Jack Hamilton Fellows, took part in Challenges Worldwide ICS placement as a Business Support Associate, delivering a consultancy process to a business in Accra, Ghana during summer 2016.
Since his placement in Ghana ended, Jack has gone on to work for a startup in Hong Kong, supporting them with their digital marketing and has founded The Social Mercenary, a brand and website that’s mission is to inspire a community of change makers.
We caught up with Jack to see how The Social Mercenary has evolved over the past few months and what his plans are for 2017.
Hi Jack, thanks for your time today, it’s great to see The Social Mercenary taking off, could you tell us why you decided to found The Social Mercenary?
I want people to see what’s possible and how they can make the most of their lives. So I hit on 3 key areas:
1) Volunteering (for those that haven’t done it it’s so rewarding)
2) Travelling (something everyone wants to do and ts great it really helps bring an open mind set– and it is possible to do cheaply!)
3) Health and wellness (it’s an area I’ve always found interesting plus it’s so important to keep fit and healthy to live the best life possible).
That’s great to hear that you are continuing to display the Challenges Worldwide ICS ethos. We notice that on your website you now have a shop section. Could you tell us about your plans for the shop?
The Social Mercenary has a range of apparel. We currently have 90 bags from Ghana in Hong Kong ready for a Christmas fair at the Conrad (A 5 star) Hotel. The ultimate aim of this platform is to give grass root entrepreneurs in developing countries access to a worldwide market. We essentially help market their product but in the long term, we hope we can invest in the businesses to help support any growth that comes with supplying a world market so that the entrepreneur can have continued success.
So how did this all come about?
I created the blog to capture the Challenges Worldwide ICS placement in Ghana. The title “The Social Mercenary” is a complex juxtaposition that on the surface was supposed to indicate economic empowerment via entrepreneurship. At the time I thought that by helping a business grow and to then become profitable it would then have subsequent social values. This ties into the Challenges Worldwide ethos that was embedded during my placement in Accra.
How do you think your Challenges Worldwide ICS placement helped prepare you to be a “Social Mercenary”?
First I want to point out that this is a community and so if you have a passion for making the world a better place then you should certainly get involved! Going back to my Challenges Worldwide ICS placement the skills and experiences I gained were incredible. I worked with a company that sold smoked fish which on the face of it doesn’t sound too inspiring. However, it opened up a lot of lateral thinking that has helped me out to date. For instance, I had to understand the domestic market for which there has not been that much market research as such I calculated the market size (which was huge) and with the business we thought about a revolutionary strategy to bring hygienic smoked fish, economically to the masses.
Challenges Worldwide give you a great deal of responsibility during your placement and so not only did I develop skills in market research, I also gained a great understanding of the operating procedures and the financial recording requirements that are vital to a business.
Finally, and probably most importantly, the placement gave me confidence in my own ability because I felt I had a personal impact on helping this business. After my placement, I knew I could set my own business up no matter where I was in the world and so whilst in Hong Kong, I have seen the opportunity to take The Social Mercenary from a personal blog to a collaborative community of change makers.