Great weather, great people and surprising moments – Derrick Hosea Opio, founder of Onelamp, seems happy with his three weeks in Stockholm. We asked him a few questions to find out more about the importance of choosing the right partners, valuing different cultures and why he only gives Stockholm an 8,5 out of 10.
Why did you apply to the SE Outreach Accelerator?
I applied to this program to be able to get the right skills and network to be able to scale my social enterprise Onelamp, and the program being located in Stockholm gave me the opportunity to meet with really amazing people in various sectors –finance, technology and clean energy. It’s a very beautiful hub that brings together people from all over the world. That’s why I applied.
Now that you are a few weeks into the program, what has your experience been like so far?
It’s been amazing. From day one I’ve loved Stockholm. The weather is great and the people are great. Some of the trainers we’ve met have been really helpful with developing our business models, our customer acquisition strategies, our funding strategies and that has been very helpful for my business.
What has been your biggest insight or learning?
That’s a very big question to answer, but I’ll give a simple response. Solving a social problem is not a one-man activity – it involves many big partners or parties. You can’t do it alone. So one of the biggest learnings from this program is that you have to have the right partners. Not everyone is going to be the right partner, so how do you choose the right partners to be on your team? If you are going to work with 100 local women, do you actually need all of them? If you are going to have 10 manufacturers, do you need all of them? So that’s a big learning my side, that I can’t solve energy poverty alone and there is a very big team of people out there who could help me, I just have to choose the right ones.
What has been your best moment so far?
When I applied for the program I wanted to see the CEO of Klarna, I actually wanted to have a conversation with him and when he gave a speech at Stockholm startup day I was really amazed, that was really a moment for me. It has been something I looked forward too, but we hadn’t talked about it so it was like a surprise.
What has it been like working in a group of people from different countries?
It’s amazing when you have people from around the world and you are working together on big social issues. One of the things that you keep on taking for granted if you are coming from East Africa, or if you’re coming from Africa, is that you all share the same the same background or you all behave the same way. But I have appreciated that even if we are all human beings we all have different values and we have different perspectives on the world. We all have to value our different cultures or where we are coming from. That has been an eye opener for me here in Stockholm. It has also been fun, living with people from different countries. People have different food tastes, people do things that you would find weird in your country but to them it’s normal. It has been fun!
What has it been like to experience Sweden?
I will definitely be coming back to Stockholm in September. I can’t wait to meet all the great friends I’ve made, whether it’s in Uppsala, Sigtuna or Stockholm – I’ve made really great friends and I’m looking forward to coming back. On a scale from one to ten I would give Stockholm an 8,5. Because I’m coming back I can’t give it a 10 (laughs). I need to keep something!