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Amaria Founder On The Challenges Of Social Entrepreneurship "One of the barriers to overcome is the expectation that because something is socially lead, it must be a free service."

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María Morales, founder of Amaria, a coaching consultancy for cancer survivors and their families, opens up on the challenges of running a social enterprise.

Morales, a Chilean-Spanish resident of Dubai, developed a range of self-help tools for cancer survivors, ranging from consulting, coaching to organizing wellness events, after her own personal battle with breast cancer. In November 2017, the portfolio of her services was put under an umbrella company and her personal brand– Amaria.

"Amaria is the result of my healing process," she says. "After my surgery, I felt the need to connect with people and tell my story, in order to share with others what I have been living through. The idea is to contribute by showing how improving your life and making day by day changes, can make our life's better, healthier and happier in the long term."

The business has been self-funded mainly from her income as a senior advertising and strategic communications expert, but going forward, she points out to some of the misconceptions stifling growth of social enterprises.

"One of the barriers to overcome is the expectation that because something is socially lead, it must be a free service," she explains. "As a brand, the most important thing for us is that people listen to our message, so we are trying to keep the balance between what is a complementary service and what is not. Also, in building a personal brand we must have clarity of where the brand personality begins and ends, versus exposing your personal life, especially on social media, in order to maintain consistency and your own authentic voice. Another important thing is to collaborate with brands that support what you're doing and have similar values. Our community has to be something as real as us and grow the same way, organically and consistently. I used to work with brands before that were not aligned with my values, but now it has to be something I feel connected to."

Related: Impacting Entrepreneurship: Abdelhameed Sharara, CEO And Co-founder, RiseUp Summit

María Morales's top three tips for UAE-based entrepreneurs
1. Be yourself and develop your own and unique voice, style and message. Today, people are following real people, not just brands like before. Today is about lifestyle and mostly about the people behind the projects and brands.
2. Be accountable and surround yourself with people who make your business better every day.
3. Understand that sometimes you will want to give up and that it is a normal part of entrepreneurial life. We need to learn to let go of that feeling and reconnect with what we really want every day.

Related: Evolvin' Women's Assia Riccio On Starting A Social Enterprise (And How Dubai Startup Hub Helped)

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