During the Catalyst program, our entrepreneurs had the opportunity to sit down with Sachi Shenoy and Howard Behar to talk about driving results and measuring impact in their organizations.  Sachi is the co-founder and current Chief Innovation Officer at Upaya Social Ventures and Howard is the former president of Starbucks Coffee Company North America and Starbucks Coffee International, as well as an accomplished author.  It was a pleasure to visit with them at Galvanize and learn from their decades of experience!

Howard and Sachi share their knowledge

Howard, Sachi, and the Catalysts swap stories

Executive Director of Jolkona Monica Mendoza moderated the conversation.  The chat began with the topic of corporate social responsibility.  Regarding CSR, Howard said that it is important to remember that a corporation cannot be socially responsible — only the people working in it can.  He also stressed the importance of having clarity of mission and knowing the values of your organization.  Sachi agreed, and highlighted the necessity of setting goals and sub-goals that connect to the mission so that each person in the organization can know how they are contributing to the bigger picture.

These values are so important because they are at the core of an organization and guide its work.  Howard reminded the Catalysts that they have values and a corporate culture whether or not they explicitly express them.  Mentor Dan Kranzler was present for the chat and was able to share his experience in this area, as well.  He encouraged the entrepreneurs to foster a corporate culture that promotes respectful disagreement and discussion between all of its members.  Sachi shared some of her strategies for fostering this type of communication in cultures outside of the U.S. that will certainly be of use to the Catalysts at home.

Cindy and Howard chat after the session

Cindy and Howard chat after the session

To tie it all together, the mentors discussed how the entrepreneurs can best implement what they’ve learned in the Catalyst program with their teams in Indonesia.  Sachi reminded the entrepreneurs that it is important to tie all of the information back to the common mission of their organizations.  We are excited to see how the Catalysts and their teams implement all that they’ve learned in Seattle!  Be sure to stay updated by liking Jolkona on Facebook and following us on Twitter!




Even 3,000 miles away, Dini’s voice practically bubbles over the phone with enthusiasm and ideas, telling me about life as a student at Boston University, running her Indonesia-based company from afar, and how she manages to do it all.

It’s been a busy 18 months since Dini Hajarrahmah finished the Jolkona Social Entrepreneurship Catalyst Program in Seattle WA. She said that those 2 weeks passed in an intense blur of classes, presentations and sleep deprivation, but two important components remained: an Indonesian community of social entrepreneurs, and lasting Seattle contacts who are helping her reshape and grow her company.

Dini founded and runs an eco-tourism company named “Wanderlust Indonesia” that offers packages for travelers to live and interact with local Indonesian families and villages, with a mission to enhance awareness, develop understanding of local issues and empower the participating families and communities. Before the Jolkona program she said that she had been aware of other social entrepreneurs, but she rarely knew them personally. Now she has a lasting community of other like-minded people who are committed to solving major social issues with new ideas.


Currently Dini is working to expand her company internationally and beyond eco-tourism. During her Jolkona training she met Brandon Fleming, PhD a University of Washington professor in the school of business. A few months later they collaborated, creating the “Global Study Tour to Indonesia” for his students to travel to Indonesia to learn about start-up, social entrepreneur and NGO companies, as well as visiting slum areas in Jakarta. After the trip, one student contacted Dini and said that she wanted to organize a water project in collaboration with Wanderlust and, with that, a new idea was born. Now Dr. Fleming is going to make this an annual trek for his students and it may have created a new purpose for the company: partnering with schools so students can come from 2-4 weeks, work on a business project, and learn cross-culturally.

I asked her how she juggled being a full-time student with running a company located across the globe and she admitted it has been challenging: the time difference is the big one. Day and night are almost switched so she has to make her calls at night and her staff can only reach her in the mornings. “Things don’t move as fast,” she admitted. And she still has to deal with the normal challenges of being an Indonesian social entrepreneur, from government corruption (“I can deal with that, though”) to her biggest challenge: “It’s a totally new idea in Indonesian society. People don’t know or understand it. Sometimes you have to manage locals’ expectations because they think you’re going to make them rich or that there will be instant results. So it can be a struggle to explain how it works in simple language and get on the same page.”


Given her experience at Jolkona and now her education in the Economic Development and Tourism Management at Boston University, she has several plans for Wanderlust. Besides expanding internationally, she would like to move more towards an on-line marketplace so her company can move faster, offer more options and partner more easily with others. She is also considering expanding to focus more on connecting travelers with locals by, for example, offering local culinary experiences or home stays.

Although the subject never naturally came up, I couldn’t resist asking what it’s like being a female social entrepreneur – running her own company in a Muslim-based, developing country. There was a puzzled pause before she finally answered, “It’s not a problem,” she assured me. “Women in Indonesia can do more than people think. There’s a saying,” she went on, ‘Like a mother in a village – don’t underestimate them!’ So don’t underestimate them – or the power of women in Indonesia. There are no problems with women being in charge.” With that, I had to smile. Perhaps people in the US could learn something from them.

Dini Hajarrahmah is a Jolkona Catalyst alum from 2014. Come meet Dini at the showcase!

by Casey Luce, freelance writer & Jolkona Volunteer

On every cohort, Jolkona aims to introduce our catalysts to mentors and other established industry leaders so that they can learn about new opportunities, and industry tips to empower their own projects. On May 20th, we drove our catalysts to visit Microsoft’s HQ in Redmond, WA. We all made it to the Visitor’s Center foyer, and got a chance to learn more about Josh Holmes’ experience as a Microsoft employee in his various roles at the company.


Josh started off by introducing himself, and the roles he has played at Microsoft. Josh has worked as product evangelist, and now he is part of Microsoft Ventures Accelerator program. He has also worked from various locations, including Dublin and of course Seattle.


Holo Lens and other Microsoft tools for entrepreneurs

It wasn’t long before Josh started talking a little bit about what Microsoft has been up to lately, especially when it comes to the Holo Lens. One of the catalysts’ projects is in fact about augmented and virtual reality as a means of education. She was quick to ask about how her project could leverage Microsoft’s Holo Lens or other products.

Josh not only mentioned how the Holo Lens is still in the works, and it will take some time for it goes to market, but he also mentioned other tools that social entrepreneurs can leverage, including Microsoft’s Azure. Social entrepreneurs can enjoy Azure for free.

Microsoft Ventures

Other catalysts were also very interested on how Microsoft Ventures is accelerating startups around the world. Josh mentioned there are 7 Microsoft accelerators around the globe, located in Seattle, Bangalore, London, Berlin, Beijing, Tel Aviv, and Paris. Each accelerator has a particular focus; John mentioned Beijing’s accelerator has a clear focus on hardware.

All accelerators accept international entrepreneurs and projects, and they offer a 3-6 month program, $25k on average per project, all equity free. Microsoft aims to make these projects successful, because the more successful you are, the more likely you are to use Microsoft’s products in the long run.

Corporate Culture

Jolkona’s executive director, Monica Mendoza, wanted the catalysts to learn more about Microsoft’s corporate culture, prompting Josh to speak a little bit more about it.

Josh responded that although Microsoft is a 200,000 employee behemoth where there is quite the number of processes to get things done, there is complete freedom to achieve goals, and cooperate with one another.

Josh recalled the times when Microsoft was more about competition and getting things done. However, Satya Nadella has been promoting more of a cooperative environment, one in which results aren’t the only things that matter, but how employees feel about their jobs and teams.

Tips on how to be more productive

Linked to this corporate culture, is the way you can break down your day and feel more productive. In Josh’s case, he mentioned how he is an early riser, and how his best and most creative work is done between the hours of 5:30am and 8:30am. After that, he answers all emails, and burns through his daily to-do list. In the evenings, he is very active, exercises, and wears himself down to get a good night sleep, and do it all over again the next day.

Josh also recommended the book “Career Superpowers” by James Whitaker to learn more on the subject.

Time for some fun!

After a hearty talk about all things Microsoft, the catalysts went on to have some fun with several of Microsoft’s best products, including: Skype, Xbox Kinect, Windows Phone, Emotion detectors, and giant screens.

The second week of the Jolkona Catalyst program kicked off with an experiential workshop presented by mentors Zachary Smith and Ben Grossman-Kahn.  Zach and Ben are the co-founders of Catalyz, where they offer a human-centered approach to transforming organizations.  Zach worked with the fall 2015 cohort of entrepreneurs and we were glad to have him return with Ben to talk to the entrepreneurs about design thinking!

catalyst spring 2016 cohort

Dipo, Sandra, Firly, and Erwin share a laugh during an improv activity

Through a mix of group discussion and activities, the Catalysts learned about the design thinking approach and the opportunities for transformation that it offers their social ventures.  Zach and Ben provided examples of the design thinking process and worked with the participants to apply the process to the challenges that face their organizations.  The group discussed the story of Goldilocks and the importance of approaching a problem with the correct questions and mindset — the focus should not be too narrow or too broad, but just right!

The workshop not only helped the Catalysts enter a creative mindset for the week, but also provided them with a new approach to the problems they are facing in Indonesia.  It will be exciting to see them take this process back to their teams and work at home!  If you’d like to see their progress in person, be sure to RSVP for the showcase event on Wednesday, May 25th.  You can also stay updated by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter!


Last week, the Catalyst participants attended a workshop titled “Social Lean Canvas” with John Sechrest.  John is the founder of the Seattle Angel Conference, a co-organizer of the Lean Startup Seattle, and a Startup Weekend Facilitator.  John’s workshop was the first of the program and laid a foundation for the entrepreneurs and their three weeks here in Seattle.

Before the session, the Catalysts reviewed the workshop materials and completed the Lean Canvas.  The Lean Canvas is an adaptation by entrepreneur Ash Maurya of the Business Model Canvas created by Alexander Osterwalder.  The Lean Canvas tool helps entrepreneurs create an action-focused business plan that recognizes the risk involved in entrepreneurship.  You can read more about the Business Model Canvas and Lean Canvas here.

First, John wanted to know about the entrepreneurs’ ventures, how many customers they have, and how many customers they had in the previous month.  He impressed on the Catalysts the necessity of clearly communicating the benefit that they offer their customers.  The group then discussed the importance of storytelling, which was fitting as their first pitch coaching session in Seattle followed this workshop.  The workshop provided a huge amount of useful information and guidance for the Catalysts as they kicked off the program.  We are lucky to have expert mentors like John who give their time to our entrepreneurs!


On Friday morning, the Catalysts traveled to Fremont to visit the Google campus and Theo Chocolate factory and store.  They met with a friend of the Jolkona founders, Zanoon Nissar, who spoke with the Catalysts about her work in corporate social responsibility at Google.  The group discussed their own goals for social good and the ways that they can structure their enterprises to maximize impact in their home communities.  They were also able to speak with other Googlers in product management regarding technical issues and questions specific to their social businesses.

Sandra shares her pitch with the group at Google

Sandra shares her pitch with the team at Google

Before enjoying lunch at the Google cafe, the Catalysts had a pitch session with coach Dan Kranzler.  He encouraged the presenters to always be prepared for technological mishaps, stressing the necessary skill of ad-libbing.  The participants are only one week into the program, but their presentations are looking better each day and we are looking forward to watching them present at the showcase event on Wednesday, May 25th!  (You can RSVP here!)

Learning about the chocolate industry before the factory tour

The group learns about the chocolate industry

From Google, the group headed to Theo Chocolate for a factory tour and Q&A session with Theo CFO and Jolkona board member Chuck Horne.  They learned about Theo’s bean-to-bar philosophy and enjoyed many samples along the way.  Chuck shared insights from Theo’s journey and the company’s values of sustainability, fairness, and quality.  This visit was of particular interest to Cindy, who co-founded an export company with a focus on improving the livelihoods of community farmers (read more here).

The group snacks on cacao nibs

The group snacks on cacao nibs

The day ended with the Galvanize community’s weekly happy hour in Pioneer Square.  It was a great opportunity for the participants to network and to celebrate the progress they made during their first week in Seattle.  Be sure to like Jolkona on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to keep up with all of the fun and hard work!


After a fun weekend networking with the Jolkona team and touring Seattle with their friends and homestay hosts, the Catalysts arrived at the Galvanize co-working space on Monday to begin their first week of the Jolkona Catalyst program.  The work began bright and early as the participants attended the “Social Lean Canvas” workshop with John Sechrest, founder of the Seattle Angel Conference.  It was the perfect workshop to help the entrepreneurs focus on their goals for the next three weeks and beyond.

Following this energizing workshop, the Catalysts enjoyed their first group lunch of the program.  I was lucky enough to sit with participants Firly, Tety, and Frianto and to hear about their experiences in Indonesia and abroad.  We chatted about various topics, from American Mother’s Day to Kurt Cobain.  Firly and Tety joked that they hope to bump into Eddie Vedder before they leave.

The day continued with a peer pitch session, where the Catalysts gave their first pitches of the program.  They will continue to develop their pitches individually, with mentors and coaches, and as a group during the coming weeks.  Their hard work will culminate at the Showcase event on May 25th!  (You can RSVP here!)  After spending a few hours on their presentations, the participants reflected on the day and then headed home to spend time with their homestay hosts.

Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to keep up with the excitement!  I will be updating the blog as the Catalysts work with Seattle startup talents, visit local institutions, and master their pitches.


It is an exciting week at the Jolkona office as we prepare for the arrival of our next Jolkona Catalyst cohort!  The eight social entrepreneurs in the Jolkona Catalyst program, a mentor driven accelerator for founders from developing countries, will journey from Indonesia to Seattle this weekend.  During the three-week program these social entrepreneurs will work with mentors, innovative thought leaders, seasoned business professionals, and startup founders here in the vibrant Seattle community.

Today’s featured entrepreneur is Tety Sianipar, CTO and co-founder of Kerjabilitas. Kerjabilitas is a platform that fights unemployment of people with disabilities by connecting them to employers and opportunities.  Tety is looking forward to learning more about conducting customer research through the Catalyst program in order to improve the user experience of their platform.  She is also excited to network with mentors, social entrepreneurs, and possible collaborators in Seattle!

Want to follow Tety’s journey in Seattle? Like Jolkona on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

You can also register for our Jolkona Catalyst Showcase on May 25th in the beautiful Galvanize building in historic Pioneer Square. Click here to RSVP!

It is an exciting week at the Jolkona office as we prepare for the arrival of our next Jolkona Catalyst cohort!  The eight social entrepreneurs in the Jolkona Catalyst program, a mentor driven accelerator for founders from developing countries, will journey from Indonesia to Seattle this weekend.  During the three-week program these social entrepreneurs will work with mentors, innovative thought leaders, seasoned business professionals, and startup founders here in the vibrant Seattle community.

Today’s featured entrepreneur is Fitri Utami Ningrum, Business Development specialist for Campa Tour.  Campa Tour provides sustainable, community-based tourism for small groups around the Komodo, Rote, & Raja Amat Islands. Campa Tour consists of two main activities and objectives:

  1. Discovering Indonesian history and culture
  2. Empowering the local community

We can’t wait to learn more about the Indonesian tourism sector with Fitri next week.  You can start learning more now at!

Want to follow Fitri’s journey in Seattle? Like Jolkona on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

You can also register for our Jolkona Catalyst Showcase on May 25th in the beautiful Galvanize building in historic Pioneer Square. Click here to RSVP!