Fair Travel Tanzania, Revolutionizing the Tourism Industry

Meet the 35 year old Founder of Fair Travel Tanzania, Benjamin Taghavi – Awal, passionate about his enterprise and what he has set out to do. The first impression you may have is that he comes off as a visionary and is very contemplative with a high degree of awareness of the environment and what can be done through synergies to make the world a better place.  His other passions include traveling, skydiving, sustainable development, alternative system thinking

In 3 sentences only, who is Benjamin?

– One of seven billion.

– Passionate about nature and people.

– Stubborn and determined with a vision.

What does your company/organization do? 

We use tourism for impact and make sure that the staff receives fair salaries and that our tours are environmentally friendly. We also make certain that the profits go to local projects to protect nature and benefit the community.

What is your role?

My role is to make this happen, and that involves using my computer to communicate with people. To share information about Fair Travel and to communicate with potential customers, former customers, staff, volunteers, and partners. I work very hard and in between I try to enjoy good food with good company and share love.

How come that you took exactly this path that you have chosen? How has your journey been so far? 

Like so many others I wanted to be a rich successful entrepreneur who would start to help once I was financially independent. Instead I saw an opportunity to use my skills, talent and energy and use business as a tool to benefit people and environment without aiming for the traditional model of success.

My journey has been rewarding, fulfilling, meaningful and inspiring to me and to others. I have also [...]

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    Social Venture Africa, Promoting Women Empowerment and Economic Development in Africa

Social Venture Africa, Promoting Women Empowerment and Economic Development in Africa

Meet 32 year old Cristiana Benedetti Fasil, researcher and economist turned social entrepreneur. She is the Head and Co-Founder of Social Venture Africa, an enterprise working  to economically empower women in rural Ghana through the provision of solar powered water disinfection and solar powered cell phone chargers. 

In 3 sentences only, who is Cristiana?

(Laughing) I am many things: I like to be a very strong and determined woman. I am also an economist and researcher and a very curious person

What does your organization do?

We work to solve two major issues; the lack of electricity and of clean drinking water in West Africa. We address both issues through the use of solar power technology and involving the local community where we will foster women economic empowerment by training them to become solar power experts or engineers.

We believe that every woman should take control of her destiny both financially and intellectually. We therefore, through the project Charge up Ghana, intend to train women into micro-entrepreneurs. This will be through training programs, with a local partner, on how to be electricians and solar power specialists in the production and distribution of affordable locally sourced solar powered devices that will be sold in rural Ghana.

What is your role?

I am the Head and Co-Founder of Social Venture Africa. I am the responsible manager of our activities. This includes the day to day managerial tasks, as well as development of a viable long term business strategy together with the other board members. 

What inspired you to start your venture? Why Ghana and how has that journey been so far?

I am a Ph.D. economist and have spent several years working in macroeconomics, growth theory and development. My work largely involved writing research [...]

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    Rhythm of Life, Bringing Hope to the Red-Light District in Kampala

Rhythm of Life, Bringing Hope to the Red-Light District in Kampala

The first impression you would get of 24 year Harriet Kamashanyu is that of a high spirited and cheerful person. Harriet is the Founder and Executive Director of Rhythm of Life Kampala, an organization set out to provide health care services to sex-workers in the red-light district in Kampala and educated their daughters. We meet up with Harriet between sessions, you can sense an air of tiredness, probably another busy day at the Accelerator program, but that does not deter her optimism. I get the feeling that this is how she runs her venture,  being optimists and never letting anything change her from her course. 

In 3 sentences only, who is Harriet?

I am a simple and jolly person who prefers to have a simple life

What does your company/organization do?

We are offering healthcare services to HIV/AIDS sex workers and educating their daughters to break the vicious circle of mother to daughter prostitution.

What is your role? Walk us through a typical day?

I am the Founder and Executive Director therefore I take the lead role in designing the organizations strategic plan and running programs that are implemented by fellow team members.

A typical day starts with me waking up at 5 and I immediately have my morning prayers for half an hour. Thereafter I look through my weekly and what I have scheduled for the day. I then have breakfast at 6 and out by 6.30. At the office I meet with team members who are to implement the days activities and everybody gives a brief on what they have lined up for the day. In addition to this, we  have an evaluation of our activities assessing for instance what we could have done better. If it is [...]

Fired-up and ready to go

The eight social entrepreneurs selected for this years’ SE Outreach Accelerator program are finally here!!

It has been an amazing first week for the social entrepreneurs. Everybody landed on Saturday and was received by an SE Forum staff member who accompanied them to the hotel apartment in Stockholm.

The first week of the Accelerator program was dedicated to getting to know each other. This was done during the weeklong team-building exercise at Sigtunastiftelsen, a tranquil location an hour out of Stockholm. The exercises were aimed at promoting and enhancing creativity and trying to break barriers such as communication and cultural in order to enhance harmony.

Other than team building, the team revisited the goals of the SE Outreach Accelerator program together and reaffirmed expectations and desired results for both SE Forum and the entrepreneurs in regards to the whole program.
‘My goal with the Accelerator is to further develop my enterprise’ says Sheikh, ‘I want to use this opportunity to learn how to plan my business, market it and enhance my fundraising skills.’
A few introductory courses were held such as an introduction to Business Model Canvas, how to write a business plan, an introduction to the Problem Tree and Storytelling. On the last day, the entrepreneurs had a chance to participate in a symposium held by Sigtuna Foundation on the human capacity to adapt and innovate in the light of great challenges.

It was not ‘all work and no play’ for the entrepreneurs who took a chance to explore Sigtuna, during breaks and taking evening walks that were often followed by a few hours in the sauna.

In the coming weeks, the entrepreneurs will go through rigorous training aimed at building their business capacity. Topics offered during the [...]

First Impact Investor Network in Scandinavia Launches

The first angel investor network in Scandinavia focused on impact investing just launched today. Impact Invest Scandinavia, which was initiated and founded by SE Forum Chairman, Shawn Westcott, along with SE Forum business coach, Ruth Brännvall, is a non-profit organisation which promotes the growth of social and sustainable enterprises by supporting investments that deliver measurable social as well as financial returns. Impact Invest Scandinavia is the Scandinavian representatives of Toniic LLC, a global impact investor network.

“We connect investors with the sharpest social entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs in emerging economies,” said Ruth Brännvall, CEO and co-founder.

More companies are starting today in order to not only make money, but also contribute to a social or sustainable development. More public sector players are also beginning to provide support to the group of companies. The pioneering countries in impact investing, the U.S. and Britain, have investor networks that have been created specifically to focus on the so-called impact investments. One of the most significant global players, Toniic LLC, is expanding its operations in Scandinavia, and this network will be driven by startups Impact Invest Scandinavia.
Roots in SE Forum’s activities
“You could say this new initiative has it’s roots in SE Forum,” says Impact Invest co-founder and SE Forum Chairman, Shawn Westcott. “Since joining SE Forum’s Board in 2011, I’ve been meeting some really promising social entrepreneurs, but they are always saying how hard it is to access early-stage capital for their enterprises.”

“At the same time, we’re seeing a growing number of investors who are curious about impact investing, but having trouble figuring out how to go about making such investments.”

“So I started to convene small groups of investors in private roundtable sessions to discuss how they might invest in these entrepreneurs. I was fortunate to have [...]