The Beginning of an Exciting Journey
By Elena Timofeeva
SE Outreach Accelerator Fellow, 2014
I’ve started my SE forum Accelerator program on April, 19 and I’ve been in Sweden for two weeks now. I was really excited to see other social entrepreneurs who are in the Accelerator as well, to know about their projects, participate in different workshops, meet new people and to develop my business idea.
These last weeks haven’t disappointed me at all, if anything I have had an amazing time. I’ve realized that despite all the participants having very different social enterprises, it was very helpful just to hear their stories and to know about their challenges. Even though we come from different countries, we have a lot in common and face similar challenges while leading our organizations.
During the different workshops, we were given feedback on our exercises and we assisted each other in finding and creating tools to help us get through the challenges.
SE forum staff conducted workshops on business modeling, social impact measurement, storytelling and pitching basics, social, environmental and corporate governance, we also participated in the conference on social entrepreneurship in collaboration with Sigtunastiftelsen.
One very exciting thing I have come to learn is how different the Swedish way of working is from Russia’s or America’s. It is a lot of time dedicated to teambuilding, schemes, and entertainment all these being useful exercises. We participated in public event held at The Hub, which is where SE- Forum is situated. The event, SE Bar: global Impact Voices, was the official launch of the 2014 SE Outreach Accelerator where I gave 3 minutes speech about Jewel Girls program in Russia and talked about human trafficking issue, what we do and how jewelry making is connected with the psychological assistance for trafficked victims and at-risk groups. Afterwards I had the opportunity to meet people interested in the program and tell them about JewelGirls participants, some stories and the business components of the program connected with the jewelry that is made with purpose
I personally feel we have created a big social impact in the last 5 years as we have assisted more then 900 victims. To meet people and spoke about the program in public was very inspiring as when you work day to day in your office sometimes you just cannot see all the things you have already done. Programs such as the SE Outreach Accelerator help not only to develop businesses, but also enable entrepreneurs to measure all good things that they have done. I am looking forward to the coming weeks of Accelerator and to keep working to stop human trafficking and exploitation.