“Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Gandhi

Entrepreneurship is not just about creating a successful business or making a profit. It's also about giving back to the community and making a positive impact on the world. One of the most important elements of a truly successful entrepreneurial and social ecosystem is the practice of paying it forward. This is a vital part of The Accelerator’s DNA and over the past 12 years, we have used this principle to help hundreds of entrepreneurs, social enterprises, and community partners.

Paying forward is one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways that you as an entrepreneur can make a significant impact on your ecosystem. More importantly, the benefits you create for others come back to you tenfold. Paying it forward creates social connections and strengthens your network. It makes you happy and is actually good for your health. And last, but not least, it is contagious and it encourages others to follow suit. Below are some of the best ways to pay it forward and create a culture of giving:

Mentorship: One of the best ways to help others is to share your knowledge and experience. You can mentor young entrepreneurs who are just starting out or offer your expertise to a non-profit organization that needs help. By sharing your skills and insights, you can help others achieve their goals and build your future network. Being a great mentor is one of the most important ways that you can help grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem and it establishes the norms for the new generation of entrepreneurs. A culture of mentorship is one of the key reasons why Silicon Valley has enjoyed unprecedented levels of entrepreneurial success.

“Our chief want in life is somebody who will make us do what we can.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Investing in Social Enterprises: Social enterprises are businesses that are focused on making a positive impact on society or the environment. By investing in social enterprises, you can help support these organizations and contribute to their mission. You can also inspire other investors to do the same, creating a ripple effect that can lead to real change.

“As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way.” — Mary Anne Radmacher

Volunteering: Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community and make a difference in the lives of others. You can volunteer your time and skills at a local charity, school, or community organization. This can help you build connections in your community, learn new skills, and make a difference in the lives of others.

“Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Donating to Charity: Donating to charity is a simple and effective way to make a difference in the world. You can donate to a charity that is focused on a cause that is important to you, such as education, healthcare, or the environment. Even small donations can make a big difference, and you can encourage others to do the same.

“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

Paying it forward can have a powerful impact on your life and the lives of others. This is why paying forward is so important:

It can inspire others: When you pay it forward, you inspire others to do the same. Your actions can create a ripple effect that leads to real change in the world.

It can help build your network: By volunteering, donating, or mentoring, you can build connections with others who share your values and goals. This can lead to new opportunities and partnerships that can help you achieve your own goals.

It can improve your mental health: Giving back can improve your mental health and well-being. Studies have shown that volunteering and helping others can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

It can make a real difference: When you pay it forward, you can make a real difference in the lives of others. Whether you're mentoring a young entrepreneur or donating to a charity, your actions can have a positive impact on the world.

Paying it forward is an important part of being an entrepreneur. Successful entrepreneurs are powerful role models that shape the culture of their community. With great power comes great responsibility and paying it forward is the surest way to create success for the generations to follow.

“We do make a difference - one way or the other. We are responsible for the impact of our lives. Whatever we do with whatever we have, we leave behind us a legacy for those who follow.” –Stephen Covey