Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Social Enterprising in Stockholm

I have so much to share. Too much, in fact. Since the last time we spoke, I have aged one year, now enjoying the last tenth of my twenties. I have celebrated my first Christmas in Uganda - twice (if that makes sense) (and cooked my third turkey). I have been to Fort Portal, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa. However, the details on that, how Boley survived malaria, and why checking from which airport your flight is departing is important will all have to wait.

For now, I'm on week 5 in Stockholm, Sweden. The sun has finally decide to show its gorgeous face the past three days, if only fleetingly. It has given me the will to continue living and LEARNING.

I was selected to participate in the Social Enterprise Outreach Accelerator. What the heck is that, you ask?  Well, its like a business incubator, but for social enterprises and its even faster. What is a social enterprise? and what is a business incubator??? Well, let me tell you. Basically, a social enterprise uses business principles to address social challenges. They're driven more by social impact than by profits, although sustainability through profits is the goal.  So my social enterprise, Good Glass, creates a social impact through recycling - helping the environment and those living in Kampala by cleaning up a portion of the trash, and through fair wage job creation - enabling those who wouldn't have a job to provide for themselves, send their kids to school, afford to go the doctor and eat three meals a day.

The business accelerator is teaching me how to better direct Good Glass to ensure its growth and sustainability. As a start up company operating in a developing country, we have a lot of challenges, and although this accelerator cannot solve them for me, they are providing me tools to address and overcome them. So far we have had seminars and coaching on how to write and use a business plan, creating a social value proposition, how to measure social impact, how to create a business canvas, business modeling, financial management, how to build and nurture creative partnerships, networking, and social finance. Still to come we have understanding the investor perspective, customer focus, communication & presentation, how to scale your business and pitch training. Phew. Its a lot to take in, but I'm loving it. We're also given free time to work on each aspect regarding our own business and the topics of the seminars. Its intense, but I think what I'm learning here will not only benefit Good Glass, but will also translate into anything I decide to do with my future.

My first week here, Latasha was able to visit from Turkey. We had a blast finding new restaurants and sampling local beers. It was wonderful to have a buddy to get out with and explore this new city. Stockholm is beautiful and very accessible in that its not too big, has great public transport, and everyone speaks English. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see it in the summer as then the water fronts would be thawed and people would be out and about as opposed to bundled and hurried.  Still, even in this winter weather, I enjoy getting out for a fika - coffee and snacks with friends, visiting a few of the museums and even going to yoga.

I hope to update you more about my time here and my holidays. In the meantime, drop me an email with an update on you!

Some links:
I'm now on Linked In and Twitter because they tell me that's important 
(links to the right)


  1. Phew, sounds like heavy stuff... In my course (Sustainable Urban Land Use Planning - quite a title, don't you think?), I just read that most urban planners don't like to get involved in economics (and yes I share that sentiment), but the cities end up paying for that disinterest. So maybe at the end of our courses, we should set up some sustainable urban enterprise for social land use planning, to fill in the gap =)

  2. Finally a blog post! Woohoo. By the way, I cannot wait to see you two in May!