The social entrepreneur Ilaina Rabbat co-founded Amani Institute with the wish to address one of the biggest challenges of our times: education for social change. Based in Nairobi, Kenya, the institute offers courses on social innovation management, short term courses for professionals on leadership and management, and tailored programs for companies and educational institutions, all focused on the social sector. In this interview to Horyou blog, Ilaina talks about her motivations to work with social innovation, Sustainable Development Goals and her wishes for the next 20 years:

Interactive classes at Amani Institute
Interactive classes at Amani Institute

When and why have you decided to become a social entrepreneur?

It was in 2010 when I was working at Ashoka, where I met Roshan Paul (my current co-founder). We were discussing the importance of training professionals to solve the world’s gaps, as opposed to market gaps. Education and social change have always been my passions. I had already had experiences in both sectors. Now was the time to put those passions to the service of a project that I deeply believe in. Amani Institute was that. In 2012 Roshan and I moved to Nairobi, Kenya, leaving behind comfort and security to start something that almost no one believed could work!

What’s the social or environmental impact of your project?

Our mission is to develop professionals who produce social impact by creating new models of education and training that enable people to develop new practical skills and experiences for their professional toolkit, as well as a personal understanding of their own leadership journey, and the global networks necessary for long-term career success. All this while simultaneously reducing the high cost of a world-class global education. As a result, we build much-needed talent and capacity in organizations addressing social problems, thus enabling more effective operations across the entire social sector.

Field trips
Field trips

Which Social Development Goals does your project address?

We directly address the “Quality Education” goal but indirectly all of them, since our mission is to train people to contribute to these goals.

What is the biggest challenge for a social entrepreneur?

To never give up! There are many moments when you think your idea is not realistic. Those are hard moments. You have to stick to your long-term vision to go through the ups and downs of an entrepreneurial journey.

Classes at Amani Institute
Classes at Amani Institute

What inspires you to face everyday’s challenges?

What inspires me is hope! To believe that it is possible to have a better world and that we, human beings, can make it happen.

What’s the importance of social networks to your project? Within our social network for social good, we host more than 1000 social entrepreneurs who advocate their impact-driven projects. To what extent do you consider the role of the Internet and social platforms in fostering social entrepreneurship and, by extension, social impact?

At Amani Institute, social media is central to our goals because we are a global organization that wants to attract people that want to live a life of meaning and impact from all around the world. It would be almost impossible to do it without the force of the Internet and social media.

Interactive Social Innovation classes
Interactive Social Innovation classes

How do you see the future of social entrepreneurship? Where do you see your project in 20 years

I think social entrepreneurship will be the norm. We see at Amani Institute that more and more people want to have a meaningful life where they can have a real impact in the world and in someone else’s life. Not necessarily through starting a social venture but through bringing new solutions to social problems in different sectors such as the private and public ones. That is what we call them social Intrapreneurs.

I hope to see my project dying in 20 years because we are not needed anymore. I hope that by 2037 it will be the norm in education and training to talk about social impact and meaning. That everyone who wants will be able to have a life where they are aligned with themselves and with the world. I see a world full of social innovators and a much better world for all.

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

Barcelona is well-known for its tourist attractions – beautiful architecture, vibrant nightlife and great food -, which makes it one of the most visited places in the world. Yet, there is something more than attracting the occasional visitors that the Catalan capital wants to earn: the status of first Social Business big City. As a supporter of social businesses around the world, Horyou interviewed Anna Domenech, spokesperson for Social Business City Barcelona.

Barcelona Social Business City
Barcelona Social Business City

What does Social Business City Barcelona stand for?

Social Business City Barcelona (SBC Barcelona) is an International program of intervention, created by Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace prize in 2006, known as the promoter of microcredit and social business concepts. The creation of this international initiative has the purpose of spreading the concept of social business around the world, at a time when an international social business movement is arising worldwide that involves people, organizations and societies. This movement aims to promote and support social entrepreneurship and social business as a tool to deal with and solve the social needs and challenges of the city. From this global ecosystem, a new concept on how to solve social problems in a territory emerges, in a holistic and collaborative way: Social Business City (SBC). In order to reach that objective, SBC Barcelona has created a huge alliance between different actors in the city to work together for a social and economic change. Currently, SBC Barcelona is supporting the creation of new social enterprises, accompanying NGOs to create social businesses, undertaking social business communication campaigns, training sessions and workshops for students, and boosting university research and teaching. An important thing to consider is what we mean by social business: organizations whose main objective is to achieve a positive social impact, using the sale of a product or a service as a tool. The profits are reinvested in their own activity (no-dividend), to make more effective and enduring its main goal: to create impact and generate social change.

You have a very bold mission – to transform Barcelona into the first big social business city in the world. What is your strategy and timeline to reach this goal?

Before Barcelona, Wiesbaden (Germany), Pistoia (Italy) and Fukuoka (Japan) got involved in the SBC initiative. The latest incorporation has been Ipoh, in Malaysia. These initiatives are being developed in very different realities, especially regarding the size of the cities which are taking part. In Pistoia, for example, the program is carried out by the University of Florence. In Barcelona, we have four public universities and a large number of private universities and business schools. We have obtained the commitment of all the public universities and four private universities. So, the initiative in Barcelona requires the articulation of an extensive city; it also calls to deal with the multiplicity and complexity of all the actors involved. On the other hand, it should be noted that Barcelona presents a great, strong and rooted civil society where many alternative forms of production and consumption have developed throughout the years; forms such as cooperatives are traditionally very powerful in Catalonia. In this sense, there’s a big task of including, cooperating and interacting with all the actors. Social entities and social businesses, universities, private entities, the third sector and the Barcelona city council are involved in the project since its inception.

Lab 'co-creating social business'
Lab “co-creating social business”

What are your main challenges today?

Our main objective now is to spread the concept of social business, to make visible other ways of doing business where economic activity becomes a potential and sustainable tool to face the social needs and challenges. It is necessary to give support and awareness to civil society that there are many initiatives and entrepreneurs that are creating business from a critical, transformative and committed social perspective. With SBC, we are supporting and promoting the creation of these companies that are based on social, environmental and cultural view, which allow the introduction of transformative perspectives and relationship to change the rules, and the type of thinking required for a radical transformation of the economic system. In order to achieve that, on the one hand, we’re doing a lot of training activities in universities and schools; we grant several awards for the best social business projects to university and professional training students, and we’re launching communication campaigns and activities that involve civil society. On the other hand, we’re carrying out the Lab Co-Creating Social Business, which offers support to social entrepreneurs: an intensive workplace, workshops, support and advice in the process of creation a new social business.

Are you engaged with the Sustainable Development Goals?

We’re engaged with SDG because we think it’s totally necessary to adopt this set of goals as a part of a new sustainable development global agenda. We think in a global way and consider that all these goals should be intrinsic to all activities of all organizations, in the common world we’re living in. However, we’re working from a territorial vision, through the identification of different social challenges which must be faced in Barcelona. The first main challenge identified was to reduce youth unemployment in the city, an unsustainable situation which requires to be approached immediately, by the cooperation and implication of all the city’s agents. To revert this problem will take time and effort. That is why we need sustainable and coordinated solutions, focused towards the reduction of youth unemployment, but guaranteeing sustainability and maximization of its social impact in the future, and counting on the youth community as agents who can transform a reality that affects them directly. Some of other challenges we are working on are high pollution rates, migrations, negative tourism effects in the city, right to housing, or education.

In your opinion, are civil society and private sector more aware and committed to social businesses?

In the recent years, we have witnessed a series of events, both locally and globally, which have shaken the dominant socio-economic structures, demonstrating the need to re-think and transform the system. We grew up in a context where the hegemonic economic actors have shown to prioritize growth measured in personal profits at the expense of the interests based on people and common welfare, where business relations have strengthened poverty, exclusion, social inequality, and environmental devastation. But for a long time, different and alternatives ways of doing business have been raised, showing that other forms of production, exchange and consumption is not only possible, but a reality. One way of doing business is where economic activity becomes a potential tool to face challenges and social needs. In a distressing global reality, we believe that people are becoming more aware of the importance of betting for sustainable and responsible ways of life; and we believe that it’s absolutely necessary for a committed and aware civil society to generate new public policies favourable to this socio-economic change.

Teaching a course of social economy at the university

Horyou is a social network for the social good. How important is to have social networks engaging and promoting social businesses?

We think it’s crucial to place the new forms of communication, of sharing information and knowledge at the service of social and sustainable proposals. It’s evident that social networks present new opportunities, intensifying the connections and the possibilities of cooperation. So we think it’s necessary to redirect this innovative tools towards new ways of collaboration in order to co-create and build collective knowledge and experience around social enterprises and social economy.

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

Contar histórias emocionantes para promover mudanças positivas na sociedade. Esse é o propósito do publicitário Marco Iarussi, que promove campanhas digitais na internet com o objetivo de arrecadar fundos para projetos de cunho social e humanitário. Fundador do projeto “Curta a Ideia – Vídeos que Mobilizam”, Marco é um membro ativo da nossa plataforma e um dos concorrentes ao SIGEF Project Awards. Ele falou com o nosso blog sobre suas conquistas, planos para o futuro e sobre a proposta de fazer “marketing pelo bem”.

Curta a Ideia apresentando o seu projeto no SIGEF
Curta a Ideia apresentando o seu projeto no SIGEF

1. Qual é a história do Curta a Ideia?

Sou publicitário e conheci a jornalista Tati Vadiletti quando trabalhávamos em um programa de televisão, na cidade de São Paulo. Apesar de sermos apaixonados pela comunicação e o audiovisual, sentíamos que aquele trabalho não despertava uma transformação na vida das pessoas. Nós acreditamos que a comunicação é uma ferramenta poderosa para transformar realidades, por isso fomos em busca do nosso sonho: contar histórias através de vídeos que mobilizam.

Foi por isso que em 2011 surgiu o ‘Curta a Ideia’ com a proposta de ser um canal de vídeos na internet que promove iniciativas e profissionais que oferecem o seu talento para transformar realidades. Nossa intenção sempre foi registrar histórias de pessoas que conectadas com seu coração, que serviam ao próximo ou defendiam uma causa. Por conta disso, o trabalho teve uma grande aceitação com organizações do terceiro setor; foi então que encontramos o nosso propósito: colocar nossa expertise com comunicação e audiovisual a serviço de grande causas, impulsionando iniciativas na internet com um video envolvente, que convida a uma transformação. É isso que sempre fizemos: vídeos que mobilizam! Nosso slogan é o que melhor nos define: “luz, câmera e coração”!

2. Um trabalho paralelo que você desenvolve são as campanhas de marketing digital para pessoas carentes. O que motivou a criação desse projeto?

Nosso propósito sempre foi usar a comunicação para promover o bem e nós acreditamos no poder da internet para gerar bondade. Embora o propósito das redes sociais seja conectar pessoas, o ambiente tecnológico muitas vezes distancia o homem das relações humanas. Nossa intenção com as campanhas sociais é criar a oportunidade para quebrar esse gelo, gerar conexões, oferecer ao usuário das redes a chance de praticar a empatia e, quem sabe, transformar uma vida.

3. Uma das campanhas mais bem-sucedidas que você desenvolveu foi para uma paciente que necessitava de células-tronco. Como você conheceu a história da Gigi e o que te mobilizou a trabalhar nessa campanha voluntariamente?

A campanha da Gigi foi extraordinária. Um caso que veio para comprovar a nossa missão de vida. Conhecemos a Gigi no Centro Espiritual do João De Deus, um médium brasileiro conhecido internacionalmente. Ela estava lá em busca da cura e o caso dela nos chamou muita atenção, por isso sabíamos que as pessoas na internet poderiam se engajar naquela causa. O curioso é que ela estava há muito tempo pedindo ajuda de porta em porta e sua presença na internet era quase inexistente, por isso havia muita dificuldade na arrecadação e o valor de 30 mil dólares era um objetivo quase impossível, mas por obra do acaso, ela encontrou justamente um casal que trabalha com marketing digital para causas sociais. Foi então que começou uma linda história de amor, boas ações e generosidade. Em poucos dias a campanha rodou o mundo e a Gigi recebeu doações do Japão, Finlândia, Austrália, Suiça, entre outros países. Em vinte dias, a campanha teve que ser finalizada, pois já tinha atingido múltiplas vezes o valor necessário, o que possibilitou o pagamento do mesmo tratamento para outras duas pessoas. Essa ação se tornou a maior campanha solidária do Brasil em 2016. Foi muito emocionante receber mensagens de pessoas nos agradecendo por ter dado a elas oportunidade de ajudar o próximo.

Marco Iarussi em uma das gravações para o Curta a Ideia
Marco Iarussi em uma das gravações para o Curta a Ideia

4. Conte quais foram os principais destaques do ano de 2016 e seus planos para 2017.

Além da campanha da Gigi, promovemos também outras três ações, sendo que a do Lucas José pode ser considerada a segunda maior campanha solidária do ano. Atualmente estamos com a campanha ‘Ame a Fernanda’, uma brasileira de 34 anos que foi aceita em pesquisas para a cura da AME – Atrofia Muscular Espinhal nos Estados Unidos. Ela tem grandes chances de sair da cadeira de rodas e voltar a andar, embora o tratamento seja gratuito ela precisa de fundos para custear sua permanência por um ano e meio no país. Estamos empenhados em conseguir mobilizar pessoas que apoiem essa causa, mas é uma corrida contra o tempo, pois ela tem somente até o mês de janeiro para entrar no programa de pesquisas. Para 2017 queremos ampliar a nossa atuação com o marketing pelo bem. Sabemos que muitas pessoas precisam de uma chance para transformar sua vida e que, por outro lado, muitas outras podem praticar a generosidade e olhar para o próximo.

5. Quais são os seus principais desafios e o que te motiva a superá-los?

Nosso maior desafio é nos tornarmos um canal de confiança, onde as pessoas possam realizar doações na certeza de que farão para uma iniciativa transparente, ética e comprometida. Infelizmente, existe uma certa desconfiança com projetos sociais na internet, mas nosso compromisso é com a prestação de contas e transparência das ações, pois devemos estimular a cultura da bondade e da colaboração no ambiente online. Quando as pessoas descobrirem o poder das redes sociais para promover boas ações, elas conseguirão mudar o mundo.

6. Você é um membro ativo de nossa comunidade e, este ano, participou com o seu projeto no SIGEF. Como avalia essa experiência?

Apresentar o nosso projeto no SIGEF2016 foi uma oportunidade de compartilhar com iniciativas globais o nosso propósito de promover o bem na internet. No evento, pessoas do mundo inteiro puderam trocar experiências, aumentar o seu repertório e certamente voltaram com muito mais vontade de fazer acontecer suas melhores intenções. Foi assim com a gente!

7. Qual mensagem você deixaria para a nossa comunidade Horyou?

Dizem que os bons são a maioria e que os querem mudar os mundo são muitos, mas eles estão espalhados por aí… Eu digo que a Horyou é o canal onde essas pessoas se encontram. Sempre que estou na plataforma, me encho de esperança vendo tantas iniciativas incríveis. O que tenho a dizer aos membros da comunidade é que o amor nos conecta e que eu acredito que conseguiremos mudar esse planeta, através deste amor.

Entrevista: Vívian Soares

From September 22-24, the University of Central Lancashire Cyprus will be the stage for the 2016 Grand Jury to share their expertise and experience and to select this year´s Winners of the European Youth Award (EYA)

European Youth Award selects innovative projects made by young entrepreneurs
European Youth Award selects innovative projects made by young entrepreneurs

On that occasion, 20 international experts will meet in Larnaca, Cyprus, to select one to three winners in each of the eight European Youth Awards Categories, from a shortlist of 49 digital projects out of 167 submissions from students and entrepreneurs.

“This year again, the European Youth Award offers an outstanding selection of innovative digital projects using digital communication and IT to improve society and tackle pressing challenges. The passion and willingness to drive positive change of these young people is remarkable. The international experts of the Grand Jury will provide their time and expertise to select the best projects in the eight categories for #EYA16“, says Peter Bruck, founder of EYA.

A highlight of the EYA Grand Jury meeting will be the Expert Forum, held on September 23rd and open to the general public. During the Forum, the EYA Grand Jury experts will discuss current challenges for digital entrepreneurship. The Grand Jury and Expert Forum in Cyprus are hosted by the Ministry of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism, the Digital Champion of the Republic of Cyprus and the University of Central Lancashire Cyprus.

The selected one to three best digital projects per category of 2016 will be invited to the winners event, the EYA Festival, which will take place in Graz from November 30 to December 3. During the event, they will present their projects and solutions on stage and have the opportunity to gain knowledge and prime contacts through a special mentorship program lasting from September till December. The dedicated mentors are business personalities like Anna Wypior (SAP, Germany), who will coach the winning teams and provide business know-how, entrepreneurial expertise and experience.

European Youth Award is a Horyou partner with SIGEF 2016.

What can the world’s most innovative countries teach the rest of the world? The Global Innovation Index, jointly launched this month in Geneva by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) gives some hints about the path to create a culture of innovation.

Bruno Lanvin, from Insead, presents the results of Global Innovation Index
Bruno Lanvin, from Insead, presents the results of Global Innovation Index

Innovation is not exclusive to developed countries; that is the most important Global Innovation Index (GII) conclusion. The Index is best known for its ranking of the world’s 25 most innovative economies. This elite, lead by rich Switzerland, Sweden, UK and the United States, also counts middle income members like China – this 9th edition’s newcomer.

The GII analyzed 128 countries based on 82 indicators, including data, ranks, strengths and weaknesses – and despite China’s rise, there is still room for other middle income countries. “An ‘innovation divide’ persists between developed and developing countries amid increasing awareness among policymakers that fostering innovation is crucial to a vibrant, competitive economy”, states the GII report. 

According to the Index, innovation requires stability on policies and continuous investment, irrespective of governments or political beliefs. Expenditure on research and development is a good example – these are key investments to ensure long-term economic growth, especially in the current economic climate.

Education and research are also critical features of innovation – factors as number of scientific publications and international patent filings stand out among top innovators. Says Soumitra Dutta, Dean of Cornell College of Business and co-editor of the report: “Investing in improving innovation quality is essential for closing the innovation divide. While institutions create an essential supportive framework for doing so, economies need to focus on reforming education and growing their research capabilities to compete successfully in a rapidly changing globalized world.”

Infographic GII

Winning with Global Innovation

One of the conclusions of the report is that innovation has no borders as the GII points out the increasing share of disruption lead by globalized networks. For this reason, cross-border information and talent flow are on the rise, fostering global economic growth. “On the one hand, more emerging countries are becoming successful innovators, and on the other hand, an increasing share of innovation benefits stems from cross-border cooperation”, explains Bruno Lanvin, INSEAD Executive Director for Global Indices.

In order to improve this collaboration, innovation policies should be more clear and open to international exchanges and diffusion of knowledge across borders. According to the GII, digital has become a primary driver of this “revolution”, although we are only at the beginning. “Realizing success in today’s new landscape requires creative, forward-thinking strategies that embrace digital and address the need to change the fundamental ways of working”, says Johan Aurik, Managing Partner and Chairman of the A.T consultancy, one of the partners of GII.

Written by Vívian Soares

EYA 2015 Winners
EYA 2015 Winners

Since 2009, the European Youth Award have been rewarding youth innovation and creativity in technology. The award is an undertaking of the International Center for New Media (ICNM), a member of Horyou, the social network for social good, which also organizes special events and grants awards to support innovation and entrepreneurship.

This year, EYA’s applications are open to European entrepreneurs, startups and students who dream to develop their creative potential and benefit from some of Europe’s leading business personalities’ mentoring. Speaking for ICNM, Birgit Kolb has granted us the following interview.

EYA Festival Workshop
EYA Festival Workshop

– What is EYA and when was it created?

The European Youth Award (EYA) is a pan-European contest for young people, entrepreneurs and startups creating digital projects to improve society. It was called into life in 2012 by Prof. Peter A. Bruck, Honorary Chairman of the International Center for New Media, and is conducted under the patronage of the Council of Europe and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities.

The Winners Event (EYA Festival) is a unique event combining knowledge, innovation, networking, inspiration and motivation. It takes place in Graz, Austria, in November of each year.

– What are your goals in supporting innovation among youth?

The goals of the European Youth Award are

  1. Showcasing and promoting the most innovative digital projects by young developers, entrepreneurs and start-ups from all over Europe.
  2. Demonstrating young people’s creative potential and entrepreneurial spirit.
  3. Taking action on Europe’s most pressing issues such as employment, resource management, health, education, urban development, cultural diversity and social inclusion.
  4. Contributing to the progress towards the goals defined for Europe 2020 by the Council of Europe.
  5. Connecting next generation of IT pioneers with experienced experts from business, technology, education and science.
  6. Encouraging inspiration and international exchange of knowledge, ideas and visions.
Festival Gala Ceremony
Festival Gala Ceremony

– In times of technology and business disruptions, how do you support socially and environmentally responsible innovations?

We believe that knowledge and a vibrant network are the key factors for success. Therefore, we support EYA Winners by giving them an international stage to pitch their project and get comprehensive feedback from experts, mentors and students analyzing the winning projects profoundly.

The EYA network is a most vibrant and lively one. Individuals attending one of our events usually say that it is a very unique experience that they would have never wanted to miss. They usually feel like they have become a member of a new family where they can receive support and guidance any time.

That’s how we think that socially and environmentally responsible innovations can be supported best.

– Can you mention some interesting innovative projects that participated in the last editions?

Sure, plenty! All of the EYA winners are very unique. Perhaps the following links are good examples to show the great variety of EYA and its projects: I Mirabilia, Jerry Do It Together , GovFaces and Aprendices Visuales.

European Youth Awards
European Youth Awards

– How many applications do you expect this year? Call the Horyou community to participate and apply their projects!

We expect more than 100 applications this year. The deadline is on July 31 – we kindly invite the Horyou community to take this unique chance and apply now with their creative, digital project with impact on society!

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