“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, homestay host 2014

Atuar with homestay friends II

 We’re looking for individuals and families to host our Jolkona Catalyst entrepreneurs this fall!

Jolkona Catalyst is a three-week intensive social business accelerator brings 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 22 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.

Adnan with homestay parents


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

“Hosting two social entrepreneurs from Bangladesh was great. They were warm, responsible, smart and fascinating people. Although I was a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa, I felt like I had a unique understanding of the work they were doing and the issues they faced from my own volunteer service, and we had many wonderful conversations. I highly recommend it!” – Casey Luce, homestay host 2015

If you’d like to host one of our Jolkona Catalyst entrepreneurs, please fill out our Homestay Interest Form.

In our second Alumni Highlight, we’re sharing the story of Dini Hajarrahmah, CEO of WanderlustOn her blog, Dini shares her experience of going through Jolkona Catalyst after just returning to her home country of Indonesia. Dini was part of our second Jolkona Catalyst cohort from Indonesia in November 2014! 

Curious about our next Jolkona Catalyst session and how you can get involved? Visit our Jolkona Catalyst Application page

Last month in November 2014, I was lucky to be one of the selected 5 Social Entrepreneurs from Indonesia that got a chance to go to Seattle joining “Jolkona Catalyst” program by Jolkona and the US Embassy in Jakarta.

Jolkona Catalyst Cohort 2 in Seattle

Jolkona Catalyst Cohort 2 in Seattle

I said we are lucky because they have only had 2 batches (each batch consist of 5 Social Entrepreneurs) from Indonesia! The next batch in 2015 will be from Bangladesh! We were selected from around 70 applicants that submitted the application online. I bring Wanderlust Indonesia, my social business started 1 year ago in creating a unique & responsible traveling experience by connecting traveler and local through volunteering activity. The other 4 social entrepreneurs are

1. Alfatih Timur – Founder of

2. Nancy Margried – Founder of Batik Fractal

3. Alfi Irfan – Founder of AgriSocio

4. Candra Cahyani Gani – Founder of Bedah Kampus

To me, These amazing 4 people is now feel like part of my family after spending the very cold weeks for us together in Seattle 🙂

What is actually this program all about? Jolkona Catalyst designed to escalate social business from developing country and leverage the impact of social entrepreneurship by bringing social entrepreneur from developing country to Seattle, to learn about social business, meet prospective investors, and network. They put us through two weeks of intensive training, mentoring, and networking to bring our social mission driven startup to the next level. We attend workshops to refine our business, met the Seattle Start-up community, visit some successful company like Google, Microsoft and learnt to pitch to investors.

Our 2 weeks in Seattle curriculum basically led to this final event that they call “Showcase Event” which we have 5 minutes to pitch our social business in front of the audience in Seattle.

1st Week – Build Business Plan

We have a very packed schedule during the 1st week to understand our business deeply, defining our vision and mission statement again, explaining it in elevator pitch so many times to different people and the most important thing, meet a lot of amazing people as our workshop lectures, pitch coaches, and lovely MENTOR!

Here are the workshops that we got during the 1st week :

1. Value workshop by Barri Rind

2. Elevator pitch coaching by Ajit Banerjee

3. Workshop #1: Define your Mission, Value Prop, and Strategy by Peter Blomquist

4. Fireside Chat with Sam Chughtai

5. Workshop #2: Execution and Scale by Emer Dooley

6. Workshop #3: Problem solving & overcoming challenges by Cole Hoover

7. Workshop #4: Culture and Leadership by Kyle Kesterson

8. Workshop #5: Tell Your Story by Susan Bloch

9. Office Hour (individual) with Brandon Fleming, Anita Sulaiman, Linsey Battan and Bob Ness

Dini Photo 2

And here are the list of places that we visit in the 1st week :

1. Farestart Restaurant


3. The Seattle Foundation

4. University of Washington

5. Start Up Hall

Dini Photo 3


While this one is the Networking Event / Session that we got :

1. Techstars Demo Day

2. Techstars Launch Party

3. University of Washington Networking Event with MBA Students

4. Dinner with Barri Rind

Above all those activities, we also got chance of MENTOR MEETING twice in that 1st week. My mentor is Maryann Ness – used to be Kak Hendriyadi’s mentor in batch 1 and wife of other mentor, Bob Ness – who is mentor to Nancy Margried!

Dini Photo 4

Dini Photo 5

The 2nd Week is the Week of CRAFTING OUR PITCH!

This week, we get more intense training and workshop that focus on preparing our 5 minutes pitch. Yes, you have to tell about your social business in only 5 minutes. This is a really big learning for all of us to TELL WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART in our business that we we want people know. Telling our story.

During the 2nd week, we got chance to learn :

1. Workshop #6: Financial Analysis and Modeling by Nawsheen Sharfuddin – our “Mama” Project Catalyst because Nawsheen is the 1st contact communication between us and Jolkona & the Coordinator for Project Catalyst Cohort 2 program! She is AMAZING buddy also for all of us 🙂

2. Workshop #7: Design thinking by Nancy Xu

3. Workshop #8: Prioritization, Focus, Impact & Transparency by Adnan Mahmud – The CoFounder of Jolkona who also CEO of Live Stories, his enterpise that become one of 10 company which selected to participate in intense Techstars program in 2014.

4. PITCH COACHING SESSIONS!!!! Here are our amazing pitch coaches :

Steve Schwartz
Archie Gupta
George Economy
Dan Kranzler
Irene Yamamoto
Ben Friedman
Martina Welke
Ajit Banerjee
Brandon Fleming
Anita Sulaiman

5. Inspiring sharing from Ben Friedman – young social entrepreneur of Homegrown, sustainable sandwich shop!

We also have opportunity to visit :
1. Microsoft
2. Theo’s Chocolate
3. Seattle Tilth
4. Seattle Urban Farm
5. Homegrown
6. Impact Hub
7. Google

And the most important thing is that we have our 5 minutes PITCH session finally on Thursday, 13 November 2014 at WeWork – Yale Avenue, Seattle.

Dini Photo 6


Dini Photo 7


Watch our pitch video here : 

a. Candra Cahyani Gani :
b. Dini Hajarrahmah :
c. Alfatih Timur :

During the 2 weeks, we also have our own homestay host who open their home, heart and kindness for all of us! I have a fabulous host who hosted Mirah from last batch. My host named is Kim Wright and she work as a Director of Philanthropy at The Seattle Foundation. We have great time staying together, have our tea night in front of the TV while talk on some topics, Indonesian-American dinner, pitch practice, and lots of laughs! Thank you Kim for everything!!! I hope to see you soon in Indonesia and have our Wanderlust trip 🙂

Dini Photo 8


Jolkona Super Team!

All of these event & ideas arranged by a Foundation based in Seattle called Jolkona who is Founded by 2 awesome husband & wife; Adnan Mahmud & Nadia Mahmud. Adnan is also a Founder of Livestories, a social enterprise envision to make data for non-data people! During 2 weeks, we are hosted by most of Jolkona team and they are all awesome! Thank you Nawsheen, Monica, Nancy, Adnan, and Nadia! 🙂

Seattle Ecotourism / Community-Based Tourism 

One of my objective joining this program is to partner, find the network with Ecotourism enterprise in Seattle that might be interested to have the destination & project in Indonesia. So, I met 3 of Ecotourism founder in Seattle that inspire me to improve Wanderlust & bring it to the next level. Hopefully, we can make a partnership with them and more International travel company. 3 of them are :

Seattle Exploration!
Even though we have only 2 weeks and our program is very packed & full, I dont want to miss any traveling part to see the city and surrounding! As Seattle famous with a very grunge city, The 1st Starbucks Store, Space Needles, and the beauty of its nature – we found sometime to  explore the city by our own. Kim also bring us to Brainbridge Island in my last day in Seattle before I continue the journey to Vancouver.

Dini Photo 9

Thank you Project Catalyst JOLKONA, Thank you US Embassy for supporting this program & Thank you all the mentor, coach, speaker, entrepreneurs. Thank you for all the awesome host, thank you for all Seattle people!!! You are all awesome!! 🙂

In February, we gonna have chance to present about our social business only in 2.5 minutes in @America – Pacific Place in front of US Embassy & some investors. Lets wish Wanderlust & all the social enterprise the best of luck! 🙂

Dini Photo 10

Keep Wandering,


This blog post was originally posted on Dini Hajarrahmah’s personal blog, which you can view here. Blog republished with permission.

In our first Alumni Highlight, we’re sharing the story of Nadya Fadila Saib, Co-Founder & CEO of Wangsa JelitaOn her blog, Nadya shares her experience of going through Jolkona Catalyst after just returning to her home country of Indonesia. Nadya was part of our very first Jolkona Catalyst cohort from Indonesia in June 2014! 

Curious about our next Jolkona Catalyst session and how you can get involved? Visit our Jolkona Catalyst Application page

In the last two weeks, I joined a program called Jolkona Catalyst as one of five Indonesian Social Entrepreneurs. The program was run by Jolkona Foundation in Seattle, and it gave an insightful and incredible experience. To me personally, at least.

And as I spend more time reminiscing and thinking about my “a-ha moments” during the program, it really is difficult to make a list of just top three moments, or even just to come up with one from each day. But now that the program has ended and I am back home from the chilly hilly Seattle, I realize that my a-ha moment was something a lot more powerful. I realize that it is less of a moment, and more of a momentum. And that, I think, makes Jolkona Catalyst my most favorite program thus far, in so many levels.

Part of it is the timing. Wangsa Jelita is five years old—actually six this year. And just like observing a toddler grows, I can see how Wangsa Jelita matures through an exciting pace. In the past months in particular, however, Wangsa Jelita has been going on one challenge after another. And it is so tempting—as well exciting—to me, to get straight to the issue and tackle them one by one. Too exciting sometimes, it can get very draining. Jolkona Catalyst was the much needed caesura; giving me time to be away and watch from a far, seeing how the system in the business runs without much of my involvement, and having some zen time to think more thoroughly about the next steps. Two weeks well spent.

The other part is the content of the program. Not only that I learned something new, the messages I got from the program were rich too, and they helped me make sense of the last few years of both my professional and personal life. I did a lot of introspection and got a few reminders. Here are my two main takeaways.

  • Understanding our own value(s) is essential—because it is something we will hold on to tightly whenever we make decisions in life, both personal and professional matters. I feel fortunate for some circumstances recently have allowed me to be more appreciative with the time I have. And I believe, in order to not taking time for granted, knowing priorities is important. And this program has taught me that priorities can only be set once I know what my values are. I’m beyond thankful for this particular lesson.
  • We are all in a relationship business—no matter what kinds of products and services we offer. I was hit by this statement when my mentor, Heide Felton, first told me, and I was so intrigued that I kept thinking about it. When I met Charles of Theo Chocolate for the second meeting, he gave me an advice which resonated well with it, I quote, “you gotta know your people” (customers, stakeholders..) – to me, it was like an epiphany. No relationship (business) can grow without continuous efforts to know more about its significant someone (stakeholders). Truer than true.

And last but not the least, there were the people; from the super successful mentors, the insightful lecturers and coaches, the thoughtful team of Jolkona, the passionate batch folks I have, not to mention the field trips to some of the most successful companies worldwide (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Geogache, Google, Microsoft, Theo Chocolate, and many others) which allowed us to sit together and ask questions to their top management level people so that we can learn from their experience. They all make the program even more enriching. I feel inspired and moved.

Gates Foundation Visitor Center is the best example  that shows how powerful story telling is.

Gates Foundation Visitor Center is the best example
that shows how powerful story telling is.

Jolkona is full of radiant people like Nancy, who radiate positive energy and have beautiful smiles.

Jolkona is full of radiant people like Nancy,
who radiate positive energy and have beautiful smiles.

Nadya Photo 3

4th day debrief session with Adnan at Kerry Park.The view was uh-mazing!

But guess what, my respect and love for each and every one of them goes beyond what they do and extends to the beauty of who they truly are.

First and foremost, my batch folks. Dino is the techie guy who is committed to capture every moment with his camera. The tripod and some memory cards can speak on his behalf. Hendri is the compassionate young man whose positive energy is just contagious. Mirah is the caring person who always made sure that I didn’t feel cold due to one layer I wore. Nobody asked me the way Mirah did. While Nadine, her love for environment is so big, so much so that every time she talks about it I feel like the responsibility of taking a very good care of the environment is mounting on my shoulders. And I think it’s good. I’m so looking forward to collaborate with her and her team.

Not to mention, the mentors, the coaches, the professors, the lecturers, the businesses, the NGOs, the host families, and the people in Jolkona.

In the middle of the packed schedule, Heide Felton is the loving woman who messaged me in the middle of the night not only to check my assignments’ progress but also to ask what my plans for the weekends are—just so she knows I’d make the best of my stay in Seattle. I love her.

Nadya Photo 5

Last meeting with Heide. Her words touched me deeply.


For all the lessons which each and every one of them has shared, I’m thankful and wishing the very best for all of their endeavors.

2nd meeting with Charles. Always full of food... for thought.

2nd meeting with Charles. Always full of food… for thought.

I have couple of hours to get back to work (it’s almost 5 in the morning, and my jet lag still got me wide awake) and I hope to make sense of what I just made sense of by sharing my experience with my team soon.

Again, big big thanks, for sure, to everyone who was involved in this program (as well the US Department in Indonesia), and I look forward to stay in touch!

Let’s keep the momentum going.

This blog post was originally posted on Nadya Fadila Saib’s personal blog, which you can view here. Blog republished with permission. 


Jolkona Catalyst has opened its application cycle for its Fall 2015 accelerator! From October 19 to November 6, 2015, we will invite 16 young entrepreneurs from Bangladesh and Indonesia for an intensive three-week accelerator. We are looking for Bangladesh and Indonesia’s most promising social entrepreneurs working towards bettering their country. Know an entrepreneur in Bangladesh that fits this criteria? Please forward them this information!


What is Jolkona Catalyst? Jolkona is a nonprofit that brings high potential social entrepreneurs from emerging countries to Seattle for an intensive 3-week mentor-driven accelerator. These entrepreneurs are solving some of the most challenging societal issues in their communities. Our mentors include some of Seattle’s best startup talent who prepare these founders to scale and engage with investors at home & abroad.

Ferdous Mottakin pitching for Offroad Bangladesh, an online travel platform working to make Bangladesh a more accessible travel destination.

Ferdous Mottakin pitching for Offroad Bangladesh during the Spring 2015 Showcase.

Catalyst enjoying dinner and networking after the event.

Catalyst enjoying dinner and networking after the Spring 2015 Showcase.








Want more information? Please direct all questions to  Application Deadline is 8/7 at 23:59 PST.