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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 [...]

“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 [...]

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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 [...]

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    “Those fighting for the wellbeing of women – they are my customers”

“Those fighting for the wellbeing of women – they are my customers”

Pumpkin soups, women’s empowerment and second chances! We had a chat with Joyce Kyalema, founder of JOSMAK, to hear what the near future holds for her.

Why did you apply for this program?

I first applied in 2014 and I didn’t go through. Maybe I was in your database, so I got an email about the application for 2016. I decided to give it another chance and applied.

Now that you have completed the first three weeks, what has your experience been like so far?

The experience has been good and I have learned a lot. I’ve learned more things about my business, that I didn’t know before, through Lena’s Gearup program.

What has been the biggest learning?

My customers. I didn’t know my customers. I thought my end-users are my customers, yet they are not. My customers are the NGOs that are fighting poverty, are fighting for the well-being of women. NGOs that help women get jobs and empower themselves – they are my customers.

What is the first thing you’re going to do when you get home?

I have a new product that I’ve been working on so I’m going to launch it when I get home. It’s a pumpkin soup.

What’s it been like working with people from different countries?

It’s been great, I’ve learned a lot from them and from their businesses.

What has your experience been of Sweden?

Sweden is beautiful, but the weather is not so good (laughs).

 

Click here to read Joyce’s profile.
Click here to visit Josmak’s website.

 

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    “When I leave here it’s like my network can span the whole world”

“When I leave here it’s like my network can span the whole world”

Is it possible to make car ownership redundant in South Africa by 2025? Ask Fikile Magadlela, co-founder of bike-sharing business iBoni, and he’ll say “yes!”.  We asked him a few questions to hear his thoughts on the bicycle culture in Stockholm, working in an international environment and the confused Swedish weather.
Why did you apply to the SE Outreach Accelerator?
Initially I applied because I needed the skills that were advertised and also it was going to expose me to a region of the world that has a culture built around what we want to create for Johannesburg, which is a cycling and bike-sharing culture. Stockholm is really exciting because it was a great opportunity to be exposed to it first-hand, so that was one of the reasons I applied. And obviously the structure of the program itself – that it was split between two periods with an implementation period in-between. It seemed very practical, that you ideate, implement and then finalize. I also did a bit of research and I looked at some of the previous participants and previous mentors and I was quite impressed so I decided to apply.
Now that you have completed the first three weeks of the program, what has your experience been like so far?
My experience has been great, just short of life changing I must say! It’s been a great opportunity to live the business and see it from the outside to compare my thoughts with some of the leading minds on some of these subjects. I enjoyed the lectures, the mentors and exposure to some of the entrepreneurs and investors – it was great.
What has been your best moment?
My best moment was….Well there [...]

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    “I am selling a message and the message is to end violence against women”

“I am selling a message and the message is to end violence against women”

Value-based pricing, culture shocks and bicycles – those are a few things Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale learned about and experienced during the first three weeks of the SE Outreach Accelerator.
Why did you apply to this program?
I applied to this program because I wanted to learn how to do business as a social entrepreneur. I wanted to learn how to market the product, how to sell the idea and how to scale the idea.
Now that you are three weeks into the program, what has your experience been like so far?
It’s been amazing!  I learned that I am not just selling bags. I am not just creating treasure – I am selling a message. Now I know there is a difference between cost-based and value-based and I know that I am selling value. I am selling a message and the message is to end violence against women. When you carry my bag you carry a message and you are supporting the idea that we must end violence against women.
What has been your biggest insight/learning?
The biggest insight is that I must not divide my social venture from the business venture. I am selling a message and the message is in the bag, so both of them have come together as one. They must be married together. None can exist without the other.
What is the first thing you’re going to do when you go back to Nigeria?
The first thing I’m going to do is to change the way I think about the value that I produce. To change the way we pay the women that produce the treasure. We cannot say add value to your life, add value to your treasure and we [...]