SpellAfrica – SE Forum Showcase

We are proud to announce that another of our SE Outreach Accelerator alumni has been awarded a prize for their social enterprise. Elvis Austins, founder of SpellAfrica, was awarded the first annual Global Innovation Award at a ceremony in Berlin. SpellAfrica is a Nigeria based enterprise working with improving English skills in impoverished areas.

Growing up in Benin City, Nigeria, Elvis Austins lacked formal education. By age 20 he was still unable to properly spell his own name. Trying to find a way to educate himself in English he started carrying a dictionary and learning words from it. Slowly his vocabulary started to improve but he wanted to make his learning more effective

Elvis realized that technology could help his learning and he found a simple method of sending SMS texts to himself with words and descriptions of the words. Not having to carry the dictionary anymore, he had better access to learning and this good idea made it easier for him to expand his knowledge of the English language.

After using this method for a while Elvis realized that it was not just him that could benefit from this method of learning, but others in similar situation could also boost their language skills. This was how SpellAfrica was born.

Elvis is an alumnus from our SE Outreach Accelerator 2013. Today, SpellAfrica, has more than 100 volunteers and just released a educational app called FotoBulary. Elvis is still trying to grow his enterprise but he and his organization has already helped countless people and this award is just another validation that he is headed in the right direction.

We at SE Forum are very proud of SpellAfrica and Elvis and we are very much looking forward to having the [...]

Banapads – SE Forum Showcase

Growing up in Uganda, Richard Bbale saw that women and girls, including his own sister, who did not have access to sanitary pads were severely hampered when it came to going about their day-to-day lives. He sought to find a solution to this issue and found that it was possible to produce cheap sanitary pads using discarded banana stems. Having become a successful venture, Banapads not only provides cheap sanitary pads for women and girls, but also employ a number of women in the production and selling of their products.

SE Forum is very proud to have helped Richard Bbale and Banapads through our Outreach Accelerator program and wish him continued success. If you believe that you have an idea which might have the same social impact as Banapads, or even greater, please make sure you apply to the 2015 Outreach Accelerator program at SE Forum. Applications will open on Monday, September 22. For more information about the Outreach Accelerator program please see here.

If you want to read more about Richard Bbale and Banapads, see the article on The Practitioner Hub.

Banapads – SE Forum Showcase

Growing up in Uganda, Richard Bbale saw that women and girls, including his own sister, who did not have access to sanitary pads were severely hampered when it came to going about their day-to-day lives. He sought to find a solution to this issue and found that it was possible to produce cheap sanitary pads using discarded banana stems. Having become a successful venture, Banapads not only provides cheap sanitary pads for women and girls, but also employ a number of women in the production and selling of their products.

SE Forum is very proud to have helped Richard Bbale and Banapads through our Outreach Accelerator program and wish him continued success. If you believe that you have an idea which might have the same social impact as Banapads, or even greater, please make sure you apply to the 2015 Outreach Accelerator program at SE Forum. Applications will open on Monday, September 22. For more information about the Outreach Accelerator program please see here.

If you want to read more about Richard Bbale and Banapads, see the article on The Practitioner Hub.

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    Call for applications to SE Forum Internship Program Autumn 2014

Call for applications to SE Forum Internship Program Autumn 2014

Social Entrepreneurship Forum (SE Forum) is a Swedish based non-profit organization, founded in 2004. SE Forum consist of a network of people working to promote, inspire and empower social entrepreneurs and those interested in the field and is currently run by a Board of Directors as well as two staff members. We are now looking for one or two interns for the fall of 2014, who will preferably be able to work full-time.

Since 2011 SE Forum has received funding from SIDA to implement an Outreach program, aiming to support entrepreneurs in Sweden and abroad who seek to address complex problems in development countries. The Outreach program is currently the primary focus of SE Forum. The most significant component of Outreach is the “SE Outreach Accelerator” that was launched in April of 2012. The Accelerator provides enterprises with important resources, tools and skill sets during an intense 8-week period through seminars, workshops and individual coaching sessions.
ABOUT THE INTERNSHIP
As an intern for SE Forum you will be involved in the daily operations of SE Forum in general, and of the SE Outreach Program in particular. The internship will involve a broad spectrum of tasks, including event coordination and administration, with a particular focus on web-development and internal and external communication. The intern will work together with and report to SE Forum’s Program Director.

The intern’s responsibilities will include:

Maintain and develop SE Forum’s profile on the web, including various forms of social media.
Assist in the project design process of SE Forums new program activities.
Assist in the recruitment process of entrepreneurs for the Outreach Accelerator-program.
Help design marketing material both for print and digital media.
Plan and organize events and seminars that aim to promote [...]

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 [...]

Yousef Odeh, Tackling the Water Shortage in Jordan

Meet Yousef Odeh, the 23 year old social entrepreneur from Jordan who has set out to tackle the water shortage issue in Jordan, specifically targeting refugee camps. The first thing that strikes you about Yousef is his bubbly self,  sense of determination and a will of his own to be a change maker.

In 3 sentences only, who is Yousef Odeh?

I am a Mechanical Energy Engineer, theatre actor and public speaker.

What does your company/organization do?

Filtro Moya provides a solution to recycle grey water, this water from shower, water basins and laundry.

What is your role? How is a typical day being you?

I am the Operations Engineer and I also work with marketing and sales. As the Operational Engineer, I ensure that an installed unit functions as it should after installation, which is conducted by the sanitation engineer.

A typical day involves emailing potential partners these could be with the steel industry as well as company working in water and wastewater management.

We are currently looking into processes to provide drinkable water and we are trying to get in touch with companies that can accomplish this. 

Why did you choose this path?

Water management is the number one problem in Jordan. There are always conferences focused on the water situation in Jordan and there are all these figures and numbers but nobody is coming up with a practical solution so why shouldn’t I start?

And why in refugee camps?

People in Jordan can’t afford to buy water, the situation is so bad people take out loans to buy water. Refugees obviously cannot afford this, there are days when they do not have a drop of water. This is not a condition that people should live in.

What’s your next step? What’s your dream/vision?

Right now [...]

Congratulations Graduates!

It has been an incredible eight weeks. Tempers have flared, laughter has echoed, there have been long sleepless nights, there have been moments of doubts and reassurance and now it’s all drawing to an end.

As the program wraps up, we held a graduation event to not only celebrate the entrepreneurs but also provide them with a chance for a final pitch to potential investors and partners. The event, dubbed ‘The Next Chapter of Social Impact’ was held at the event space Summit. The event brought together over 100 individuals consisting of entrepreneurs, investors and the general public.

SE Forums’ newly appointed Chairperson, Ylva Strander, in her opening reaffirmed the organizations commitment, goals and aspiration in developing and supporting social entrepreneurs and further contributing towards the development of the industry.

Sida Director-General, Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, who was the guest of honour, applauded the program and the work the social entrepreneurs set out to do.
“SE Outreach is not the biggest program we support, but it is one of the most important” says Charlotte. “Where we see problems, you see solutions, we need more energy focused on solutions”, she added.
The social entrepreneurs then set out one by one presenting their innovations. Each presentation was limited to a total of 15 minutes, which included eight minutes of the actual pitch and a Q&A limited to two questions from the audience.

What set this event apart from the initial presentation that was made at the beginning of the program was that this time the entrepreneurs needed to further demonstrate: their social value proposition, the problem they solve, target market and customers, financial projections and timeline, anticipated risks and competition and the funds required.

The event came to an end with Chairperson handing out certificates of [...]

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    A Thousand Blog Posts Cannot Describe the Accelerator Program

A Thousand Blog Posts Cannot Describe the Accelerator Program

Two months ago, when I read the email with the schedule of the SE-Forum Accelerator program my first reaction was: “Wow, this is amazing!” The agenda was rich in activities, workshops and events. It even included a four days retreat devoted to teambuilding at Sigtunastiftelsen in Sigtuna, the oldest town of Sweden located just one hour from Stockholm. Thereafter, I saw that the start of the Accelerator program was in the morning of Easter Monday and that workshops and coaching sessions were scheduled regardless of holidays also on May 1st, Pentecostal day and the Swedish National day. The eight weeks suddenly appeared to be very intense and my expectations for the Accelerator became even higher!

Since then the time has flown very fast and a thousand blog posts would not be enough to describe the Accelerator program in its whole. The program has gone beyond my expectations!

Teambuilding was the highlight of the first days of the program in Sigtuna. To be honest, I have always been skeptical about teambuilding activities. Every time Jessica, Andrea, Christa or Marie, the competent and hard-working SE-Forum organizers, announced a teambuilding activity I rolled my eyes. However, my fellow entrepreneurs coming from different countries and cultures made it interesting, challenging and entertaining. By the end of the week I was not only looking forward to it but I felt part of a family with inspiring and like-minded siblings from Russia, Tanzania, Jordan, Uganda, Liberia and Nepal.

Once back to Stockholm, we were introduce to The Hub, a dynamic shared working space environment, where we had the opportunity to interact with many entrepreneurs. The Hub became our daily office. As an Italian, I was also delighted to discover a very good espresso [...]

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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 [...]

So Much to Experience, Such Little Time

It is now Six weeks since the Accelerator program started and day-by-day I wish it would get longer than the eight weeks it is planned for.  I still remember the first day, I opened the window to see what the weather was like before deciding what to wear – with my sleeveless top I matched out in excitement to enjoy the sunny day and oh my! Shock horror! It was damn cold!!! Of course from where I come, when it’s a bright morning – it will be a hot day unlike the Swedish weather that combines a bright morning with a very cold day.

The many cultural differences that I have come across making me appreciate our cultural differences and the great role they play in shaping us – am so intrigued by the smiles painted on people’s faces as you walk passed them that trigger me to smile back without even thinking about “Why am smiling at a stranger”, the privilege of people paying attention and lending an ear when you get lost in the city or miscalculate your train stop.  All this has beautified my days in Stockholm.

I have enjoyed the beauty of our small group – eight social entreprenuers from different parts of the world; we are directly connected to each other both on a personal and professional level that has resulted into drawing inspiration from each other. One of the best experiences has been the feedback sessions where I encouraged one of the other entrepreneurs to use a personal story in the project pitching. She was rather skeptical in the beginning since it was something she had never done before. I get a wonderful feeling every time I see crowds and [...]