By: Derrick Hosea Opio, SE Entrepreneur – SE Outreach 2016

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and the second most prolific tech hub in the world on a per capita basis, producing 6.3 billion-dollar companies per million people, compared to Silicon Valley’s 8.1, according to a recent report from the investment firm Atomico. In April I was selected as one of the 8 lucky social entrepreneurs to attend the SE Outreach Accelerator in Stockholm, Sweden.

During the first week of the program, all 8 entrepreneurs stayed in Sigtuna, the first town in Sweden. It’s a charming medieval town of 8,000 inhabitants, founded in AD 970 by King Erik the Victorious. It’s one of the most beautiful places I have visited that has not lost touch with its roots. The town’s original structure is largely preserved to this day. We were hosted at Sigtunastiftelsen Hotell, a quite beautiful peaceful place by the lake built in the early 1900s. Here, we got an opportunity to taste true Swedish food for the first time. The restaurant served us Swedish dishes based on organic, locally sourced ingredients.

During the second and third week we were based at Impact Hub Stockholm, a beautiful co-working office space that is part business incubator, part innovation lab, and part social enterprise community. The environment and founders at Impact Hub not only inspired us all to reach further, but SE trainers also offered actionable tools and methods that are key to building more agile and customer oriented organizations. Lena, one of the most brilliant and energetic professors I have interacted with, led sessions on “Gear Up”. She covered every topic in a way that was informative and empowering – ensuring that we walked away with valuable knowledge and practical tools to apply to our social enterprises.

Thanks to the generosity of Impact Hub Stockholm and SE Outreach Accelerator, my mentor Terron Musgrove was able to get a meeting with Hand in Hand International. As OneLamp gets ready for global rollout and penetration of the East African market we are looking for strategic partners to enable us reach the millions of offgrid African households to escape energy poverty. In the next coming months we are working on a partnership to include youth and women entrepreneurs trained by Hand in Hand in Kenya and other East African countries to our network of solar entrepreneurs.

The journey of a social entrepreneur can be quite a lonely and tough especially for founders. Not a lot of people understand the processes of social entrepreneurship and the unique obstacles we encounter and am very thankful to the organizers of the SE Outreach Accelerator. I believe OneLamp is becoming a game changer and game winner in the clean energy space because of all the support I have received. Am already looking forward to the second part of the program this September and can’t wait to be back in Sweden, a global testbed for innovation.

 

Click here to read more about Derrick and OneLamp.