Debate in Macedonia – What makes your society better?

On the Thursday, 6 December 2018, Belle and co, the South African partner in the Dive Deeper into Social Entrepreneurship programme, was invited to take part in a debate hosted by lead partner in Skopje, Macedonia together with partners from Turkey, Peru, Portugal, and Romania.

The topic of the discussion focused on “What a better society in your country?” with a particular focus on the topic of social entrepreneurship. The event was open to the public and was hosted in a restuaryant called Kantina in the centre of the city of Skopje. The idea was to attract mainly young people to engage with the diverse panel and share challenges and solutions to problems affecting people in their society particularly the youth.

The debate took advantage of the fact that the consortium of partners were in Macedonia for the final evaluation meeting of the Dive programme, and could share their experience with the local community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cultural Entrepreneurship Bootcamp 2018

The Cultural Entrepreneurship Bootcamp was held over 4 days from 6-9 November 2018 at Hub@Goethe and was facilitated by Belisa Rodrigues of Belle and Co. and Russel Hlongwane.

The Goethe-Institut Johannesburg offers entrepreneurs a space to grow their creative businesses, this space is located within the Goethe Library-Gamebox-Hub complex.  Part of the Hub programme offering is a four-day intensive Cultural Entrepreneurship Bootcamp facilitated by local South African creative and cultural experts. This offer was extended to a select number of entrepreneurs active in the creative and cultural field.

The purpose was to connect fellow start-ups and entrepreneurs, like the ones from Hub@Goethe with others operating within the South African creative and cultural space, in order to share new ideas, solutions and form key industry collaborations.

The facilitators took the 20 participants through a design thinking process, where teams had to work on real ideas and challenges. The below 4 challenges were eventually elected and worked on:

HMW connect small holder farmers to global markets?; ✅ HMW build copyright into Indigenous Knowledge forms?; ✅HMW enabling emerging visual artists to access markets?; ✅ HMW build an alternative free ISP using “expired data”?

Some elements covered included:

  • Synthesizing business ideas after finding out more about customer needs
  • Defining your offering, your market and the resources you need
  • Refining your Value Proposition for your audiences and customers
  • Prototyping your product or service
  • Financing models in the creative & cultural sectors in South Africa
  • Practicing to pitch and present your findings

Besides learning about 11 different business models and using role play to demonstrate these, the most important part of the programme was pitching and prototyping presented on the last day. There was huge relief and disbelief from the groups on how much can be achieved in 4 days after intense focused energy and team work!

Prototypes ranged from giant cellphone application to service role play to web platform and even an online gallery. Critical peer feedback on pitch delivery, style and storytelling was also shared.

Below a few key moments. Thank you to everyone who brought their entire person into the process. We hope you have your exit strategy sorted 😉

 

Thank you to Goethe-Institut JohannesburgBelle & Co. and @Russel Hlongwane for the time, effort and support in holding space, facilitating process and providing guidance and at times input.

See full programme attached.

 

 

Activating Ecosystem Change!

Belle and Co. was invited as guest speaker and facilitator to open the #SwitchSeminar in Johannesburg over the weekend of the 13th October as part of the Switch Social Entrepreneurship Programme (SSEP). The seventy (70) participants included both current as well as alumni “Switchers” from all over South Africa. The seminar took place at Workshop 17 in Maboneng district, Johannesburg over two days.

Belisa Rodrigues, Director of Belle and Co., gets ready to present at #SwitchSeminar.

The #SwitchSeminar topic “Social Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in South Africa”, was also the topic of Belle and Co.’s 2-part session. The first session was an interactive presentation looking at what makes up an ecosystem including elements such as funding and finance, infrastructure, policy, regulation, networking, incubators, training, media, academic, consultants. And then it was time for the switchers to build their own ecosystems using creative means such as the Solar System or the the Human Body.

In groups, switchers had to visualise their own ecosystems, the stakeholders, gaps and how they fit into the puzzle. At the end of the seminar, during reflection time, one Switcher said that this exercise inspired and made him rethink his entire business model and internal ecosystem.

(SSEP is run by Activate Change Drivers and is part of a larger 11-month course for carefully-selected aspiring social entrepreneurs.The SSE programme helps participants nurture the development of strong social businesses, helping them to proceed from an idea to business incubation or the start-up of their initiative. See more here.)

 

 

 

 

Crowd-funding for your non-profit

Crowdfunding (CF) presentation, Thu 30 Aug 2018, AORTIC Secretariat (Mowbray, Cape Town)

On Thursday 30 August 2018, Belle & Co. Associate Alexandre Rodrigues presented a lecture on non-profit financing in South Africa, with a focus on crowdfunding.  Alex is a CAIA (Certified Alternative Investment Analyst) charter holder, and works as an investment principal at Edge Growth, an SME growth specialist and impact investor.

The presentation delivered by Alex covered the following topics:

  • What is crowdfunding?
  • How does crowdfunding work?
  • How do you put a campaign together?
  • What resources do you need?
  • What platforms can you use?
  • Q&A

The presentation lasted an hour and participants in attendance were mostly from cancer non-profit companies (NPCs) AORTIC and CANSA.  Only a few participants had had some exposure to crowdfunding, with one having run an entire campaign on rewards-based international CF platform Indiegogo (to raise funding for a music concert), another having used GivenGain (also a global CF platform, but charity-based) for on-going small donations (for their cancer related NPC) whilst the last person had mostly only heard of CF (in a corporate model run by a financial services firm, OUTvest by Outsurance – a way to crowdfund one’s investing goals).

Alex began the presentation by highlighting the main sectors that use crowdfunding (social causes at 30% followed by small businesses/ entrepreneurs at 17%, with creative industries in third place at 12%).  The various types of CF models were then briefly discussed (equity, rewards, charity and peer-to-peer/P2P lending) before the global stats on the quantum of financing raised via this mechanism were shown (over $50bn worldwide in 2016, with most devoted to P2P lending at over 75%).  SA examples of platforms offering the various CF models were presented (rewards-based: Thundafund, equity: UpRise.Africa, charity: Back-a-buddy and P2P: PeerFin/ Rainfin).

The presentation went on to describe the elements of successful campaigns (e.g. use of rich media like videos, short but punchy copy, tools to share the campaign on social media, deadlines on fundraising plus realistic targets, reaching the “tipping point” within the first 2/3 weeks etc), with a focus on South African rewards-based CF examples (mostly taken from SA CF platform Thundafund), including: Land for Lions, Siki’s Coffee Revolution and “Know Your Water”.

Alex then explained what factors to consider when choosing a CF platform for one’s campaign (fees, type of funding: all-or-nothing or keep what you raise, ability to use/ incorporate multimedia, social media sharing tools etc), before delving into the importance of defining what you need the funds for and why (clarity of purpose to engage your supporters).

The presenter then stressed the importance of having a (realistic) fundraising goal and ensuring that the campaign length is optimal (SA data on rewards-based CF campaigns show that the average successful campaign raises ~R25k over 9 weeks).

Alex then went on to explain how campaigns run by dynamic teams rather than just an individual generally outperform (mix of skills and broader networks), and how maintaining a budget for the project and campaign is key to avoid running out of cash during fundraising and execution of the project.

Towards the end of the presentation, Alex explained the significance of planning, especially during the critical times of one month prior to launch (ensuring the content is ready – rich media like photos and videos, plus copy for the story, milestones to report back to community on progress, thank you letters to donors/ supporters etc) as well as on the day (stressing the importance of being able to “launch in a day”, i.e. go all out during the 24 hours after the campaign goes live, sending links to the campaign via social media, emails and even considering a launch party to drum up excitement for the project).

Alex explained the significance of feeding back to the community throughout the campaign as an essential way to keep interest and momentum, i.e. maintaining the campaign, especially given the fact that up to 65% of the funds raised are done so in the first 2 and last 2 weeks (i.e. the importance of starting and ending strong) of a campaign.  It was noted that campaigns that didn’t get past the 30-40% fundraising mark in the first 2-3 weeks were unlikely to reach their goal by the end of the campaign.

Lastly, Alex walked the crowd through his experiences running his own charity-based CF campaign 5 years ago (in 2013) and what he did well (short, punchy copy; a thank you to donors) versus what he did poorly (lack of rich media, no updates to supporters etc).  The presentation ended with some general Q&A, during which participants asked questions such as: “what the best platform to raise charitable funding in SA was” (local platform vs international; answer: depends on if campaign could have global appeal or not, i.e. for cancer-related causes, either one could work), and “what a cancer NPC could use CF to raise funding for” (e.g. sending an underprivileged scientist to an international cancer conference; to pay for the publication/ printing of a cancer directory etc).

The group then broke for refreshments and general socializing, with catering provided for by AORTIC.

 

 

 

 

 

Young leaders at UCT learn about social entrepreneurship

Mowbray, Cape Town: August 2018

The University of Cape Town (UCT) Department of Student Affairs (DSA) runs an annual Student Leadership Programme (SLP) which is a co-curricular programme designed to create meaningful purpose-driven leaders, who are compassionate, critical thinkers and embrace difference specifically aimed at those students who are not currently in leadership positions. The programme is financially supported by the Klaus-Jürgen Bathe Leadership Programme, which is a scholarship programme supporting young leaders at the UCT.

This year 140 students and 21 peer mentors joined the programme.

Belle and Co. was asked to facilitate one of the evening sessions on “Social Entrepreneurship” using a mixture of workshop and lecture style facilitation.

The evening consisted of critical thinking exercises which required the groups to take a position [strongly agree,  agree, strongly disagree, disagree]  vis-a-vis a particular statement eg. Social Entrepreneurship is a contradiction, you cannot be socially minded and focused on profits. In groups, learners were also required to read up on a number of locally-based social enterprises [pre-reading] and in groups agree on where to place each organisation in relation to one another along a spectrum which ranged from 1-8 [1 =traditional charities to 8= traditional businesses]. Learners also explored the legal structures available to social enterprises in South Africa as well as the 9 business models one can choose from when deciding on building a business for good. In-depth discussions ensued looking sharply at the fundamental, operational and political values that drive a social entrepreneur as well as the mindset needed to start a social business. The session ended with a video of the 18 Gangster Museum, a local cultural social enterprise that aims to eradicate gangsterism in communities using storytelling, museum culture  and re-constructed prisons in the heart of communities.

The SLP programme runs every Wednesday evening and on Saturdays.

 

HCD Train-the-trainer for BASA

Parktown, Johannesburg: July 2018

On the 5th July, Belle and co. conducted a 1-day Human-Centred Design (HCD) “Train-the-trainer” workshop for Business Arts South Africa (BASA) staff, many of whom will be expected to roll out BASA educational programmes across South Africa using the recently introduced innovation methodology of human-centred design and design thinking tools.

Belisa Rodrigues, Director of Belle and Co. received Human-Centred Design training from Dartmouth College, USA in 2016; was a coach on the HCD Academic Programme for Entrepreneurs Bootcamp with 60 students at Strascheg Centrer for Entrepreneurship/Munich University in 2018; and attended the D-School design-thinking workshop at University of Cape Town. She has facilitated various workshops including an international HCD workshop based on ideo.org in Macedonia with 25 students from 9 countries.

The train-the-trainer programme was specifically designed to stimulate critical thinking behind this popular methodology; to begin to develop a sense of its origins; its applicability to the creative and cultural industries; as well as to design and share home-grown games and tools for use in the South African context.

Through-out the workshop, the participants shared their facilitation experience, tested ideas with the group, asked questions relating to difficult training senarios and shared tips, tools and tricks along the way.

The workshop ended with a design challenge: “How might we design an afrocentric version of the quintessential Marshmallow Design Challenge?” So we immersed ourselves in the marshmallow game first, analysed its pros and cons and then as a group rapidly prototyped our own homegrown design challenge game called “build your band”. In 20 mins the team, using the prototype materials provided, built musical instruments, designed costumes, and created their own songs. This collaborative game was judged on a few dimensions including team cohesion, afrocentricity and overall quality of performance.

BASA Participants had this to say about the experience:

“Lovely. What a wonderful and informative day. Thank you Belisa and team. Looking forward to building on the knowledge gained today.”

“It was truly exciting to create, think and rediscover together. Thank you colleagues. Thank you from organizing this necessary workshop for us. Thanks Belisa for giving us a great taste of our own medicine.”

 

 

HMW create a culture of reading in our communities?

Wynberg, Cape Town: June 2018

Belle and Co. collaborated with AVA Africa (host), a volunteer placement organisation for unemployed youth, on their 5-day Human Centred Design Challenge Bootcamp. The session content was inspired and informed by the Cultural Entrepreneurship Hub programme and the Dive Deeper into Social Entrepreneurship Programme. 

The 50 youth participants, who are part of a larger internship placement programme in schools to assist Grade 2 learners with reading, also undertake additional self-development initiatives and problem-solving activities. The 5-day bootcamp challenge proposed was: “How Might We Create a Reading Culture in our Communities?”.

Belle and Co. was asked to facilitate Day 2 of the bootcamp, which covers the “Inspiration” Phase of the HCD approach (refer to ideo.org model). This phase essentially aims to inspire participants to research widely and to inspire empathy for the end user.

To better understand the problem statement, participants were taken through a series of analogous examples, inspiring international cases and a host of group activities related to reading culture.

Some of the topics tackled in groups, and presented in a variety of creative ways (role playing, prototyping etc) included:

1.What is a book club, and how does it work?

2.What reading spaces do I have in my community? Think out the box

3.What is an e-book? Describe format, how to get one. Share an example on your phone. What is an audio book? Describe format, how to get one. Share an example on your phone.

4.What is the difference between non-fiction and fiction. Give examples

5.What is a zine? What is the difference between a comic book and a comic strip? Give an example

6.Find 5 products in the room that have more than 3 languages written on it. Show examples and explain.

7.How many official languages does South Africa have? Which 5 languages are the most spoken? Can you name 2 missing languages?

The session was truly inspiring and set the tone for Day 3, where each group was tasked with going out into the field to interview their target groups, end users and experts to find real stories they could use to find solutions.

Crowdfunding in Portugal

Barcelos, Portugal: June 2018

The Dive Deeper into Social Entrepreneurship Programme, run by a consortium of 9 partner countries, concluded its fourth and final training on “Crowd Funding for Social Enterprises” between 22 -27 June 2018. The Intercultural Association for All, based in Barcelos (home of the Rooster), Portugual, successfully hosted this 5-day workshop which included facilitated sessions, expert guest speakers (one of whom was Alexandre Rodrigues, Belle and Co. Associate, speaking on Investment for SMMEs in South Africa), University panel discussions and cultural city tours and exchanges among participants. The workshop ended with participants designing real crowd funding campaigns which they will “go live” with back in their home countries.

The 9 partner and participating countries were: Macedonia (lead partner), Romania, Bulgaria, Portugal (host), Greece, Turkey, Costa Rica, Peru and South Africa (through Belle and Company).

Read FULL Report Here: Dive Deeper Report – Barcelos Portugal

 

Belle and Co. 24HR Challenge Judge

Belisa Rodrigues, Belle and Co. Director, is one of the judges for the 24 HR Pitch Competition

In 2017, the Switch Social Entrepreneurship Programme (SSEP) partnered up with Startup Safari and gave one lucky Switcher the opportunity to travel to India and participate in Startup Safari. Through creating exposure on an international platform, Startup Safari seeks to grow social entrepreneurs by ‘redefining learning models and  reimagining career paths’. The partnership with Startup Safari strengthens the objectives of the Switch Programme in supporting and developing social entrepreneurs who are in various growth phases of their business, to deepen the impact of their social enterprise in their community.

Due to the success and impact of our partnership in 2017, Switch will be sending two deserving participants to India for a 10 day Eco-System Immersion Programme, where they will be exposed to global networks, innovation frameworks, and mentoring sessions, while experiencing the rich culture of India.

On the 6th of June, Switch participants will be competing in a 24 HR Challenge where they will be developing a sustainable and viable business solution to a relevant problem in South Africa. Contestants will submit a Social Business Model Canvas and a 4 minute video pitch that presents their solution to the problem. Our external panel of judges will be scoring submissions and the two winners will be announced on the 11th of June. Those winners will take off to India from 3-10 July – stay tuned as we watch their journey’s unfold!

Read about the winners here.