Why I dropped everything to work on TSM over the summer

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Jack’s enthusiasm for life isn’t just infectious, it carries over into his work and most importantly the mission of the Social Mercenary. We bumped into each other through Challenges Worldwide . While he was working in Ghana, I was working in Zambia and we both went on to various things in Hong Kong. I also like to think of myself as a positive person – great minds think alike – and I supported his work on the fledgeling Social Mercenary in Hong Kong.

Here’s my contribution… the first logo! It only took me 2 hours on paint.

It’s only been a few months and yet the Social Mercenary has grown and is showing signs of taking root. Jack asked me to write a blog piece about why I joined The Social Mercenary, but the why is in the name.

 

The Social Mercenary is about more than just being a new brand and smashing deliveries out to whoever orders; the idea is to empower both the consumer and the producer. Simply put, The Social Mercenary isn’t about help, it’s about partnership; putting entrepreneurs in Ghana on equal footing with their peers in Western markets. Ghana is an under-developed opportunity that is at the heart of regional power in West Africa and before I slip into political mode and start discussing the effects of post-colonial. I believe that like many less developed countries beyond the West, Ghana has not been given the respect or opportunities it deserves, and businesses like the Social Mercenary are working daily to remedy that.

The Social Mercenary is not a panacea for all ills, but it isn’t meant to be. What I like about it is that it is set up as a platform; the blog is about getting attention to products that leverage the skills of people in Ghana. It’s about creating more ‘Social Mercenaries’ who believe in a better way of doing business and engineering collaborative social change. It’s also not all about Jack. Don’t get me wrong; Jack’s a great guy, but the important thing about a collaborative effort is the movement of the whole community and that’s what TSM is about; the army pulling together. I’d like to think that in some small way, I can be a part of that army – but also that anyone can. I’m helping out Jack physically now with everything and anything TSM, but you can join the movement too by buying one of the bags, sharing something, or following the blog, even if just while you wait for the Social Mercenary t-shirts, hats and second generation bags that we’ll be launching soon [watch this space].

I’m looking forward to the next few months and the kickstarter and a couple events we have coming up, but the main thing is to make sure we lay good foundations for the greater things that the Social Mercenary has coming its way. The Social Mercenary is not something that will materialise overnight, but with its goal, and while the army grows, I’m happy to say that I can be a Social Mercenary!

Ed Ashdown
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