beyondBeanie

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Le SIGEF 2014 a réuni 1800 participants, dont 50 organisations et associations à but non lucratif, autour de 30 intervenants internationaux dans six sessions plénières, 8 ateliers thématiques et 6 panels qui ont été autant d’occasions de riches échanges autour d’idées, projets et actions d’innovation sociale émanant de personnes venues de tous les coins du monde. A leur tour, ces échanges ont ouvert la voie à des collaborations transfrontières et des partenariats multiformes. Enfin, deux prix ont été décernés à deux projets proposant des solutions pertinentes à des défis cruciaux.

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Mehdi Hadj-Abed, qui a remporté le prix du Meilleur projet avec sa création “Eaunergie”, un dispositif d’utilisation très simple, écologique et très peu coûteux qui permet d’assainir l’eau, d’où qu’elle provienne, évoque avec une joie non feinte la façon dont le SIGEF a changé sa vie : “ Ma participation au SIGEF et le prix que j’y ai gagné, explique-t-il, m’ont fait poussé des ailes et maintenant je m’envole! En ce moment, je suis en discussion avec le Conseil général de la région Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur en qualité d’expert en matière d’assainissement de l’eau. Et je suis, par ailleurs, en discussion avec une grande entreprise pour la distribution de mon dispositif dans les territoires d’Outremer. J’ai conscience que je dois toutes ces belles choses qui m’arrivent à mon expérience au SIGEF qui a reconnu le potentiel de mon projet.”

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Hector Alvarez, de son côté, a gagné le prix du public pour son projet Beyond Beanie, une marque vestimentaire dont les profits vont directement à des femmes artisans en Bolivie. De son point de vue, le “SIGEF est un moteur parfait pour promouvoir et développer plein de projets sociaux, ou tout simplement les faire découvrir. Je conseillerai à toutes les personnes intéressées par l’action solidaire à travers le monde de découvrir la plateforme Horyou et de participer aux prochains SIGEF.”

Ces success stories, pour partie, sont la raison pour laquelle nous sommes heureux de récidiver cette année avec le SIGEF 2015 – dont le thème est : Construire de meilleures perspectives d’avenir -, et d’y accueillir encore plus de porteurs de projets. Cette nouvelle édition aura lieu du 23 au 25 octobre 2015, au Bâtiment des forces motrices, à Genève, en Suisse. L’appel à projets a été lancé en juillet 2015, aussi vous demandons-nous de vous hâter de nous soumettre vos projets innovants en les postant sur la plateforme Horyou.

Tous les projets seront examinés et ceux qui seront sélectionnés pourront être présentés par leurs porteurs au “Project Hub”, pendant la conférence. Il s’agit d’un espace dédié à l’exposition de projets socialement innovants et éthiques qui méritent d’être connus et promus.

Qu’est ce qu’un projet socialement innovant et éthique? C’est un projet qui répond à quatre critères spécifiques :

• Il doit être original et exemplaire d’une manipulation simple, nécessitant peu d’entretien et avec un faible coût initial, offrant une solution non industrielle à un problème crucial et récurrent (e.g. dispositif portable d’assainissement de l’eau ou de recyclage des restes de nourriture, équipement de premier secours multifonction et facile à transporter et utiliser, ou encore dispositif numérique de traduction multi-langues instantanée, etc.).
• Il doit être pertinent, i.e. vraiment utile là où d’autres solutions sont plus coûteuses ou plus contraignantes ou qu’elles ont tout simplement échoué.
• Le projet doit répondre à des paramètres écologiques et de développement durable clairs.
• Il doit être guidé par l’idée de proposer une solution et non par l’appât du profit.

Sur Horyou, nous croyons que vos projets et actions sont sources d’inspiration ; c’est pourquoi ils doivent être mis en lumière et soutenus.

Le monde a besoin de solutions socialement innovantes en phase avec l’éthique globale et ce qu’elle implique ; des solutions qui supposent une réflexion théorique et des idées mais qui se concrétisent dans des propositions pratiques et utiles, dans le cadre de stratégies et de méthodes qui répondent efficacement et durablement au besoin de solutions appropriées.

Dans cette perspective, le SIGEF 2015 se présente comme la plateforme idéale pour optimiser la coordination et le réseautage des stratégies et actions de toutes les parties prenantes, et promouvoir des partenariats public/privé afin de faciliter la mise en place de solutions durables et aider à identifier et proposer des moyens concrets destinés à faciliter et appuyer les opportunités d’investissement dans tous les domaines. Il ambitionne également d’aider à développer des méthodologies et critères communs d’évaluation du rendement social des solutions d’innovation sociale et d’éthique globale proposées.

Vous bénéficiez de trois dates butoir pour soumettre vos projets :

• Première date: 15 août
• Seconde date: 15 septembre
• Dernière date: 30 septembre

La cérémonie de remise de prix se fera le 25 octobre. Trois projets y recevront :

Un Prix du Jury : 5 000 CHF Un Second prix : 2 000 CHF Un Troisième prix : 1 000 CHF

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Pour participer et soumettre votre projet, il faut vous inscrire sur la plateforme Horyou en tant que membre ; une fois fait, il ne vous reste plus qu’à poster votre projet dans l’onglet “Projets”.

Pour plus d’informations et contact, cliquez ici.

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Version Française disponible ici

Last year’s SIGEF saw 1800 participants, 50 exhibitions, 30 international Speakers, 8 thematic workshops and 6 group conversations; all leading to the creation of an exchange platform of innovative and ethical projects, ideas and actions from around the world. This exchange birthed partnerships, collaborations and winners of the SIGEF projects awards left empowered to take their initiatives to the next level.

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Mehdi Hadj-Abed, creator of Eaunergie won the Best Project award. Eaunergie provides a solution to sanitary water distribution across the world, the initiative has spread it’s wings since being apart of SIGEF : “By coming to SIGEF and winning the Award, it was like I’ve won “wings” and now I’m flying! Today, I am in discussion with the Conseil General of Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur as an expert in water sanitation supply. I am also discussing with a big company on the distribution of EaumOb in the Indian Ocean territories. I feel like all the great things that have happened to me in the recent months are because of the SIGEF award. It confirmed that my project was a good one.”

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Hector Alvarez, also won best project for Beyond Beanie; a social fashion brand started in March 2014. Each profit of a clothing item purchased goes to the support of the local artisans who make them in Bolivia. Hector stated: “SIGEF serves as the perfect engine to promote and catapult social projects, or simply to find out what else is out there. I definitely recommend everyone interested in global Social Good to take a serious look at the platform, as well as to participate in future SIGEF events.”

These success stories are part of the reason we are excited for SIGEF 2015 – Shaping better times to come. The Forum will take place from the 23rd to 25nd October 2015 at the Bâtiment des Forces Motrices in Geneva, Switzerland. The call for projects began in July 2015 and we are eager to receive all the inspiring and innovative projects on the Horyou platform.

Projects selected will be within the Projects Hub during the conference. This space is dedicated to displaying socially innovative and ethical projects that deserve to be showcased.

What exactly are socially innovative and ethical projects? They have three main key characteristics:

• An exemplary and original project that provides a unique, low cost, easy manipulation, non industrial solution to a problem.
• The projects must have ecological and sustainable parameters.
• The project is solution centered as opposed to profit centered.

Horyou believes in the projects and actions posted on the platform from all types of fields and industries. They are a source of inspiration that need to be supported and brought to light. This demands a rhetorical reflection as well as practical and useful ideas in accordance with strategic methods that provide an effective and durable solution. SIGEF 2015 will be the ideal platform to facilitate coordination and networking of these strategies and actions coming from its participants. By promoting private and public partnerships, developing common methods and criteria it takes social innovation and ethics to the next level. The forum will also attempt to come up with and offer concrete means by which to facilitate investment opportunities in various domains.

There are three deadlines to submit projects:

• First deadline: August 15th
• Second deadline: September 15th
• Third deadline: September 30th

The award ceremony will take place on October 25th . Three projects will receive the SIGEF award supported by the Horyou Foundation and in respective amounts in the following order: Jury Price: 5 000 CHF Second Runner – Up: 2 000 CHF Third Runner – Up: 1 000 CHF

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For a chance to participate please submit your project by signing up to Horyou as a member and post your project on the platform.

For more detailed information and contact information click here.

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Projects on the Horyou platform are a key component in the promotion of social good. By starting an individual or group Project on Horyou, you can gain exposure, recognition, support and much more.

We recently interviewed Hector Alvarez from beyondBeanie, the winner of the SIGEF 2014 Call for Projects People’s Choice Award. Horyou believes in bringing visibility to projects that positively affect their communities. This is the case with beyondBeanie.

*Let’s first talk about this idea. How did it happen?

It all started during a trip to Bolivia in summer of 2013 in which I went to visit Paty, a friend whom I had gotten to know some years earlier in California. While traveling, my friend and I were talking about the hardships faced by the women artisans of Bolivia who struggle to make a living through selling their creations to tourists and passersby in the streets of La Paz and Uyuni. I really liked their knitted creations, especially the beanies! I went ahead and got myself a few of my favorite ones back to Europe. Once winter started to set in Switzerland, I showed around my Bolivian beanies to my friends to get their feedback. I was very pleased to see that they liked them too, and even more once I showed them the pictures of my trip as well as pictures of the artisans and local people whom I had met. What happened next was that I told my Bolivian friend to send me some products that I would try to sell through my friends. Paty went back to La Paz from her hometown Cochabamba (a six-hour drive), organized a few artisans and made some sample products for me. It was important for us to let my friends know who made their products. Therefore, every product includes the name of the artisan who made it, whom my friends could meet through photos. While talking to Paty, we also realized that there was a great need to help street and orphan children in Bolivia, and that is how the idea to have every product attached to a help of children came to be. Our project finally came life in March 2014 and I said to myself: “I’m ready for this!”

How is bB making a difference?

We are making a difference by creating sustainable local jobs for women artisans so that they no longer have to go out on the streets and leave their children unattended, as well as continuing to help children in need with every item sold (one beanie = five meals, one bag = one set of school supplies, one poncho = one school uniform).

Something we find very interesting is your approach to bB: “BeyondBeanie is a lifestyle brand.” Can you give us your insight on this?

What we mean by lifestyle is that we do not just want to be a brand which sells products but which also educates people about how their everyday life choices can make a positive impact to the world. We believe that by combining fashion with solidarity, we can create a brand that can create sustainable change – a brand which conscious-minded consumers not just appreciate but also “live,” as opposed to just “wear.”

There are many people involved in this process: artisans, local organizations and communities, the bB team, among others. How does the entire process work?

Yes, it is indeed a very large and complex process in which there are lots of parts and people involved.

First of all, it all starts with the idea that even though we do charitable work, it is our goal to position ourselves as a fashion brand so that we can make our social enterprise sustainable over the long run (the idea is to have people want to shop our products first and foremost because they are catchy and cool while having the added value of giving back, instead of simply buying because they feel sorry about street children and shop simply to support, but just wear our products once or maybe twice in their whole lives).

In order to come up with great looking and trendy products, we spend a whole lot of time studying and following fashion trends, which is mostly done by Paty and her assistant, Renee. In addition, we do also work in close collaboration with top fashion bloggers and bloggers such as Depeches Mode in France, or Braided Bliss, Victoria Moronta and Lisa Marie Prang in the USA, who all evaluate and try our products and submit feedback to us.

Once the products’ prototypes are approved and OK’d by our sample population, Paty will indicate to the artisans their specifications, such as required texture and wool, lengths and diameters, etc. This process is not always easy, as the product making can have some variations from person to person (our items are not industrially made but rather individually crafted, knitted, weaved and sewn by our talented artisans.

Even though most of our artisans whom we support already have good knowledge and experience in knitting and weaving, they still require training to understand how to master the making and specifications of our products. Therefore, we have learned that it is important to prepare everything several months in advance.

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Fortunately, the part of forming collaboration with children centers to support has been relatively easy since Paty already had some connections with children’s centers that needed help and were eager to accept our support. The main problem was mainly in the beginning to try to understand what are the centers’ greatest needs, but once we understood them, the rest has been relatively easy.

Then the process that relates to the team, interns and volunteers helping in the project, we have a global team, which is divided, in two continents (Bolivia in Latin America and Switzerland, Germany and the UK in Europe, and most recently in the USA). The first few months when we got established were definitely difficult. In short, we all had to put lots of effort to deal with time differences, learn each other’s tasks, etc. Anyhow, everyone who has gotten on board has always felt a strong commitment and interest in the success of the project. Therefore, this has been a very powerful ingredient that has kept us together, even when things have gotten rough along the way.

I hope this gives a good overview about how everything works and flows. :)

What is your vision for bB? What do you think it can become?

It’s my dream to become a brand of choice for people who care about social good, as well as to hopefully serve as an example to other projects.
In the future, we would like to continue to expand our presence into other countries and online presence, as well as to continue to form collaborations with other awesome organizations that promote and “live” social good, such as Horyou.

Finally: What is your Dream? What is you Inspiration? What does the word “Action” mean for bB?

My dream for bB is to continue to develop our social brand, to keep establishing partnerships with similar-minded organizations, to keep promoting social good, all while educating consumers and impacting lives. Our inspiration here at bB is the happy faces and see how lives get changed to the about 80 children in two centers and 17 artisans that we support. The word “action” means to go out of one’s box and dare to do things in a different way to create positive change not just for oneself but to those around us too.

Thank you to Hector and all of the people from the beyondBeanie team for taking the time to share their vision with Horyou and for the video bB dedicated to us! We wish your 2015 to be full of many more accomplishments in the promotion of arts and education by strengthening the communities you directly support.

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