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Esc Hero #12: ‘Running a Fijian island tribe from kitchen tables in East London’

bk-headshot-2A quick note: Introducing Mr. Ben Keene.

‘Social entrepreneur, writer, nomad’

Three pretty cool job titles… Have a look for yourself

Tribewanted is a unique cross-cultural community tourism project on Vorovoro Island, Fiji and a global online social network.

Esc Hero #12: Ben Keene, Tribewanted

1. What are you currently doing?

Running a Fijian island tribe from kitchen tables and coffee shops in East London. Planning next ventures…

2. What did you do before this?

Worked for travel start-up Madventurer / studied politics

3. How long have you dreamt of doing what you are doing now?

Almost 4 years

4. What inspired you to do it?

On debating whether to book a flight to Fiji to try and negotiate a lease on an island on my almost full credit card, I realised my young persons railcard was about to expire. I got on the plane.

Vorovoro BK

5. From a practical perspective, how did you plan for it?

Not much practical planning, just had to get the mindset right: ‘I’m going to chase this dream. it’s going to be bloody hard and will require lots of compromises, but I am up for it. let’s go.’

6. How are you funding it?

Island time / online membership (planned) + media sales (uplanned). Future funding to come from a more innovative online crowd-funding model and partnerships.

7. What was the hardest thing about making this happen?

It changes. But over the last 4 years the hardest thing has been the funding. The lack of sustainable cash flow is a constant headache. But the impact we make and the people I meet make this headache worthwhile. I’m confident it won’t last forever.

Oh yeah, the military coup in Fiji was a bit of a nightmare as well.

8. What has been the best thing about having made this happen?

Freeeeeeeeeeeeedom! And giving. Giving people new opportunities, experiences, perspectives – cliched but completely rewarding.

9. What advice would you give to other people who want to do something similar?

The future of business is social. The more talented and well-educated people that get into social enterprise the better for all. Get ahead of the curve today, and don’t think too much about the eventual destination, enjoy the ride and do the right things along the way and it will come back to you and more.

10. What resources have you found really useful?

This year I’ve found Twitter used in the right way is fastest and most relevant source of everything I want to know. Amazing.

Outside of social media I stay connected by making sure I go to talks as often as poss – in London: RGS, RSA etc…

Also a fan of TED & DO Lectures (I watch online)

Projects I follow: Kiva / Make Travel Fair / Survival / The Adventurists / Right to Dream

Recent books:

The Constant Economy” / Zac Goldsmith

Business Stripped Bare” / Richard Branson

Tribe” / Bruce Parry

11. What else?

New tribes coming soon…stay close

ben@tribewanted.com

benkeene.com

twitter.com/benkeene