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My name is Suwen Chen, a PhD candidate in Impact Investing at the University of Edinburgh, intending to use academic research to make a real difference and to help transform our world into a more loving, caring, and sharing place. I came to the UK from China in 2010. After obtaining a master’s degree in translation technology from Imperial College in London, I worked in communication, advertising, and marketing in one of the WPP companies. I quickly built a successful career but soon felt that the consumerism promoted by the advertising world was in conflict with my personal values. What’s the point of working so hard to persuade people to buy things they don't really need? Something had to change. 

To gain a better understanding of how the business world works, I moved from London to Edinburgh in 2016 for an MBA.While pursuing my studies, I discovered the social enterprise sector, which isn’t solely about making a profit but also having a positive impact on society. Whether helping vulnerable or disabled people or conserving the natural environment, the main purpose of social enterprises is to bring about social good. And in order to be financially sustainable, an organisation has to make profit as well.

Whereas the goal of traditional private businesses is to maximise profit, social enterprises embody a unique shift in focus where profit is generated along with a positive social impact. This paradigm shift appealed to me, and I found my new mission.

My passion in social entrepreneurship and innovation has been unleashed through the MBA. Therefore I have been actively working and volunteering for various charities and social enterprises including Maggie’s Centre, North Lanarkshire Leisure, Bethany Christian Trust, Eric Liddle Centre etc.