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Light of Hope and Zero to Infinity, two Jolkona Catalyst Fall’15 organizations, signed an MOU last week to begin the ground work in which the two organizations can begin to work together.

Light of Hope is a tech-based nonprofit delivering innovative and sustainable solutions for rural schools in Bangladesh. They currently have four “digital schools” – low cost, solar run classrooms with laptops in rural parts of Bangladesh. Zero to Infinity publishes the only Bengali science magazine in Bangladesh with over 100K readers.

The groundwork for this partnership began during the two founders’ participation in our Fall’15 Jolkona Catalyst program. Abdullah al Mahmud of Zero to Infinity and Wali Bhuiyan of Light of Hope both represented Bangladesh in the fall program. Now that they have both returned to their home country, they have signed a partnership agreement. The main objective of their MOU is to make STEM education more interesting and fun among kids in Bangladesh.

The partnership includes the following highlights:

1. Light of Hope and Zero Infinity agree to publish children’s science books with examples of scientific experiments

2. Both of them have agreed to execute joint projects in schools to make science education more interesting

3. Exposure and sharing of each organization’s resources, events, and develop educational, scientific content

Because Zero to Infinity has the largest distribution system in Bangladesh for their science magazine and Light of Hope has an exclusive network of NGOs and schools, working together will help both organizations to serve their common goals: making science education popular and more interesting among future generations.

We’re excited to see the progress Light of Hope and Zero to Infinity continue to make with their new partnership!

Siyu works as an accounting intern at Jolkona. She works with our Executive Director to manage expense reporting related to the Jolkona Catalyst program. Siyu is a graduate student at Seattle University and is studying Professional Accounting. She has a great passion for accounting and hopes to pursue a career in the field upon graduation.

Siyu loves volunteering with nonprofits and other types of events. She used to be a volunteer at the Art Management Department at Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. Siyu also co-founded an on-campus convenient store when she was in her sophomore year of college. She is very interested in entrepreneurship and she is thrilled to join Jolkona and get to know all their brilliant social entrepreneurs.

Woochan Lee recently graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Accounting. He’s always had a keen interest in volunteering at a non-profit. He decided to join Jolkona prior to working full-time. He’s excited to be a part of the Jolkona team as an accounting intern and to help Jolkona with its mission of promoting social entrepreneurship around the globe!

Amir Foy is a recent college graduate and an active dreamer. Amir has been living out of his backpack for one year; traveling with a purpose to create his own social enterprise. Currently he is working on Project Kopi. Project Kopi buys and sells coffee from Indonesia and donates the profits back to the location where the coffee is sourced.

Amir also grew up in the mountains. If he’s not in the city, you can find him camping in the wilderness.

Kirsten Eldridge is currently a student at Seattle University, where she is pursuing a major in Spanish and a minor in Women and Gender studies. Her interests include, economics, public health, and international development. She is always trying to learn more about social entrepreneurship and the nonprofit sector, so she was thrilled to assist Jolkona with the Jolkona Catalyst accelerator for the Fall’15 Cohort.

 

Kymberly is firstly an innovator and entrepreneur.  She builds relationships, sees the big picture, and is passionate about results.  Kymberly holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Internet Marketing. She completed her undergraduate work at the University of Dayton and is a Music Therapist- Board Certified. She built and ran a Music Therapy company for five years in New Jersey.  Her background includes extensive work in relationship development, program development, and personal growth.  She is most proud of her ability to think outside of the box to solve problems, success at creating relationships and influencing without power, and ability to utilize resources effectively to enhance outcomes.

Christine Rmah was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. Christine has a Bachelor’s degree in Media and Communication. She is currently in school at Edmonds Community College for an Event Planning Certificate.

As an Event volunteer, Christine helped to implement our Summer 2015 Happy Hour at the Galvanize Tech Campus and Co-working Space. She also supported the Jolkona Catalyst staff during our Fall 2015 Jolkona Catalyst Welcome Dinner and during the Jolkona Catalyst Showcase event.

Ruomi is currently a Junior at the University of Washington majoring in International Studies. Upon graduation, Ruomi hopes she can impact communities both domestically and internationally. She loves communicating with people, spreading ideas, planning events, and sharing her passions with people around her. She believes the key to success in public affairs is personal charisma.

Ruomi supported the Jolkona Catalyst staff during the Fall’15 Jolkona Catalyst accelerator program by providing critical events and logistics support.

During the first week of the Fall’15 Jolkona Catalyst program, the Jolkona Team was excited to welcome a group of five South Asian nationals for the first Jolkona Boost program. 

Aecil Trinidad from the Philippines poses with the Jolkona Catalyst banner

Aecil Trinidad from the Philippines poses with the Jolkona Catalyst banner

The Jolkona Boost team is a group of energetic, young founders representing Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Brunei. They are the winning team from an entrepreneurship workshop and pitch competition that took place on August 4-6 in Kuala Lumpur and was funded by the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.  The event — “Young Southeast Asia Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Generation: Startup Weekend ASEAN” (www.swasean.com) — brought together 110 young aspiring Southeast Asian entrepreneurs to develop strategies on growing their local startup communities.

The five teammates came together to create a green energy start-up called APOLLO. Their start-up aims to provide energy efficiency and battery charging convenience to all of its users.

The Jolkona Boost Team working at Galvanize

The Jolkona Boost Team working at Galvanize

During their time in Seattle, the Jolkona Boost team attended a combination of Jolkona Catalyst workshops and Seattle Startup Week events for an intense one week program. Because the Jolkona Boost team live in different countries, they are faced with the unique challenge of running a startup across borders. Their week in Seattle allowed them to work on their business plan and strategy without having to rely on Skype and e-mail.

The Jolkona Boost team visiting the Microsoft Visitor Center

Visiting the Microsoft Visitor Center

Before their departure, the Jolkona Boost team joined their Jolkona Catalyst colleagues on a trip to the Microsoft Visitor’s Center in Redmond. We then celebrated the end of their time in Seattle with a happy hour cohosted by the Jolkona team and Galvanize. The happy hour allowed our Boost team to spend time with their fellow Catalysts, homestay hosts, and members of the Galvanize community before their return home.

We wish the Jolkona Boost team all the best as they continue to grow APOLLO! 

On Wednesday, November 11 the Jolkona team celebrated the close of our fourth Jolkona Catalyst Program with a culmination Showcase at the beautiful Galvanize Campus in Pioneer Square. Jolkona Catalyst is an intensive, three-week business accelerator for founders from emerging countries. The Jolkona Catalyst Showcase allowed our founders the opportunity to tell their story to 90 guests from the Seattle start-up and non-profit community.

For the fall program, we welcomed our largest cohort to-date with 15 young leaders from Bangladesh and Indonesia. This was also our first multi-country program giving our Catalysts the opportunity to share ideas across countries. Over the course of the three weeks, our Catalysts engaged in mentor-based training and pitch coaching with experts from the Seattle startup community.

We kicked off the evening with a welcome note from our Executive Director, Monica Mendoza. Monica shared with the audience updates from our alumni as they continue to grow their organizations.

During the Showcase, our Catalysts presented their organizations and businesses in front of the Seattle community in 5-minute presentation format. Their presentations were truly inspirational with our Catalysts demonstrating how their ventures are helping to combat social issues faced by their home countries.

We closed the event with a graduation and awards ceremony to honor all of the hard work accomplished by our Catalysts over the past three weeks. Afterwards, our friends and supporters were able to network with our Catalysts while enjoying an Indonesian and Bangladeshi dinner!

Interested in learning more about our Catalysts and their ventures? Visit our dedicated Fall’15 Catalyst page.

Be sure to like Jolkona on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

by Kirsten Eldridge, Jolkona Volunteer

 

The program participants received an exciting and hands-on introduction to Design Thinking this week with Zachary Smith.  This quick-paced workshop helped the entrepreneurs approach their ventures with a fresh mindset and also gave them an opportunity to get to know their peers better.

Zachary Smith workshopA technology leader with more than 18 years of product development and client services experience, Zachary has worked with a wide range of industries and organizations including startups, Wall Street banks, automotive manufacturers, enterprise software platform providers, and large consulting agencies.  Zachary is co-founder of the Seattle Design Thinking & Innovation Collective, an organization with over 1200 active members focused on creating a network of innovators in the Seattle area and teaching Design Thinking through immersive and experiential activities.

Zachary Smith workshopA highlight of the workshop was the first activity.  The entrepreneurs were paired up and instructed to stand back-to-back as they listened to a song.  Next, the participants described what the song made them feel to their partners.  After listening, the partners shared the experiences with the group as if they were their own.

In the next activity, the participants were tasked with interviewing their partner about their morning commute and then redesigning the commute based on their research.  Zachary encouraged the Catalysts to “dig deep” and listen carefully in their interviews.  Perhaps it is not the commute that is the problem, but an uncomfortable car seat or other factor.

Zachary Smith workshopBoth of these activities got the Catalysts ready to approach problems in their ventures and their communities in new ways.  They prepared the entrepreneurs to learn about Design Thinking and how it is applicable to the challenge of innovation.  We’re excited to see how they use what they learned with Zachary to prepare for their final Showcase!  Don’t forget to register for our Jolkona Catalyst Showcase on November 11th in historic Pioneer Square. Click here to RSVP!

Project Catalyst 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 and abroad.

Be sure to like Jolkona on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

by Kirsten Eldridge, Jolkona Volunteer

 

The Catalysts got hands-on with their business ideas this week with Ewelina Kieley, Founder of Makapen Co.  Ewelina is an entrepreneur helping startups build prototypes and MVPs with less waste and less upfront costs. She began her career in biochemistry research where she became intimately familiar with the scientific method. Next she jumped on a business opportunity and cofounded a bakery and cafe in Atlanta Georgia. Once the cafe was up and running, she moved to Seattle to continue working with early stage startups. At Makapen, she supports non-technical founders in the process of building out their web products.

Ewelina Kieley workshop

Ewelina’s workshop with the program participants was titled “Early Stage Startup in a Box: How to Validate Your Business Hypothesis with a Prototype”.  The workshop taught the entrepreneurs how to identify a business hypothesis, test the hypothesis through customer interviews and prototypes, and approach building these prototypes.

Ewelina Kieley workshopAfter introductions were made and Ewelina explained the process, the participants were challenged to define their own business hypotheses and design prototypes to test them.  The Catalysts teamed up and quickly got to work, spreading out throughout the room to sketch plans and discuss their ventures.  It was an exciting, hands-on workshop and the hard work of the participants was evident when they presented their prototypes to the group.

Ewelina Kieley workshopProject Catalyst 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 and abroad.

Don’t forget to register for our Jolkona Catalyst Showcase on November 11th in the beautiful, new Galvanize co-working space in historic Pioneer Square. Click here to RSVP!

Be sure to like Jolkona on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

by Kymberly Tindall, Jolkona Volunteer

 

Monday of the second week, the Catalyst participants visited Cambia IMG_4294Grove and learned about how their space works to bring together individuals who are solving problems in healthcare. The Catalyst participants toured the 9000 square feet and got a sense for how a space free to people working on solutions to a fractured healthcare system.  Check out the board that is on the wall in the office area! A focus on the customer and innovating the customer experience in healthcare.  Healthcare innovators use this space to work, interact, support, and learn.

After the tour, the Catalyst participants convened in the conference room.  Avtar Varma, from Elevar, learned a bit about the projects in the room and got the group on a skype call with Anisha Sood, Investor-in-Residence at the Cambia Grove.  The Catalyst participants were aIMG_4300ble to learn about investing from the perspective of a Venture Capital expert.  Some of the take away points were that VCs are looking for focus and even in social projects, the return and outcome projections will be looked at the same from a financial stand point.   Also that advisors are great so long as they regularly and actively advise and how the process of gaining funding goes from introduction to receiving funding.

You can register for our Jolkona Catalyst Showcase on November 11th to see our entrepreneurs give their final pitches for the program.  Click here to RSVP!

Jolkona Catalyst 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 and abroad.

Be sure to like Jolkona on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

by Kirsten Eldridge, Jolkona Volunteer

 

The Jolkona Catalyst entrepreneurs kicked off their second week in the Jolkona office with a group mentor session with J. Michael Cavitt.  Michael is an author, a speaker, a change agent, a trainer and a connector.  During his forty year plus career, he has consulted, coached and trained top managers in state government, small business owners, individual investors and professionals.

Michael Cavitt Mentor SessionMichael’s facilitated discussion with the participants focused on business planning.  Throughout the discussion, the Catalysts took notes on their plans, strategies, and goals for their respective ventures.  Beyond explaining the more technical aspects of business planning, Michael also offered advice from his experiences within the Seattle startup community, encouraging the Catalysts not to be afraid of failure and to “fail forward” in their endeavors.

Following their group mentor session, the entrepreneurs prepared for and attended one-on-one meetings with their Seattle-based mentors.  These mentor sessions are invaluable to our participants and we can’t wait to see what they’ve learned when they pitch their ventures at our Jolkona Catalyst Showcase on November 11th in the beautiful, new Galvanize co-working space in historic Pioneer Square. Click here to RSVP!

Michael Cavitt Mentor SessionJolkona Catalyst 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 and abroad.

Be sure to like Jolkona on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

 

by Kirsten Eldridge, Jolkona Volunteer

 

This Tuesday, our Jolkona Catalyst entrepreneurs took part in an exciting workshop titled “The Role of Social Entrepreneurs in Greater Systems for Change” with Seattle startup talent Cole Hoover.  Cole is an entrepreneur, teacher and member of Global Shapers interested in poverty alleviation, the future of education and using business to do good.

Workshop Oct 27

Cole kicked off the workshop by speaking about some of the challenges that the nonprofit community faces, stating that most nonprofits will struggle to reach the full scale stage and are often duplicating the efforts of other nonprofits and social enterprises.  Our entrepreneurs replied by sharing their impressions of the nonprofit communities in their own nations, Bangladesh and Indonesia.

Cole and the Catalysts spent the rest of the workshop exploring the ways that entrepreneurs can avoid these pitfalls and enhance their impact.  Their main focus: viewing their organizations’ and businesses’ missions as part of the “bigger picture”.  Referencing the work of entrepreneurs Eric Stowe and Jason Saul, Cole encouraged the Catalysts to work towards a world in which their current ventures will no longer be needed.

Workshop Oct 27

To further analyze their efficiency and impact, the entrepreneurs made lists of the five things they spend the most time on for their work.  These lists helped them prioritize their actions with a renewed focus on the bigger picture.  This activity also provided plenty of laughs and bonding moments over the common challenges that entrepreneurs face.

This workshop was one of many preparing our Jolkona Catalyst entrepreneurs for their showcase on Wednesday, November 11th in the beautiful, new Galvanize co-working space in historic Pioneer Square. Click here to RSVP!

Jolkona Catalyst 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 and abroad.

Be sure to like Jolkona on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

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