Profits, partners and pitching to the president!

By: Francis Adereti, SE Entrepreneur – SE Outreach 2016

It’s been about three and half months since I left Stockholm. I had acquired so much energy to implement all the new ideas and strategies which I was privileged enough to have been exposed to in the city.

One of the main creative insights I obtained, out of quite a few, was finding a way to monetize our platform, as that would be the only way to make our social business sustainable and also profitable.

I had a series of meetings with my team immediately when I got back to Nigeria, to discuss the new strategies. It was something they were all excited to hear about and consequently, we started executing these strategies right away.

We went out to find out what our paying customers needed. What were the features they would like to pay for? We also carried out a Market Survey in regards that, and to our utmost surprise, we found out that what the customers really needed was different from what we thought they needed! Interesting, right?

Immediately we had to adjust our business plan to suit their needs. We also partnered with the Redcross Organization in Lagos State to carry out a blood donor drive. We introduced our donor platform to them in the process and thereby gained more traction.

The donor platform is for keeping digital records of blood donors and their blood types and for sending periodic reminders to them and being able to easily contact them when there is a need for them to come over to donate more blood. It was built for blood banks and donor organizations that are into blood donation drive.

My mentor (Johan Mast) has been of great help. He [...]

“These three weeks have been like three days!”

The Swedish blood bank system, cracking the business model and teaching entrepreneurship to high school students – those are a few of the things Francis Adereti, founder of Redbank, has experienced during his three weeks in Sweden. We asked him a few questions to learn more!

Why did you apply to this program?

I applied to this program to learn more about my business, and especially the business model aspect. I also applied to network with people of like-minds and experience the city of Stockholm to be able to learn about their blood banking system.

Now that you are three weeks into the program, what has your experience been like so far?

Wow, these three weeks have been like three days! It’s been a really great experience. I’ve been able to learn a lot of things and meet a lot of people and so far I’ve been able to get to learn about how to improve my business model, I’ve been able to improve my networking skills and I’ve been able to go to some places here in Sweden to meet with people. It’s been amazing!

What has been the best moment?

The best moment was with the students from SSHL (Sigtunaskolan Humanistiska Läroverket). We had a session together with the students and tried to explain what entrepreneurship is all about by using Redbank as a case study and the students were amazing. That’s been my best moment so far!

What has been your biggest learning?

My biggest learning has been related to my customers. The blood banks have been given the platform for free but we discovered that we could actually build more features and turn the blood banks into potential customers. For me, that has been an eye opener and [...]

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    “There is a single language we all share and that is how much we care about each other”

“There is a single language we all share and that is how much we care about each other”

Cooking with people from all over the world, identifying your real customers and finding a second home far away from your actual home – these are some of the things we talked about with Sibjan Chaulagain, of Creating SMILES, Building the Nation, after he completed the first three weeks of the SE Outreach Accelerator.

Why did you apply to this program?

In Nepal we had been working with farmers and there were some NGOs that were ready to pay for our services, especially the weather and the market information. As we were creating the profiles of the farmers, we realized that there may be a different business opportunity but we were not sure how to model it from a business point of view. At the same time we also had a few donors, but they wanted the real business plan and we were struggling with that. So I heard of SE Forum last year and I thought that this could be the perfect platform where I could meet the right people and have time where I can think of my business plan, and at the same time get mentored, have linkages and create network so that I can go back to Nepal confidently.

You are three weeks into the program now, what has your experience been like so far?

So far it has been as I expected. Every day there is an intense program, but I get sufficient time to myself to really think for my business, to make it better. There are lots of topics that I was not aware of and that I was not able to model, but after being here I feel like I have the capacity to do so.

What has been your biggest [...]

1 year later – Visiting our SE alumni from 2015!

Annabel from SE Forum recently spent three weeks visiting our alumni in India, Vietnam and Uganda! Having the privilege of being hosted by three social entrepreneurs from the SE Outreach Accelerator 2015 provided a great opportunity for us to gain a more in-depth understanding of their day-to-day operations and how SE Forum, as an organisation, can tailor our programmes to best suit their needs.

Let’s take a look!

First stop was India, where we visited Elsa Dsilva, co-founder of Safecity and Neelam Pol, founder of Khel Planet. Elsa and her team have collected over 9300 reports of sexual harassment on their online platform and run programs for young girls, in schools and with large corporations. When Elsa was in Stockholm last year she had a team of 3. Today the Safecity team consists of 8 employees and over 100 volunteers. Neelam is developing a new game for Khel Planet and is about to launch an online platform with non-academic games teaching life-skills to kids. The online site targets urban parents and is currently being tested by a group of users.

This photo is from one of Safecity’s workshops in Delhi. These girls are drawing a map of their neighbourhood and marking the places where they feel unsafe. This will later be used as a base when they brainstorm solutions of how to make the area safer.

Next stop was Vietnam, where we met up with Loan Nguyen from Bloom Microventures. Bloom Microventures combines responsible tourism and microfinance to alleviate poverty, by offering tourists an authentic insight into rural Vietnam and using the revenues to provide low-interest microloans to help women start their own businesses. Today Loan and her team have provided loans to around 200 women in the Hoa Binh province, helping them purchase farm animals, crops and fruit trees to [...]

July 11th, 2016|News|0 Comments|

SE Outreach Accelerator Experience

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 [...]

Sociala entreprenörer leder samhället framåt

Midsommarhelgen var händelserik. Glatt midsommarfirande blandat med nedstämda Brexitrapporter. Nu är det dags för kommuner, civila sektorn och näringslivet att lyfta blicken och gå vidare. Mer än någonsin är det viktigt att ta individuellt ansvar för att bygga goda förutsättningar för samarbete. Socialt entreprenörskap kan visa vägen.

Det är lätt att tappa modet ibland. Speciellt efter stora händelser som Storbritanniens val att kliva av EU-samarbetet. Varför ska vi försöka när andra ändå hoppar av? Men det är just i sådana situationer som vi behöver individer som inte nöjer sig med status quo, som inte finner sig i orättvisor och som själva tar tag i samarbeten för att lösa samhällsutmaningar.

På SE Forum arbetar vi i Sverige och utomlands med att lösa samhällsutmaningar genom entreprenörskap. Vi stöttar och utbildar sociala entreprenörer, agerar förmedlare med näringsliv och trycker på för att socialt entreprenörskap ska bli en given del i samhället.

För oss är det därför självklart att samarbete behövs, mellan sektorer, inom EU och utanför. Vi känner dagligen av övertygelsen hos våra entreprenörer om hur de förbättrar situationen för sin omgivning. Det är den övertygelsen som vi gång på gång ser ger resultat, och de bästa resultaten kommer när samarbete sker över sektor- och landsgränser.

Låt mig ge tre goda exempel:

I förra veckan besökte mina kollegor en av våra sociala entreprenörer, Elsa Marie D’Silva, i Indien. Efter återkommande rapporter om våldtäkter, sexuella trakasserier och överfall i New Delhi bestämde hon sig för att själv ta tag i problemet. Via en webb-baserad app, Safecity, samlar hon in kvinnors rapporteringar av sexuellt våld och överfall för att skapa så kallade hot spots som analyseras för att visa på mönster och trender för polis och kommuner att agera utifrån.

Ett utmärkt exempel på hur ny teknik, blandat med entreprenörskapsanda och [...]

Bridging the gap – from Lund to India

Last week SE Forum had the privilege of being partners to a summit called The Bridge in Lund, Sweden. The theme was “pushing humanity forward by linking science and business”. It was a fascinating collection of people there and I, for one, met with several players which otherwise would be have been hard to meet, and even harder to engage in in-depth conversations.

The summit aimed to be the bridge between science and business to advance humanity. While this was happening in Lund two of my colleagues were out on their own adventures, following up on how our Accelerator participants from last year are doing. That could be viewed as a disconnect perhaps? National and international players in science and business all gathered in Lund in the west while our social entrepreneurs are working for change in low-income countries elsewhere. However, I would argue the opposite. This was actually a great example of how the bridge can function as discussed at the summit. Because during my time at the event it became clear to me that I was talking about our social entrepreneurs as the solutions to the gap between business and science. In fact, our social entrepreneurs are the real building blocks of the bridge. They’re championing the development of technology to push humanity forward, and they are doing it using business principles.

Take one of the entrepreneurs who my colleague visited for example, Elsa Marie D’Silva. Her Safecity platform aggregates crowd-sourced data of sexual harassment and violence into hot spots, performing analytics and uses the location trends to engage local police and government to improve public safety. It’s been so successful that it recently won 3rd prize in the Intercultural Innovation Award, by the [...]

Rewiring My Brain in Stockholm

By: Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale, SE Entrepreneur – SE Outreach 2016

Travelling to Sweden was a dream come through for me because I believe that it will forever change my way of thinking about charity and Social Entrepreneurship. I was skeptical about the decision, but it was consciously made by me. I was afraid that it would change my belief about my choice as a charity person, as a transformation preacher and as a woman who has experienced poverty.

As a poor woman, I wanted to be a philanthropist, giving to the poor, training the poor free of charge and selling the products with the same mindset of everybody is poor. Therefore, the more we work, the more our efforts amounts to nothing and we become incapacitated in birthing our plan and spreading our wings to other parts of Nigeria. The majority of our products were given freely to the poor women and children while very few is bought by friends online.

That is why I decided to attend SE Forum’s Accelerator, to fully understand business ideals and ideas and strictly apply it to our Treasure business. Therefore, I was ready for a mindset change from the onset, working on achieving our goals at all legal cost.

So I set out to meet the mind changers. Stockholm is beautiful, we were ushered in into the hands of Svitlana, the ever smiling lady, who took us to our guest house. The journey began with travelling to Sigtuna with pleasant Annabel and lovely Fiona. What kind souls! And the shift in mindset began, how do we follow the numbers? How can we follow the money when there are so many poor abused women?

Sigtuna gave the fertile ground for the operation to [...]

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    “I feel stronger because I know I’m not just one crazy person”

“I feel stronger because I know I’m not just one crazy person”

Making life-long friends from around the world, seeing your business in a new light and the challenge of looking tall Swedish people in the eyes – these are a few of the things we talked about with Luciana Oliveira, of New Hope Ecotech, after she completed the first three weeks of the SE Outreach Accelerator.

Why did you apply for this program?

I applied for this program because I have a communications background and I have a MBA in business. I founded a company during the end of my MBA, so I had the basics of business but I started a company without really knowing what entrepreneurship would look like, and social entrepreneurship in particular. I’d read about it, I knew people who were doing it but I never really put the time into analyzing it or thinking before making decisions. So I found myself running a startup, with a team of nine people, six months after graduating from my MBA, without having thought about what is it that it takes to be the CEO and a change-maker of an early startup. So for me it was a big opportunity to be removed from my routine and think through what it takes to build and grow a startup. So that was the reason I applied, but also because of connections. We know that Sweden has a lot of great entrepreneurship and especially in the industry that I’m in – which is environmental services. It’s huge here, so I knew that I would meet people who could contribute.

Now that you’re three weeks into the program, what has your experience been like so far?

Oh my god… I knew I was going to learn things, but I was not [...]

“Solving a social problem is not a one-man activity”

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 [...]