Entrepreneur Series - A promise worth keeping: An interview with Adam Braun

Adam Braun’s story reflects how simple act of altruism led to a promise and endeavour that ended up building over 400 schools across some of the poorest parts of the world.

From a young age, Adam had strong entrepreneurial tendencies. The drive for creating and nurturing an idea that had real purpose was as much a business strategy for him as it was a need to leave a positive impact on the people he met in life.

Despite an early wish to develop his career in the financial world, Adam chose to travel across the developing world while developing a strong urge to understand how he could give back to the people he met in such poverty.

His epiphany came when he chanced upon a young Indian boy who told him that the one thing in the world he wanted was a pencil. Not only was he able to oblige on the spot, but he quickly learned about the vast gaps in provision to educate children like this boy who had never seen a school in his life.

From there in 2008, Pencils of Promise was born; a for-purpose organisation that sought to raise funds to build schools around the globe. In growing his business, Adam unwittingly became a crowd-funding pioneer as his business acumen led him to appreciate the value of marketing to a burgeoning social network of people all too willing to connect to a cause.

Important in this was the solid commitment he made to using smart business principles to govern and run a social enterprise with philanthropic endeavour at its heart. Adam argues forcefully for the blending of business accountability with cause-based objectives because at its core, results are what matters.

Adams’s story is therefore testament to the good fortune – not always monetary – that comes with what he calls letting your heart make the big decisions. Today, Pencils of Promise continues to thrive and pay it forward to those who lack access to quality education. But Adam isn’t complacent, so while his legacy and good work continues, he is looking to the future and a new project that focuses on higher education studies. Watch this space as Adam recently launched MissionU, a one-year program that gives people the skills and experience needed to launch a promising career, without the threat of fees and debt that is usually a barrier for the wider community. With his passion and commitment, it is sure to be every bit as successful and hopefully the game changer that the education system needs – combining opportunity with accessibility.

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