Category Archives: Research

Envision Good . tv

Check out envisiongood.tv They are following some great organizations and sharing ideas that empower real people.   Here is a sample video for you to try on.

More on Outsourcing good or bad?

I have recently found a social enterprise that seeks to serve small to medium sized outsourcing companies in places like India and Africa.  They look specifically for organizations that can also claim to create some social benefit.   So in doing some research on what is out there I came across this interesting youtube video.  What do you think?

Interview with a young Social Entrepreneur Diana Mao of Nomi Network

fireshot-capture-2-nomi-network-www_nominetwork_orgThere are some things in this world that we try to hide from.  We just can’t seem to emotionally cope with certain realities.   Does that make them any less true?  Diana Mao is the type of person who can handle facing a harsh reality and instead of hiding her eyes she embraces those who are suffering.  She is weeping with those who weep.   Diana is seeking to harness the power of market forces to empower those who are survivors of sexual trafficking and slavery.  I know you were going to try to have  a good time today and now your thinking about something sad.  Well, you can be happy when you are a part of solutions.  In our own small part we can be a part of the solution.  I don’t know Diana all that well, but I can say one thing about her – she is joyful.  What’s not to be joyful about knowing that you are giving yourself fully to be a part of the solution to a horrific issue?  So I thank Diana for helping me to see more clearly what it means to be a human being.

The following is  a short interview with Diana Mao the founder of Nomi Network.

S E What would you like to share about your journey in establishing Nomi network.

D M The journey has been a amazing! I have met some of the most amazing people who truly believe that slavery can be eradicated in our generation! I am humbled by their efforts and excited that Nomi Network is a part of the solution. Although the journey has not been easy, my passion for God and the eradication of slavery has fueled my efforts and the late nights I spend working on the Nomi Network dream.

S E How did you decide to start Nomi network?

D M I have always had a heart for this issue but encountered it first hand where I conducted research for FINCA International and interviewed micro-finance clients who make less than $1 a day. During my visit to a remote village a father tried to offer me his daughter because he could not provide for his other children.  Desperation is the breeding ground for human trafficking. When I got back from Cambodia, I decided that I needed to take action. First, I started a “prayer for the nations” meeting, where I and other like-minded individuals prayed for Cambodia as well as other countries. Then, I decided that it was time to take action.  There was already a pool of individuals who were just as passionate as me to start Nomi Network.

S E What kinds of organization and people are you looking to partner with?

DM  1 – people who are passionate about ending human trafficking and who possess skills in marketing, product design, business development, finance and international development. 2 –  companies that aim to produce a line of slave free products – social enterprises that have the capacity and potential to produce high quality products and currently employ survivors or vulnerable women 3- non-profits that have the same vision of a world without slavery

new-picture1S E What would you like to share with other young visionaries considering taking a similar step?

D M Be ready to sacrifice – Try your best and God will do the rest – Do not take “no” for an answer – You might not see immediate results, but be faithful with your efforts and it will make a difference – Collaboration and information is necessary if we want to see systematic change – I read an article from a business school that said, “vision is what drives an organization”. You already have the hard part down: it’s the vision, so now it is just about taking action.

Evan Williams at TED talks speaks about Twitter

I love it when you talk to someone about twitter and you get that blank stare.  It’s funny because I think most of us can relate to feeling that way when we first heard about Twitter.   It’s still an evolving entity, but is becoming more mainstream everyday.  We don’t know how it will evolve in the future months, but it is being used in new ways every day.

After watching the video I think it’s safe to say Evan, like the rest of us, feels  a little disoriented by this new beast.

What I use twitter for:

I use twitter to distribute my blog post and to stay connected with friends.  I also try to follow people with common interests.  I have met some really interesting people who have quickly become resources for my personal growth and developing my core interests.

My Twitter account.

Interview with Drew Harding of Senai

I valued enterprise and organizations that produce valuable products before, but my three week trip to Ethiopia changed the way I look at business forever.  In the United States we talk about how we take things for granted.  Is it even possible for us to be conscious of all that we have?  Many in our country actually despise business owners.  Yes, there is greed and many other negative symptoms, but what do we have?  Going to another country and seeing needs that we are not used to seeing helps us begin to understand what we lack and what we have.  At the same time that there is a great need in Ethiopia there is also a great challenge and a great opportunity.   On returning from Ethiopia, I began looking for ways to connect back.  Through a friend I met Drew Harding ,the founder of Senai.  I was beside myself at how I could connect so quickly with Drew’s vision.  I look forward to you having the chance to learn more about the inspiring work of Senai.

The following is an interview with Drew the founder of Senai

SE  What was your favorite thing about growing up in Ethiopia?

DH  The people and the language:  there isn’t another country I have been to where the people are so radiant and hospitable.  They literally will give you their last meal if you come to visit them.  In America, we tend to  give if we have abundance, rather than giving/sharing as a part of who we are as individuals and families.  Being able to connect to the people in their native language of Amharic instantly creates friendships and breaks down any walls of communication.  This continues to draw me back to help the people of Ethiopia.

SE  Was there anything in particular that set you on the path of building Senai?

DH  Seeing the impact of water on the communities in Ethiopia from the time I was 5 years old had a huge impact on why I started Senai.  But being able to empower indigenous business, and provide safe water for communities really launched Senai, creating a non-profit that uses Social Enterprise to meet the needs of the poor.

SE  Where did the idea for Senai come from?

DH  The name came from the Amharic word “Senai” that means “charitable and blessed”  It also was  one of a few words that could be pronounce in the Western Hemisphere!  Senai was birthed out of a passion to empower people through creating and supporting economic engines to lift people out of poverty.  I have witnessed many forms of “aid”.  Empowering people to help themselves always proved to be the most sustainable, thus Senai focuses on being the impetus to creating sustainable economic growth.

SE  What kind of people and organizations are you looking to partner with?

DH  This is a great question.  One of the other reasons for creating Senai, was to not do things on our own, but through partnerships with other businesses and non-profits.  We are currently wanting to launch a Micro-Finance division of Senai, so I am looking for people interested in MFI’s and also people to help fund the creation of communities banks in developing countries.  I want to engage businessmen and businesses to partner with Senai to empower indigenous businesses in the developing world –  tracking their impact, creating sustainable change.
 
SE  Is there anything that you would want to share with others who are considering starting an organization or social enterprise?

DH  Start serving or volunteering where you are at, whether in school, work, or retirement.  Then as opportunities come up, connect with existing non-profits that need your expertise and help.  If a niche market develops for your own non-profit, go ahead and incorporate, but be ready for a long road of paperwork and fund raising!

For more information visit senaiglobal.com

Interview with E.Factor

Whether or not you are comfortable with it, the world is changing and it’s changing fast.  New designs and technologies are changing the way we connect and take in information.  Social networking, blogs, one lap top per child and on and on.  This is an exciting time to be alive.  It is also an exciting time to be an entrepreneur.  Even in the midst of this current economic crisis many are looking to entrepreneurs to be the creative force to lead us out of this period.  If we need entrepreneurs then we need tools to empower them and help them reach their potential.

E.Factor recently celebrated their one year anniversary so I thought it would be a good time for an interview to get to know more about this service to entrepreneurs.

Thanks to Stephanie Frasco of E.Factor for taking the time to chat with me.
S.E.  What Is E.Factor?
S.F.  “E.Factor” stands for “The Entrepreneur Factor” and represents a vibrant online community and virtual marketplace designed for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs love E.Factor.com because it’s a place where they can focus exclusively on making business connections, negotiating deals, exchanging information, and advertising their products and services.
Comprised of businesspeople and investors across an array of industries around the globe, the E.Factor community is ideal for entrepreneurs looking to increase their brand exposure, establish a network of high quality contacts, and acquire the funding needed to take their enterprise to the next level.
With over 250K members in 78 different industries ranging from Web 2.0 startups to Lifestyle to “green” and eco friendly companies.  We represent a virtual economy and don’t leave anyone out.
S.E.  Do you see the state of the economy as a problem and/or an opportunity for entrepreneurs?
S.F.  I see the economy as a huge opportunity for Entrepreneurs right now.  As we see big business schemes failing(unfolding) everyday it gives Small Business and Entrepreneurs a more even playing field.  Historically speaking it is during times of economic redefinition that more millionaires are made.  There is a need for new innovation in business and new products and this is the best time to go for it!  Without Entrepreneurs we would be living in a dictated society.  The backbone of America has always relied on Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs and it is our time to shine.  Entrepreneurs will be making more jobs for those who have lost theirs and I believe the next two years will be pivotal ones.  Especially with our generation as we have our whole lives ahead of us a little hiccup in the economy is only going to make us stronger and work harder for what we believe in.
S.E. As someone with a background in social networking how important do you think networking is to new start ups and funding?
S.F.  Social Networking is the most important thing one can do for themselves.  No matter how good an idea may be if you don’t know the right people you will be stuck with a good idea and thats about it.  You need to rely on your network and help eachother to find a way both can benefit from the relationship. The world is flat and that has never been more true than with the internet and social networking. Previously, before social networks and social tools were available one’s networking was limited to the geographical location that they were in, or the places they were able to travel to.  Today, we can meet people from all over the world and communicate easily and effectively.  It is the beauty of Social Media!
Furthermore, the E.Factor also understands that offline networking is crucial to maintain relationships. Where you may start relationships online, it is offline, with the eye to eye contact, the shake of the hand, the physical aspect that really brings the relationship into one that can be trusted.  That is why the efactor holds over 100 events a year, for our members to meet one an other and bring their relationships to the next level.
S.E.  Is there any story from E.Factor’s history that entrepreneurs and investors might find interesting?
S.F.  The founding of the E.Factor is very interesting.
E.Factor was formed in 2007 by Roeland Reinders, Adrie Reinders, and Marion Freijsen – all highly skilled and well-connected entrepreneurs serving Fortune 2000 companies with innovative IT business solutions.
The trio had started work on their second book about Entrepreneurship (Adrie and Marion’s first book, The N Factor, was published earlier in 2007). The website began as a small virtual community where the authors could share info and ask for feedback by other entrepreneurs. It proved to be the beginning of something wonderful: the E.Factor. In time, the group was joined by “serial social networker” Rodney Sampson, and they went on to broaden the scope and function of the site to attract entrepreneurs globally.
With all three founders hailing from OHM, Inc., a global enterprise dedicated to assisting emerging technology companies in selling their products to Fortune 2000 corporations throughout Europe and the United States, E.Factor was founded in the idea that strategic business networking can vastly impact the future of global business and your company’s role in it.
S.E.  Any other tools you would like to mention?
S.F.  Our Master Classes.  We have several master classes on topics such as Business Development, Social Media, Marketing, Achieving Customer Service Excellence.  Each is taught by an expert in the field.  All of the classes are taught via virtual sessions.  You can find out more details on the web site.

An entrepreneurial narrative – what’s yours?

doorWhere does this passion come from?  It’s like if you have it great, but if you don’t then what.  Where do people get that passion and drive from to create something great?  They do all this in the face of great opposition.  I don’t claim to know because we are all unique but my suspicion is that there are some common base line factors.  The following is my basic and broad idea which I want to share with you.

First it’s about being.  Who are you?  I’m sure I don’t know who you are  so you might as well begin figuring that out.

Second who do you care about.  Business is service and and at an even deeper level it is the icky gushy overused word love.  In the more sterile form that we are used to business is about serving the customer.

And lastly it’s the raw skills of leadership and business sense.  Do you know enough about building an organization, accounting, management, leadership, goal setting, marketing, client fulfillment and on and on.

The following is the narrative to illustrate the process someone might have in recognizing their entrepreneurial passion.

Cathy is minding her own business trying to get by in life when she goes through a tough pregnancy and finally a life threatening bought of postpartum depression.  She is misdiagnosed and treated for the wrong symptoms.  It takes hear a month to get stable enough to just survive normally.  She studies and learns every thing she can.  People start asking her for advice and help.  She finds life from helping women get through what she went through.   She starts to ask the same question over and over.  How can I help these women?  What can be done to give them the power to survive this difficult ordeal and come through with their dignity.

Cathy reads and studies and talk to women until she thinks her brain is going to explode.  It becomes almost an obsession.  She starts writing down her ideas and testing them.  Finally she writes a book that clearly explains what it is that she believes in so strongly.  She has no idea about publishing or marketing this product so she starts a new pursuit.  The study of business.  How does it work?  How can I get this accomplished.  She is author creating an product and becoming an entrepreneur and the passion to do this comes from who she is.  I helps her to not become something different but just more mature in what she already is.

Being an entrepreneur is not taking a magic pill.  It is becoming who you are and serving what you love.  What will your story be?  Share yours no matter where you are in the process.