Young students from all over the world gathered for a 4-day entrepreneurship school
Young students from all over the world gathered for a 4-day entrepreneurship school

It’s a warm day in Geneva. A group of young entrepreneurs from different backgrounds and cultural origins is gathered for the first of the 4-day program of the Entrepreneurship School. The educational project, in its 25th edition, is an initiative of ThinkYoung, a Brussels-based think thank which aims to improve the youth world and provide developing tools to young people. The goal of the program is to create, in groups, management projects until the end of the week – the best one will be awarded for its creativity, feasibility, sustainability and profitability.

The first speaker of the afternoon is Yonathan Parienti, CEO and founder of Horyou. Surrounded by curious faces, he has to present the social network for social good and then, be ready to answer the questions of each group for 5 minutes, in rounds. They are challenged to make as many questions as possible, to push the speaker as much as possible. Eager, they want to know about everything – funding, recruiting, partnerships, personal features.

Parienti seems happy about their passion and curiosity – it is exactly what he expects from this generation of future business leaders. “The new generation is getting ready to manage their own business very soon. Being an entrepreneur is not to wait for things to happen but to build something that is missing in the world”, he says. He is asked to tell his story – a former banker from JP Morgan and Bank of China who, after 13 years on the financial market, decided to build his own company, inspired by the dream to make the world a better place.

Yonathan Parienti presented Horyou and shared his entrepreneur experience
Yonathan Parienti presented Horyou and shared his entrepreneur experience

Like many entrepreneurs, Yonathan kept his job while he was working on the initial steps of Horyou. After a few months, he finally decided to “jump” into the entrepreneurial adventure. “At some point you have to give all your energy and time – and then you literally jump”, he says. Between 2012 and 2013, he built the team and in December 2013 he launched the Horyou platform – which now congregates a community of more than 250,000 users and 1,100 organizations from 180 countries and is currently closing its 4th investment round.

The audience is very interested about investors and partnerships – the best advice, he says, is to choose them very well. “Be certain that people that invest in your company really match your ideals and the ideals of your company. If you don’t have the right investors with you, your chance of success will be compromised”, he says. It’s not only a matter of being chosen, then. It’s a match.

Marketing strategy

Connect online and offline worlds for the social good. This is one of the missions of Horyou, but it was not an obvious choice since the beginning. “We started as a social media platform, but soon we realized we needed to be more, to truly connect with members and organizations”, he says. The first experience was with the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum, the SIGEF, in 2014, organized in Geneva by Horyou. “When we gathered 2,500 global citizens, coming from all over the world, meeting for 3 days of interactions, it was the very key moment we saw what we were doing was meaningful”, he says. The growth strategy continued with digital campaign, documentaries, the launch of Horyou blog, Horyou TV, the mobile application and other projects that made the enterprise unique and continuously innovative. Currently, Horyou team is organizing the 3rd edition of SIGEF, which will take place in November in Marrakesh, Morocco, during the COP 22. It’s, indeed, a match.

Young entrepreneurs were curious and asked for advice
Young entrepreneurs were curious and asked for advice

Challenges and opportunities

When asked about challenges, Yonathan is optimistic. “Life is not about failure and success. It’s about what do you do now. It is about finding the energy and resources to face whatever challenges. I find this in people we support and I get inspired by them”. As an advice for the future entrepreneurs, he says: “Challenges should be seen as part of the path for a start up. You have to plan it. You have to go for what you need. Be confident, believe in your project”.

After a few round of questions, the lecture is done. However, the entrepreneurs are not tired of asking – they surround Yonathan during coffee break and ask for more – contacts, stories, but advices over all. The last one, before leaving, is that there is not such a thing as a recipe for success. Trust your intuition, he says. It is and will be your best friend.

Written by Vivian Soares

Media for Social Impact Summit engaged businesses and journalists
Media for Social Impact Summit engaged businesses and journalists

On June 1st, the UN Office for Partnerships and Public Foundation hosted the Media for Social Impact Summit 2016 . The event brought together representatives of numerous companies working in the area of media for social good. During the day of intense collaborative work, notable speakers, such as Susan McPherson, founder and CEO of McPherson Strategies, Aaron Sherinian, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer at UN Foundation, and Sean Southey, CEO of PCI Media Impact, addressed the audience.

The participants had the opportunity to watch vivid presentations featuring social good campaigns in video and song. A few panels addressing various aspects of media for social good focused on such topics as media corporations delivering socially impactful campaigns. It was emphasized time and again that the campaigns of media corporations within the sustainability space connect people with the entire planet, where economic growth and social progress are tied with sustainability. In the future, media companies and corporations will aim at promoting the SDG Agenda for Sustainable Development – a 15 year Agenda with 17 specific goals, including the issue of extreme poverty, eliminating inequalities, protecting the environment, promoting sanitation and clean water projects.

Among several social good presentations, the AngryBirdsHappyPlanet campaign, organized in part by the UN Foundation, featured Angry Birds taking a very proactive stance on climate change. An important message was delivered in the presentation by the ASPIREist – “A feature news show empowering 21st century viewers to take action on issues that ‘matter to them’ ” (in the show some of the causes included Birthright and Transgender People’s Rights). An additional plenary session was devoted to “Amber Alerts” and saving lives in real-time by using media to make messages easily accessible and inspire the audience to action.

The Summit took place at UN Headquarters in New York
The Summit took place at UN Headquarters in New York

The Conference featured a discussion around the power of using comics in conveying stories about SDG’s. Speakers also discussed the power of purposeful collaboration and communication; for example, emphasizing the importance of sustainability through film and music, creating digital platforms that encompass various communities. It was emphasized at the conference that in terms of measurement of success with global goals, the difference must be noted between activity and progress. Positive and meaningful dialogue around social good-related issues will lead to positive behavior and action; both dialogue and connection will be important for SDG’s. The conference additionally featured a discussion around innovation with impact. A call to action was made around increasing knowledge and implementation of SDG’s, especially with youth, as well as utilizing quantifiable metrics to measure success of SDG implementation.

An important part of the conference was interactive brainstorming breakout sessions around the notion of effective multi-platform content and common language that needs to be established to communicate SGD’s and social good messages.

Written by Elena Tarassenko

How to bring closer two cultures that are a distance away from each other, with a different background on a different continent? Horyou has met Gisselle Gallego, one of the organizers of SLAFF, the Sydney Latin American Film Festival, a cultural project that does it nicely. Have a seat, be comfortable and let the show begin:

SLAFF - Sydney Latin American Film Festival
SLAFF – Sydney Latin American Film Festival

1) What does SLAFF stand for?

The Sydney Latin American Film Festival (SLAFF) is a not-for-profit Film Festival launched in 2006 and is now a highly anticipated event on the Sydney cultural calendar. In 2016 it was named “the embassy of Latin American Cinema in Oceania” by LatAm Cinema Magazine.

SLAFF is run by a group of passionate and dedicated volunteers who aim to enrich the understanding of the lives and cultures of Latin America by screening a variety of typical stories. These films look back at the history of Latin America, as well as forward to the future, to tell stories from every corner of the continent, whether indigenous or totally modern.

2) How do you usually select the movies? What are the main components/criteria that matter?

In its selection, SLAFF chooses contemporary Latin American or International films relating to Latin America in terms of content, production or co-production. They include feature films, documentaries, animations, short films and videos produced in the last 2 years.

The films should be enjoyable and appeal to a broad spectrum of the community: young people, families, migrants or those with an interest in a particular topic. Our aim is to be inclusive and diverse. We hope to introduce and inspire new ideas and perspectives to our audiences through the films that we choose.

Some issues will always have a cultural significance to our audiences, but we also seek to highlight current events and issues. We try to determine how interesting the subject is by today’s standards and how relevant a film is in the current climate. To that end, the film should fit with or support the aims and objectives of SLAFF, i.e. encourage participation in the cultures and issues of Latin America beyond the mainstream lens.

Screening during the SLAFF
Screening during the SLAFF

3) How does your Community Support Program work?

Since 2006, SLAFF has raised over $116, 000 for social justice, human rights and development organisations in Latin America and Australia through our Community Support Programme. CSP is the cornerstone of the Sydney Latin American Film Festival and the main reason we work so tirelessly to maintain the festival’s success and momentum. Via ticket sales, SLAFF supports community development initiatives which strive to create positive change in the community by addressing social issues at a grass-roots level.

4) Since SLAFF was created, what are the memorable exploits/projects you accomplished and what are the biggest challenges you faced that you would like to share with us?

Since 2006 we have brought films from Latin America to people throughout Sydney. From the west via our Cine Barrio initiative to the Sydney Harbour Bridge as part of the Fiesta Celebrations. In 2014 we launched Pachamama, a mini festival dedicated to explore our relationship and awareness of Land and Water by highlighting conservation efforts, indigenous stories and the continued fight for awareness of environmental issues from Latin America and Australia.

In 2015 we crossed a momentous milestone with our 10th Birthday, and we celebrated it by bringing together the SLAFF Family for a night of film, music and food. The journey into our second decade has not always been without challenges. As a not-for-profit, we rely on people power to maintain our momentum and we are really grateful to every single person who has helped SLAFF in any small way. Our network and community is what keeps us striving to bring the best to the festival.

Last edition of SLAFF
Last edition of SLAFF

5) Our philosophy is about universal values that we find in the slogan « Dream, Inspire, Act » what does it means to you and your organisation?

Horyou’s slogan “Dream, Inspire and Act” is a philosophy SLAFF identifies with. By becoming a part of this community we are able to experience and participate in the initiatives and ideas that are evolving across the globe. To be able to reach out to these organisations and individuals means we are playing our part in creating a conduit for positivity that can only get stronger the more people are involved.

Written by Hannah Nunes

Horyou shares the social network for social good experience during the Global Donors Forum, in Istanbul

Global Donors Forum, a side event of the World Humanitarian Forum in Istambul
Global Donors Forum, a side event of the World Humanitarian Forum in Istanbul

Impact and social investors, experts and leaders from all over the world will be working together in Istanbul on May 24th and 25th towards the same goals: to innovate and to create solutions for philanthropy. The biennial Global Donors Forum is an event which enhances new ideas and partnerships, besides being a platform to discuss global and regional challenges. As a side event of the World Humanitarian Summit, it is focused on human rights and social development.

Important names of the corporate, political and philanthropic worlds will be present during the 2-day conference, which will cover such subjects as Sustainable Development Goals, Islamic Business and Finance, Countering Extremism and Women Leadership. The opening ceremony will be led by Dr Sheikha Aisha bint Faleh Al-Thani, Chair of World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists, Shaarik H. Zafar, Special Representative to Muslim Communities, Mohammad AbdulAziz Al Naimi, CEO of Silatech, and the former prime minister of Romania Victor-Viorel Ponta.

Yonathan Parienti, the CEO and founder of Horyou, will participate as a speaker on the Perspective of Philanthropy panel where he will be presenting for the first time to the Turkish audience Spotlight, the first global social currency for economic inclusion. Speaking on how to leverage social media for social change, Parienti will be surrounded by other experts of the humanitarian field as Amy Singer, from Tel Aviv University, Farhan Latif, president of El-Hibri Foundation and Iqbal Noor Alim from the Aga Khan Development Network.

Launching of Spotlight in Dakar, Senegal
Launching of Spotlight in Dakar, Senegal

“Horyou is in a global campaign to introduce Spotlight, an impactful currency which aims to enhance a fairer capital circulation to all publics from different cultures and regions”, says Yonathan. “The world is increasingly connected and, by bringing economic inclusion, Spotlight will make the best use of the power of social networking”.

In the last few weeks, Spotlight was presented to media, organizations, experts and public from Morocco, Brazil, Senegal, China and now Turkey. By creating a global network of Spotlight users and supporters, Horyou will benefit and redistribute capital to more than 300 million people by 2018.

Click here to see the agenda of the Global Donors Forum.

Brian McGoldrick, Head of compliance at Leman Solicitors
Brian McGoldrick, Head of compliance at Leman Solicitors

The Future of Banking and Financial Services Summit took place in The Gibson Hotel, Dublin on April 28th. Held in conjunction with The Sunday Business Post and iQuest events, its attendees represented the full spectrum of financial services, from retail banking to payments to regulatory risk and compliance.

Everyday, we realize the financial services industry is evolving. With the use of technology, movement of capital is becoming more fluid, methods of exchange are changing and as Horyou is harnessing these opportunities with their new social currency “Spotlight”, I was interested to learn from the executives leading this change.  

The morning keynote was delivered by Colm Lyon, CEO of Fire Financial Services who alluded to “The Great Fintech Scramble”, where many financial services companies are racing to capture market share. He was optimistic about the opportunities that lie across the industry for apps and payments services but also cautioned technology evangelists: “It takes a long time and capital to build a fintech business”.

Colm Lyon, CEO of Fire Financial Services
Colm Lyon, CEO of Fire Financial Services
There was some interesting comments made about the legalities of fintech; it’s easy to forget how rapid these changes are but any industry of course still needs to be governed. Dominic Conlon, Head of the Corporate Department at Lehman Solicitors highlighted the fact that archaic laws don’t fit with the constantly evolving nature of cyberspace. “The law doesn’t know about payments”, he said, and Ronan Hughes, Head of European Payments Services at RBS joined him in saying: “inaction is not an option”.

Ronan McGoldrick of Leman Solicitors reiterated how difficult it is to regulate in the area of fintech and the need for collaboration. “Regulators and innovators will need to come together”, he said. So here another one of the founding principles of Horyou was highlighted – collective action.

The afternoon session was centered around how finance will reinvent itself in this era of disruptive innovation. Anthony Watson, President and CEO of Uphold, the world’s fastest growing money platform, said that the Keynesian model of a bank lending according to what it says on their balance sheet is over. “I would be worried if I was a big bank, the industry is changing, they cannot rely on their legacy anymore”, he said.

Watson also made reference to banks and social impact with regard to fees. He said that technology gives us a real chance to democratize the industry and level out the playing field. This reminded me of the potential that Horyou’s Spotlight has, where it can can allow investors who have the capital to give it to impactors who don’t, therefore spreading wealth and ultimately making a positive social impact.

Giuseppe Insalaco, Senior Advisor at Central Bank of Ireland, closed with his personal view on what the future holds for the financial services industry. Emerging trends, he highlighted, were ‘enhanced consumer intelligence’ and ‘razor sharp’ market segmentation. ”Data is the new gold”, he said. As internet users leave their electronic footprint, entrepreneurs harness this data and identify customers’ needs. However, this also makes speed to market critical and intensifies competition.   In his crystal ball analysis, Insalaco predicted crowdfunding coming of age and legitimizing, becoming less social and more business led. He was fearful of the emergence of an arms race in cybersecurity – “A wall is only as good as the next hacker” -, and predicted an escalation of online breaches.

The main takeaways from the event was that fintech brings opportunities and threats to the financial services industry. Customers will always need a place to manage their finances; whether this is in a traditional bank or an online money platform, they will go with whoever offers them the best return. New platforms like Horyou’s Spotlight add yet another layer, offering social returns.

Written by Dearbhla Gavin

Les participants de la conférence sur les génocides et la violence de masse Photo: Nicole Matchoss
Les participants de la conférence sur les génocides et la violence de masse Photo: Nicole Matchoss

Une vingtaine d’années après le massacre tutsi au Rwanda, faisant plus de 2 millions de victimes, une conférence a été organisée à Genève afin de discuter d’un des problèmes les plus graves du continent africain: les génocides et la violence de masse.

L’événement, organisé par le magazine « Continent Premier » à l´occasion de son 12ème anniversaire, a réuni le conseiller spécial des Nations Unies pour la prévention du génocide, Adama Dieng, ainsi que l’ambassadeur de la francophonie auprès des Nations Unies, Ridha Bouabid et la professeure de l´Université de Genève, Sévane Garibien, autour d´une table ronde pour parler de la prévention de ces crimes contre l’humanité.

Le génocide et la violence de masse sont encore une réalité pour beaucoup de pays en Afrique et les spécialistes sont d´accord sur la nécessité et l’urgence de les prévenir. Néanmoins, force également est de constater que les génocides sont des crimes planifiés et causés par plusieurs facteurs qui comprennent les conflits ethno-raciaux, le non-respect des droits de l´homme, l´existence de régimes autoritaires et l´indifférence de la communauté internationale. C´est pour cette raison que prévenir la violence de masse et mettre en place des politiques des droits de l’homme, garantissant conciliations et respect de la diversité, devient une urgence avant d’être une nécessité.

Les spécialistes sont d´accord sur la nécessité et l’urgence de prévenir les crimes de masse Photo: Nicole Matchoss
Les spécialistes sont d´accord sur la nécessité et l’urgence de prévenir les crimes de masse Photo: Nicole Matchoss

Adama Dieng, occupant depuis 2012 un poste créé par les Nations Unies pour la prévention de génocides, explique que la mission de prévention n’est pas l’affaire d’un seul organisme ou pays, mais “la responsabilité de tout le monde”. Trente-cinq ans après la publication de la Charte africaine des droits de L´homme, Adama Dieng pense encore que la communauté internationale et l´Afrique ont beaucoup d´interrogations sur la motivation et le processus de prévention de ces crimes. “Dans certain cas, la communauté internationale décide d´intervenir dans un pays, plus pour changer de régime et se débarrasser d´un leader que pour protéger la population”.

La solution, selon Adama Dieng, est l´engagement dans une gestion constructive de la diversité et le renforcement de la démocratie. « Nous avons vu que ces crimes sont causés par l´exclusion religieuse et d’origine. A la base des violations graves, il y a des discours de haine et de discrimination raciale ou religieuse. Où il a génocide il y a déshumanisation ».

La professeure Sevane Garibian croit qu’il y plusieurs mesures pratiques très concrètes de prévention. “C’est souvent difficile parce que toute prévention de crime de masse est déterminée par une volonté politique d’agir”. Le premier instrument concerne la justice pénale, à travers des poursuites de responsabilités mises en place par la justice nationale ou internationale. Cependant, la justice pénale seule n´est pas suffisante ; “il faut lui ajouter d´autres mesures de démocratisation, de développement des droits de l’homme, de médiation et de coopération avec les gouvernements concernés”, explique-t-elle.

Professeure Garibian. Photo: Nicole Matches
Professeure Garibian. Photo: Nicole Matchoss

La deuxième mesure mentionnée par la professeure concerne la lutte contre la discrimination, les discours de haine et le négationnisme. “Ce combat est nécessaire. Il est absolument impensable de mettre en place la prévention sans discuter le discours de haine”. Un outil très important dans ce processus est l´éducation. “L’étude et la connaissance du passé sont fondamentaux, ainsi que la pensée critique et analytique”. La politique mémorielle, selon Garibian, occupe également un rôle important – la commémoration, les monuments, la recherche de traces des crimes sont importants pour penser à la problématique de prévention.

Ridha Bouabid, représentant de la francophonie auprès des Nations Unies, explique qu’il faut donner la priorité aux acteurs nationaux avant d’imposer une quelconque solution externe. “Nous devons tout faire pour protéger la coopération, aider à créer des dialogues et favoriser les conditions propices, mais nous ne pouvons pas faire la paix à la place des protagonistes humains”, défend-il.

L´ambassadeur de L´Union Africaine, Jean-Marie Ehouzou, confirme en disant que, malgré la bonne volonté de la communauté internationale et les textes extraordinaires, les questions de prévention échouent du fait des principes qui sont transgressés. “Les crises sont anciennes et les décisions sont souvent prises au niveau supranational du Conseil de sécurité. Il faut trouver des solutions africaines. Nous sommes autonomes, l´Afrique est indépendante. Il faut respecter les institutions qui sont en place”.

Écrit par Vívian Soares

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