Jeff Skoll – Social Entrepreneur Success

  • Post Written by Jai Kai on July 5, 2009
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Ok, here is a quick rise to success story from the Canadian born eBay Billionaire Jeff Skoll. It wasn’t all success from the beginning, like many other’s Jeff had his difficulties and failures in business ventures. Today he lives a fulfilling life and is a man of passion creating awareness and positive change throughout the world through his movies like An Inconvenient Truth, Darfur Now, Syriana, North country, Fast food nation, Angels in the dust, Jimmy carter man from plain, Charlie wilson’s war, Chicago 10, and The Kite Runner.

Jeff Skoll was born on January 16, 1965 in Montreal, Quebec and at the age of fourteen his father was diagnosed with cancer which prompted him to discuss with his son how much he regretted not having had the time to do everything he had planned in life. A keen reader, Skoll was influenced by authors such as Aldous Huxley and Ayn Rand and intended to become an author writing motivational books and books on tackling the world’s problems. Other things were in store for him…

Rise to Success

In 1987 Jeff graduated with a BASc with honours from the University of Toronto’s electrical engineering program. He paid his way through college by pumping gas in North York, Ontario. After graduating he backpacked around the world for several months before returning and founding two businesses in Toronto: Skoll Engineering, an information technology consulting firm and Micros on the Move Ltd., a computer rental firm. Those businesses failed to do well so he decided to improve his business skills with further study.

Jeff Skoll left Canada in 1993 to study a Masters of Business Administration at Stanford Business School, graduating in 1995. In 1996, Jeff joined his college friend Pierre Omidyar at eBay as its first President and first full-time employee. He developed the company’s business plan that eBay followed from its emergence as a start-up to a great success. In the months before eBay went public in 1998, Jeff led the company’s effort to give back to the community, creating the eBay Foundation through an allocation of pre-IPO shares, an innovation that inspired a wave of similar commitments nationwide. Once eBay’s second largest stockholder (behind only Omidyar) he subsequently cashed out a portion of the company, yielding him around $2 billion.

Since then Jeff Skoll has become a successful movie producer, philanthropist, and founder & Chairman of Participant Media and the Skoll Foundation. The Skoll Foundation, takes an entrepreneurial approach to philanthropy by investing in, connecting and celebrating the world’s most promising social entrepreneurs in order to effect lasting, positive social change worldwide. The foundation takes up this challenge by focusing on these social entrepreneurs – people who couple innovative ideas with extraordinary determination, tackling the world’s toughest problems to make things better for us all.

Through its Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship, the foundation provides financing and complementary services to leading social entrepreneurs whose innovations are poised for growth and replication. Jeff gave the Skoll Foundation $250 million of eBay stock and today makes grants in excess of $30M per year. What do you think…? Are you a social entrepreneur? Are you up for the challenge in creating a social business? For more information about social entrepreneurs you can read my article on Muhammad Yunus in the Business section.

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1 Comment on “Jeff Skoll – Social Entrepreneur Success”

  • Jai Kai said:

    That’s right, if you are a social entrepreneur you might get a piece of the pie that billionaire Jeff is giving away. If you read my last Blog on Jeff Skoll and watched the fascinating video produced by TED you will see the kind of integrity, generosity and passion this man has.

    In addition to creating movies that change, Jeff created the Skoll Foundation, which takes an entrepreneurial approach to philanthropy by investing in, connecting and celebrating the world’s most promising social entrepreneurs in order to effect lasting, positive social change worldwide. The foundation takes up this challenge by focusing on these social entrepreneurs – people who couple innovative ideas with extraordinary determination, tackling the world’s toughest problems to make things better for us all. Through its Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship, the foundation provides financing and complementary services to leading social entrepreneurs whose innovations are poised for growth and replication

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