Jolkona hosts accelerator programs for international social ventures with a focus on empowering young social entrepreneurs. We bring social entrepreneurs from emerging countries to Seattle, where they can hone their business plans, gain valuable insights, and work one on one with experts in their field.
These social leaders are dedicated and engaged students and professionals between the ages of 20 and 35, who are all eager to stay with local hosts and experience Seattle culture. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn about other cultures and share a little of our own Pacific Northwest culture and hospitality.
Here are a few helpful details:
- The time and effort commitment to the host family is minimal
- Hosts provide a room, are close to bus transportation and provide food for breakfast and dinner
- The entrepreneurs have a full schedule and will spend much of their free time working on their projects or attending workshops
- As long as there is access to the bus, these entrepreneurs will have an ORCA card for their commuting needs
- We will grant a stipend to the host family to cover expenses incurred while hosting
What makes our program unique?
Nancy Margried from Indonesia is an excellent example of the types of social leaders we bring through the Jolkona Catalyst Program. Nancy and her team use mathematical algorithms to create unique Batik cloth patterns. At TedxUbud, Nancy talks about combining new technology with traditional practices.
- Our participants are self-sufficient adults who have started companies at an early age. Participants typically come from mega-cities in the developing world. This gives our homestay hosts the rare opportunity to make meaningful friendships with their Catalyst!
- Jolkona Catalyst participants have been vetted by the U.S. Embassy in their home country. Participants have frequently received awards and grants from the Embassies and represented their countries abroad. In 2015, Jolkona Catalysts from Bangladesh represented their country at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, Kenya.
- Jolkona Catalyst participants have frequently completed their Master’s and Bachelor’s at home or abroad. Our Catalysts are highly motivated individuals! They have made a commitment to use their skills and talents to improve their home country for the better!
“My experience as a host for [Jolkona] Catalyst has been incredibly rewarding! I’ve not only made two wonderful new friends, but I enjoyed learning about their social good endeavors and feel confident the impact they will have in the world will be profound. In addition to learning so much about their cultures and traditions, we often spent the evening discussing topics that affect women and girls across the world. Every evening was an opportunity to experience the global community and I learned so much from both of my guests. I felt a meaningful connection to all of the changemakers in the program and it was truly an honor to be a part of their time here in Seattle. I stay in touch with both Dini and Mirah and feel so fortunate that they are now a part of my life. My homestay weeks were truly one of the most memorable moments at home in 2014.”– Kim Wright, Seattle International Foundation, homestay host 2014
“We learned so much from each other…. We certainly made a new friend and were sad to see her go!” – Chelsea Snodgrass, McMillen Jacobs Associates
If you’d like to host one of our Jolkona Catalyst entrepreneurs, please fill out our
Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS JOLKONA?
Jolkona is a nonprofit that brings high potential social entrepreneurs from emerging countries to Seattle for intensive, mentor-driven accelerator programs. These entrepreneurs are solving some of the most challenging social and environmental issues in their communities. Jolkona helps shape and develop these founders into leaders by providing training and mentorship from some of Seattle’s best talent.
Our mission is to empower a global community of mentors and local leaders to drive social entrepreneurship at scale. We envision a world where there is shared prosperity for all.
WHY SHOULD I HOST A JOLKONA YOUNG SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR?
To meet new people and learn about other cultures! Hosting an international guest in your home is a bit like bringing the world to you. Your gracious and warm welcome provides a level of comfort and cultural exchange that can’t be matched by other accommodations. In return, Jolkona participants share their traditions, meals, ambitions, and beliefs with you.
WHO WILL I BE HOSTING?
Our participants are self-sufficient young adults who have started their own ventures. Participants typically come from mega-cities in the developing world. Our homestay hosts have the rare opportunity to make meaningful friendships in far-away countries!
Jolkona participants have been vetted by the U.S. Embassy in their home country. They have frequently received awards and grants from the Embassies and represented their countries abroad. They have usually completed at least an undergraduate degree. Our participants are highly motivated individuals! They have made a commitment to use their skills and talents to improve their home country and the world.
Jolkona has invited social entrepreneurs to the US from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Our participants range in age from 20-35, may be male or female, and of course, come from different cultures, nationalities, and religious backgrounds.
WILL THEY SPEAK ENGLISH?
Yes, all of our participants speak excellent English. The chance to immerse themselves in the language in your home will also help them improve their skills.
WHAT IS EXPECTED OF A HOMESTAY HOST?
We expect you to welcome our guest into your home. Provide a safe, caring environment, much as you would for any member of your family. Be prepared to spend time with your guest and display a friendly, flexible attitude.
Each guest requires their own bedroom, bed, closet, and ideally a desk. Accommodation offered to guests must be clean, orderly and in good repair. It must comply with current council building regulations, be properly furnished, be located within the family living area, and private. Bathrooms may be shared with the family or be private.
Our homestay hosts also provide food for up to two meals per day (breakfast and dinner); meals may be self-serve or prepared by the host.
I AM AN INDIVIDUAL, CAN I BE A ‘HOST FAMILY’?
Yes! Our host families come in all shapes and sizes. We have families with young children, individuals, empty-nesters, and retirees. As long as you have an extra room and want to open your home to an international participant, we will consider you.
CAN I LIVE ANYWHERE IN THE SEATTLE AREA?
Our participants commute via public transportation and work very long days, so we need our hosts to be within a 60-minute bus ride to the Jolkona office in Pioneer Square.
WHEN WOULD I HOST?
We typically run two 3-week programs (Spring and Fall) per year, as well as one or two 1-week programs in the late summer and/or winter. You can host whenever the scheduling is convenient for you.
WHAT DOES JOLKONA OFFER IN RETURN?
Jolkona offers a stipend to offset food and living expenses. Our stipends make it comfortable for your family to enjoy hosting.
The benefits to you depend on the thought, effort, and commitment you invest. You will have the unique opportunity to build a lifelong relationship with an inspiring and motivated young adult!
HOW DO I APPLY?
You can find our homestay application here: Homestay Host Interest Form