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Social Entrepreneur

328 EpisodesProduced by Tony LoydWebsite

Social Entrepreneur exists at the intersection of profit and purpose. We tell positive stories from underrepresented voices, focused on solutions.


031, Curt Bowen, Semilla Nueva | Iterating Your Way to Success

There’s an old saying that has been attributed at different times to Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln (neither of whom said it. 

“Success is going from failure to failure without losing momentum.”

For any entrepreneur, especially social entrepreneurs, the ability to balance tenacity with humility is key. An entrepreneur listens carefully, designs a minimally viable product, tests it in the marketplace, pivots and then starts again. In this way, we learn quickly and make progress.

No one has illustrated this principle better than Curt Bowen. In this interview you’ll hear Curt tell the story of several iterations of Semilla Nueva. They are working on the problem of malnutrition in Guatemala, which has the fourth highest rate of malnutrition in the world.

Key quotes from the interview:

“There’s this really beautiful relationship between tenacity, humility and instinct. You have to have all three of those pieces working together. Because all three of them are what is necessary for you to go from mistake to mistake to mistake to kind-of something starting to work to it really starting to work.”

“You try something with all of your passion and all of your energy, and you totally fail. You pick yourself up and you have to really soul search.”

“You have to be able to accept failure. Failure is absolutely required.”

“We kept telling the farmers, ‘No, that’s not our job.’ Finally, after getting pushed towards it by the international experts, and pushed towards it by the government, and pushed towards it by the farmers, we thought, ‘Well, shoot. Maybe we have to be the ones who do this.’”

“One of the things that I’ve done wrong in the past is, I’ve tried answering all of the questions before starting.”


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