SE Outreach Accelerator 2016 Graduation

The SE Entrepreneurs of 2016 held their final presentations in front of a full audience at Berghs School of Communications, together with keynote speakers Stefan Krook (founder of GoodCause Foundation) and Lena Ramfelt (Stanford lecturer and lead author of Gear Up).

We are humbled, proud and happy about the turnout, the stories and the energy we had in the old church hall on Sveavägen last week. A big thank you to everyone who joined and supported us! It’s been an incredible journey and we are so proud of what the entrepreneurs have achieved during this program.

The participants are now either back in their home countries or on their way through Europe. Anja Juliah Abu Bakar (of Blubear & Co) has for example stopped by in the UK where she’s been invited to speak about her social enterprise at Oxford University. Exciting!

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Photos by Stina Svanberg.

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    “A social enterprise is not a hospital – it’s a business!”

“A social enterprise is not a hospital – it’s a business!”

Betty Ikalany graduated from the SE Outreach Accelerator one year ago and a lot has happened since then. She’s won international awards, worked with MIT to develop her cookstoves and increased her sales with over 500%. We had the privilege of visiting Betty and her team at their office in Uganda to talk about dreams, challenges and how to keep believing in yourself when you feel like giving up.

What has been your biggest success in the past year?

One of the big successes is that we now have our own office! We’ve moved 10 times in just three years, so in December last year we said that with the little money we have, we need to get our own office. Even if it’s small, at least it’s ours.

Also, being women and being able to run a business for more than two years – I feel that’s a success because there are so many challenges for women here. The other day I had a very big argument with a bank manager because I’d previously applied for a loan, but I never got one. Every single day he kept on asking me “where is your husband?”. I said to him “what does it matter? Do you need a husband to access a loan? I’m accessing a loan as Betty, not because I’m someone’s wife!” I told him “all I want is a loan, if you can’t give me a loan then I’ll go.” So in the end I left because he couldn’t give me one, but now after some years he’s seen us continuing our work successfully without his loan and now he’s asking if we want one. So the fact that we have been able to come [...]

Finding Glimpses of My True Self in Stockholm

By: Nodumo Fikile Magadlela, SE Entrepreneur – SE Outreach 2016

I found myself standing inside the Uppsala Cathedral. Behind me the choir was singing a beautiful song that lifted the spirit as high as the building’s columns. It was in that moment that I understood why my life’s journey had let me to this place. How a boy who grew up in the dusty streets of Nkulumane in Bulawayo had found himself standing in this sacred cathedral thousands of miles away from home.

The pieces of this puzzle started taking shape in December when I got the email that I had been chosen to represent iBoni Bike Share in Sweden. The SE Forum team had chose iBoni as one of the 8 start-ups from around the world to participate in the program in Stockholm. It was raining that day but I put down everything and I went outside and cycled. I had to cycle. I had to find a way to express my joy, pent up between the rage and shame of not being able to pay my rent for that month…

But all of this didn’t matter now because I was standing in this amazing cathedral, built hundreds of years ago. It didn’t matter that this was my first time going overseas. It wasn’t important that before this I had only been on an aeroplane on a very brief domestic flight. All that I could hear and see was the majesty of this structure.

The struggle that will define my life is that of articulation. I’ve always felt a capacity to create and to influence humanity, but I’ve always lacked the tools to articulate my potential into the world. This building in its grandeur and opulence resonated [...]

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 [...]

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    “I wanted the opportunity to meet social enterprises from all over the world”

“I wanted the opportunity to meet social enterprises from all over the world”

During her three weeks in Sweden she gained valuable insights into her business from both university lecturers and high school students. We asked Anja Juliah Abu Bakar, founder of Blubear & Co, to tell us about her Swedish experience and about why people are better than Google when it comes to learning about other cultures.

Why did you apply to the SE Outreach Accelerator?

I applied because I wanted the opportunity to meet other social enterprises from all over the world and to also understand about different cultures, the possibility for me to go into their markets as well as discovering the market in Scandinavia.

What has your experience been like so far?

It has been great ever since we arrived in Sigtuna. The first week we have been exposed to the engagement with the students from Sigtunaskolan Humanistiska Läroverket (SSHL) and I really liked the opportunity to meet the students and get their feedback as well as having the networking with established entrepreneurs in Sigtuna. At Impact Hub there have also been a few events where I’ve had the opportunity to meet others and share my experiences, challenges and get more feedback.

What has been your biggest learning?

I’ve learned a lot especially on Gearup, because I think it’s the perfect tool, particularly for startups. Even though I’m at growth stage it is not too late to learn about Gearup because it is like a process that can be applied to all startups or entrepreneurs, to know the exact pain of your customers and to find a new approach in creating the painkiller for the customer.

Are you making any changes to your business model?

Yes, it’s more on understanding and discovering more new painkillers for my customers. What is 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 [...]