. It is always the ones that are usually the most accessible. By accessible means, you have to be visible and at those events. We set aside specific budget for that reason that I can attend galas and awards and go to conferences. It is so important.

Again, it goes back to people give to people. If they see your website and they get your press blurb, that is great and it will probably spread. If you have a great cause and really sleek hashtag that you can promote, sure. It will work, but if you are there in person and you have a really great story behind what you are doing why you are doing something, those what I have seen really propelled people to really amazing heights in very short amount of time.

Lorna: Great. Well, thank you for that. We are coming to the end of our interview. I would love to leave you with my last and favorite question. What do you think, Bart, is the most effective way to change the world?

Bart: Investing in leaders. I think as we begin to think about it, it is shattering ceilings that used to exist. One of the saddest stories that I remember was when we visited Peter three years ago and we saw his farm growing and it was beginning to scale. It literally has been teaching thousands of farmers on how to grow their food better and creating hundreds of jobs.

We met with the person that used to have his old job. Peter used to work at an international NGO that I will not name here for 10 years. That is what he did. He had learned about systematic change. We met with his successor. It was a local Ugandan, a wonderful warm human being named Samuel. I remember Peter when he first told when he started his first organization, he left the other NGO because they would never promote a local person like him.

He was still reporting to somebody in Holland. I remember him speaking to Samuel and I said, “Samuel, Peter left because he could not make it to the number one spot. Even though he was the best Ugandan, he could not be number one. How do you feel about that? You are at that same position.” He said, “Bart, you cannot trust a Ugandan with that much money and with that much responsibility.” I was so sad to hear that because I realize there was ceiling that had been created and that because of his thought, he could never believe in himself.

That is really why we invest in leaders. It is not simply just to get their projects off the ground. When they go further, they become community leaders. They may go into politics. That can actually change the world. If we look at what happened here with the election of Obama and hopefully Hillary in a few years. It changes people’s perception about what they can achieve when they see people in leadership doing what they would like to do and investing in leaders is the greatest way to change the world.

Lorna: Thank you so much for sharing with us your incredible stories. How can we best stay in touch with you?

Bart: @bartskorupa on Twitter and the website for Groundwork Opportunity is GoWorks.org.

Lorna: Fantastic. Thank you so much and you have a beautiful day.

Bart: Thank you and you, too, Lorna.

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In Gratitude

Eric Smith of Monster Beach Studio for creating our Entrepreneurs for a Change Theme Song


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Lorna Li

Chief Evolutionary Officer at Entrepreneurs for a Change
Lorna Li is a business coach, entrepreneur and Amazon rainforest crusader, with a passion for green business, social enterprise, and indigenous wisdom. She helps changemaking entrepreneurs harness the power of the Internet to reach more people and make a bigger impact, while designing the lifestyle of their dreams. She is an Internet marketing consultant to changemakers, and works with innovative tech startups, sustainable brands, social enterprises & B-Corporations on SEO, SEM & Social Media marketing.
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