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Jack Butler interviews Devin Hibbard on global social enterprise | The blog of Jack Butler | Evolution Global | Home for Evolutionary Leaders, Global Citizens & Conscious Change Agents

Jack Butler interviews Devin Hibbard on global social enterprise

Given 9 out of 10 businesses are not around after 18 months, if a business school said that 80% of its graduates were running successful businesses two years after leaving, that would be an impressive statistic, right?  Even more so if the graduates had never had business experience before.  And still more if they were coming from one of the poorest parts of the world.

Well, if you don’t know Devin Hibbard or the full story of the great work they are doing at BeadForLife, I encourage you to take a look at this, as that’s what they have delivered in rural Uganda.

This is heart-warming account of empowering the best in people, partnering with those who are less privileged (not doing ‘to’ them) and women working with women to support community development.  The holy grail of social enterprise is sustainable trading revenues – ie, selling something that people actually want to buy – this is one of the most impressive models I have seen and I have been around the space for over a decade.

Contribute globally or locally?  Hold universal values on women’s rights or adjust to local cultural norms?   Do something you have experience in or follow the call of what’s needed?

Hear some great answers from Devin as she and her team expand to support 1 million women entrepreneurs over the next decade…


Watch here for Jack Butler’s interview with Devin Hibbard:

Show notes:

Devin Hibbard bio – co-founder and ED of BeadforLife

Devin Hibbard twitter


Goethe quote (hit link and scroll down – it may not be Goethe after all and expansion from W. H. Murray?)


Millennium Development Goals

Global poverty – state of play

Steve Jobs 

Show timecodes:

0:00 – welcome and intro

1:25 – getting to know Devin;  parents in the peace corps;  travelling in Nepal seeing people farm with oxen;  how little she knew about how people really lived

4:00 – BeadforLife business;  starting with a need, not a business plan;  saying YES to the river! (what’s flowing);  the BeadforLife graduation model

6:50 – 90% funded through product revenues (this is impressive and uncommon in the nonprofit world)

7:30 – Goethe – how all manner of things (resources, allies, partners etc.) can fall into place once you commit to a certain path

9:00 – BeadforLife current scale – in Uganda for 10 years now, really honing the model before expanding

10:10 – the gap of capital  vs  the gap of confidence  (the latter more often being the problem

11:50 – BeadforLife business success rate – 80% of graduates still have a successful business after two years  (vs 80% failure for Ugandan businesses as a whole)

12:30 – scaling by partnering with orgs who are already deep rooted in communities and cultures (rather than franchising)

14:45 – what’s the highest leverage action you can take as a first world citizen?

15:05 – the importance of money in the hands of women

15:40 – giving opportunities vs handouts;  partnering vs helping  (circle of connection in which everyone is enriched)

17:20 – how you can get involved with BeadforLife

18:40 – where are we at with global poverty?  Whilst most Millennium Development Goals won’t be met, we have made great progress but India and China more so than sub-Saharan Africa

19:45 – numbers in poverty are up but proportions are down (because of population growth)

20:30 – why self-sufficiency and confidence is so much more than money

22:00 – the model of love + business, based on authentic relationships

22:40 – why Devin gets called ‘Coach Devin’ (rather than Mama Devin)

23:10 – time horizons are by necessity so short for very poor people that BeadforLife has to give tools which are implementable tomorrow

25:00 – how to balance deeply held beliefs about women’s rights with local cultural norms

27:00 – how to create a more sustainably just world?  The importance of looking at trend lines, not the headlines  (e.g. malaria is way more of a killer than ebola ever has been)

29:00 – go where you are called to serve – local or global or both

29:45 – the problems of poor governance in African countries (whilst not needing to be a Western brand of democracy)

30:30 – the more full promise of democracy we are living into

31:15 – how people can pay things from cellphones easier in Uganda than in the US!

31:45 – the rise to the amazing millennial generation – so interested in global;  low levels of institutional trust – or just the nature of institutions and where we gather has changed (Facebook etc.)

33:45 – high-functioning presence – how to be present and on our spiritual path, whilst also making social enterprise waves

37:00 – the practice of humility – just being of service and letting go of the rest

38:20 – Devin’s lifehacks – not going to a meeting in a non-native culture on your own – really relying on your local team to tell you what you can’t understand (in the social interactions)

39:55 – Devin’s developmental edge – taking her space as a women entrepreneur

41:00 – Steve Jobs model – stay close to innovation and marketing  (but maybe not a good model of being healthy and kind?  Jobs’ reputation for shouting at staff etc.)

42:20 – connecting with Devin

43:50 – informed optimism for the future…

44:40 – speaking out against aid dependency:  partnering with people to create self-sufficient futures







About Jack Butler

Jack Butler is a social entrepreneur, coach, workshop leader and speaker. His latest venture provides full spectrum human development through coaching, programmes and other development resources for leaders and entrepreneurs. He founded Future Foundations (www.future-foundations.co.uk), a leading youth personal development training organization. He is a professional member of the International Enneagram Association and a former fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Jack was the IAB 2007 Young Entrepreneur of the Year runner-up and took a double first class degree in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge. Jack spends his time between London and Brighton in the UK and Boulder, CO and the Bay Area in the US. In his spare time, he enjoys physical challenges (3 Peaks Challenge 2010, Tresco Marathon 2006) and supporting The Simultaneous Policy Organisation (www.simpol.org.uk). He is a Partner in Passion and Purpose of the Grubb Guild, a voracious reader of personal, cultural and spiritual development, and likes to inquire, journal, travel and write.


  1. The Spark - An Interview on Global Social Enterprise - April 14, 2015

    […] Executive Director and Co-founder, Devin Hibbard, recently had the chance to sit down with Jack Butler to discuss global social enterprise and BeadforLife’s work in Uganda over the last decade. […]

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