017: Devin Thorpe – social entrepreneur, author, speaker and champion of social good.


I chat with Devin D. Thorpe– a renowned social entrepreneur, journalist, Forbes contributor, author, speaker and champion of social good. His books—read over 1 million times—are about using money for good, personal finance, crowdfunding and corporate social responsibility and draw on his experience as an investment banker, CFO, treasurer and mortgage broker. Previously, he worked on the U.S. Senate Banking Committee staff and earned an MBA at Cornell. Devin describes the work he does as ‘helping the helpers’ and he has devoted himself to writing about, advocating for and advising those that do good.

1:58 – Three lines of distilled bio on Devin and some background on his career, starting with being laid off from a corporate job.

3:53 – The importance of being able to take decisive action on a vision or purpose.

5:09 – How staying in the position of being a corporate CFO may have affected Devin’s career path.

6:08 – Advice for people feeling like they want to make a big career change to work for themselves.

8:22 – The difference in the worlds of corporate work and entrepreneurial work.

8:58 – The value of Devin’s experience in both the corporate and the entrepreneurial worlds as well as relative income differences.

10:55 – Differentiating between entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs.

12:28 – Comparing the outlooks of the corporate and entrepreneurial worlds.

14:27 – Advice for people who feel called to enter the field of social entrepreneurship.

16:54 – One model that Devin has seen be successful in entrepreneurial execution, staying the course with the vision and constantly fixing the process.

17:58 – Example of the association for small-holder coffee farmers.

20:23 – How to communicate the message to not feel constrained and pivoting further than they initially expected, with the example of maternity hospitals in Nairobi.

22:27 – The similarities in the challenges faced by all entrepreneurs.

24:20 – Starting in social entrepreneurship often comes down to how to fund the venture.

25:28 – The amount of money available to social entrepreneurs through impact investors and the business model of relying on donations.

26:56 – Solving social issues through for-profit businesses as well as non-profit businesses.

27:24 – The changes that social media is bringing to the approach of businesses with a social mission.

30:04 – Structural differences between for-profit and non-profit companies, example of the canning company as both a for-profit and a non-profit based on subtle differences.

33:07 – Funding that is available to social entrepreneurs through different avenues, such as crowdfunding.

34:57 – A successful approach to starting a business that Devin has seen many times and the widespread availability of funding from different sources; Devin’s book, Crowdfunding for Social Good.

37:05 – Different crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo as well as regulation crowdfunding.

37:46 – Parting message for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Resources and Links Mentioned:

Crowdfunding for Social Good by Devin Thorpe