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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!

by Kirsten Eldridge, Jolkona Volunteer

 

Before heading off to Redmond for a tour of Microsoft this Friday morning, our Jolkona Catalyst participants received pitch coaching from startup aficionado Dan Kranzler.  Dan is a wireless and technology industry entrepreneur who for 35 years has managed, supported, and financed startup high–tech companies in wireless and social media.

Dan Kranzler Pitch Coaching Oct 30After several of our entrepreneurs gave their pitches, Dan shared feedback and some insight on the nature of pitches. He told the participants that the purpose of a pitch is twofold.  They allow a person to talk about what they do, but in the process of being created they also highlight what is important to the entrepreneur.  The work the participants are putting into their pitches during their three weeks in Seattle will help them to prioritize and guide their ventures when they return to Bangladesh and Indonesia.

This was not the first time our Catalysts pitched their ventures—they gave fast pitches on their very first day in the Jolkona office!  It was exciting to see the progress the participants have made with their presentations in only one short week.  We can’t wait to see their continued progress at our Showcase!  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

 

Our 16 social entrepreneurs in the Jolkona Catalyst program, a three-week mentor driven accelerator for founders from developing countries, will come from Bangladesh and Indonesia to Seattle next month. This three-week intensive program will allow them to further hone their business plans, learn how to tell their story, and gain new insights. We can’t wait to welcome them to our offices on October 25th!

Today’s feature is Taufik Hidayat, Vice-CEO of Genteng Traditional Healthy Market.  Genteng traditional Healthy Market has helped more than 367 poor farmers and over 200 households in Genteng village (West Java Province, Indonesia) to have better options for the sale of their products.

Want to follow Taufik’s journey once our Catalysts arrive to Seattle? Be sure to Like Jolkona on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

You can also 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!

Outside of this project and work, what else do you do for fun in your home country? What other passions do you have?

What I do for fun outside of running my project is teaching poor students in a private vocational school in a border village at Garut City, Indonesia.

What inspired you to start this venture?

The inspiration to start the business was creating a self-business capacity for the poor local farmers by providing a place for them to sell their agricultural product and also assist them in running their business.

What is one obstacle you have faced in running your social business? How did you overcome this obstacle?

The obstacles in running the social business are that the farmers are uneducated, lack business capacity and lack business permits. That’s why farmer business up scaling was very difficult and susceptible of middleman monopolized system.  To overcome that problem, I established a private traditional market.   We provide a very cheap kiosk in the market for the poor farmer to sell their agriculture product directly in our market. We also assist the poor farmer to run their business with several programs so they can escalate their business progress.

What are you looking forward to when you come to the United States for the Jolkona Catalyst program? 

I look forward to participating in the Jolkona Program so I can learn to plan my program better with the result that the program is more sustainable and gives more significant impact to the poor farmers and poor households.

by Kirsten Eldridge, Jolkona Volunteer

 

Our 16 social entrepreneurs in the Jolkona Catalyst program, a three-week mentor driven accelerator for founders from developing countries, will come from Bangladesh and Indonesia to Seattle next month. This three-week intensive program will allow them to further hone their business plans, learn how to tell their story, and gain new insights. We can’t wait to welcome them to our offices on October 25th!

Our next feature is Radyum Ikono, Founder and COO of Nanocenter Indonesia, a company that conducts research and education in nanotechnology and incubates initiatives that uniquely apply nanotechnology to solve important national or global issues.  In addition to research, they are conducting educational workshops that will feed the public’s imagination.

Want to follow Radyum’s journey once our Catalysts arrive to Seattle? Be sure to Like Jolkona on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

You can also 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!

Outside of this project and work, what else do you do for fun in your home country? What other passions do you have?

I play and watch soccer/futsal. I am involved the society activity “Sahabat Beasiswa” which is a platform to share and educate people on scholarship and study abroad. I love to be dynamic, to create an idea, realize it with friends and to contribute to society with that.

What inspired you to start this venture?

First, I spent 6 years learning materials engineering and nanotechnology related subjects. I know and realize that this field is a very emerging field in developed nations, and not only emerging, but also a disruptive and game-changing field. But why in Indonesia do people not put any effort to excel in this field, let alone have an interest in this field?

Second reason, many Indonesians who study abroad, either do not come back, or come back to Indonesia but have not made any significant contributions.

I have a confidence that my venture would be the first of its kind to be able to tackle both issues and inspire others to form expertise-based initiatives managed by Indonesian diaspora alumni.

What is one obstacle you have faced in running your social business? How did you overcome this obstacle?

Convincing investors. Unlike other start-ups that are most likely digital based, we are a “conservative” business that needs to build factories, do physical activities, etc. And it has been quite difficult for us to pitch to most investors that usually look more for digital based start-ups.

What are you looking forward to when you come to the United States for the Jolkona Catalyst program? 

Experience. Network. Investment.

by Kirsten Eldridge, Jolkona Volunteer

 

Our 16 social entrepreneurs in the Jolkona Catalyst program, a three-week mentor driven accelerator for founders from developing countries, will come from Bangladesh and Indonesia to Seattle next month. This three-week intensive program will allow them to further hone their business plans, learn how to tell their story, and gain new insights. We can’t wait to welcome them to our offices on October 25th!

Today’s feature is Hayyu Widiatma Sakya, Business Director of ADHMORA ABHINAYA PRANA.  Adhmora provides energy solutions from energy monitoring to financing energy conservation program.  To reach the goal of energy conservation, Admora educates people about the importance of wise energy consumption and even makes energy saving fun through their championship program.

Want to follow Hayyu’s journey once our Catalysts arrive to Seattle? Be sure to Like Jolkona on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

You can also 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!

Outside of this project and work, what else do you do for fun in your home country? What other passions do you have?

Outside of my project and work, I love to meet and discuss issues with a lot of people, that’s why I love to join new communities, like Global Shapers Community Bandung Hub and Jaringan Komunikasi Bandung Bijak Energi (Bandung Smart Energy Forum).

Also, I enjoy reading books, watching movies, and playing chess in my free time. Usually once a week I meet with my old friends from college to play chess or just hang out together.

What inspired you to start this venture?

When studying my bachelor degree, I started to learn about energy conservation issues in Indonesia. The main problem of energy conservation in Indonesia is always the same, that the people in Indonesia are never aware about their energy use and are using it excessively, due to the cheap price of electricity in Indonesia. If this situation left untouched, this will affect the economic competitiveness and energy sustainability of Indonesia. But there are still only a few organizations concerned with this and mostly they are only doing campaigns for it. It excited me to form a new organization that brings a more precise technological method to educate people about energy usage awareness. That’s why Adhmora was established.  With our initiatives we believe we can bring a big change to the energy conservation paradigm in Indonesia.

What is one obstacle you have faced in running your social business? How did you overcome this obstacle?

What we bring is a totally a new model and approach in Indonesia. To make people understand and embrace in our idea is rather difficult. We need a mentor who also has experience in developing a new and disruptive idea like what we are developing right now, so we can create a more strategic plan to create a bigger impact in society.

What are you looking forward to when you come to the United States for the Jolkona Catalyst program? 

I’m looking for a suitable mentor, an investor to support our initiative in Indonesia, and an entrepreneur community to collaborate and connect with. Also, I want to learn a lot about the start-up environment in the US and discuss with a lot of entrepreneurs that are also working in the energy efficiency sector. Especially there is one company in the US that has become our benchmark: OPOWER.

by Kirsten Eldridge, Jolkona Volunteer

 

Our 16 social entrepreneurs in the Jolkona Catalyst program, a three-week mentor driven accelerator for founders from developing countries, will come from Bangladesh and Indonesia to Seattle next month. This three-week intensive program will allow them to further hone their business plans, learn how to tell their story, and gain new insights. We can’t wait to welcome them to our offices on October 25th!

Today’s feature is Marsya Anggia, Director of Indorelawan, an online platform that connects people looking for meaningful activities with nonprofit organizations and communities that are searching for volunteers to help them achieve their social missions.

Want to follow Marsya’s journey once our Catalysts arrive to Seattle? Be sure to Like Jolkona on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

You can also 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!

Outside of this project and work, what else do you do for fun in your home country? What other passions do you have?

Being a writer is something that I always put in the back of my mind. I haven’t started anything serious but I tried my best to write in my blog once a week. I also love to travel and go to the movies.

What inspired you to start this venture?

I start volunteering during my college years so I really understand how hard it is to find volunteering opportunities, let alone the ‘right’ one for you. Information is scattered and volunteers are usually treated as a someone who do the technical work for NGOs. NGOs are tired with non-commited volunteers but they also don’t invest their time to manage them. So, I was immediately sold when I first heard about this venture from the other founders.

What is one obstacle you have faced in running your social business? How did you overcome this obstacle?

As a nation that was build in the spirit of “gotong-royong” (collaboration work towards a certain goal), surprisingly volunteering is not a culture in Indonesia. In the eyes of volunteers, being ‘relawan’ (volunteer) is identical with natural disasters or political party (thanks to the latest presidential election). While for NGOs, the idea of managing volunteers is something new so it took a lot of convincing for them to see the benefits of our platform.

Without any predecessor in the market, we did a lot of trial and error in the beginning of our venture. We are spending a lot of time with NGOs to develop their volunteer management and using our personal network to capture volunteers needed. Over time, NGOs are starting to share about Indorelawan to the public. We also find success stories from people who start their journey in volunteering through our platform. At the end of the day, what makes us grow is being open to ideas and collaborations.

What are you looking forward to when you come to the United States for the Jolkona Catalyst program? 

I am looking forward to mentorship on how to develop the business unit of Indorelawan – what are the tools, how I can attract companies to invest in us, etc. Our core team is very strong in the operational department however we definitely need help in expanding our business strategy.

Also, I have to say that I am very excited to visit the USA for the first time! See you soon, Seattle!

by Kirsten Eldridge, Jolkona Volunteer

 

Our 16 social entrepreneurs in the Jolkona Catalyst program, a three-week mentor driven accelerator for founders from developing countries, will come from Bangladesh and Indonesia to Seattle next month. This three-week intensive program will allow them to further hone their business plans, learn how to tell their story, and gain new insights. We can’t wait to welcome them to our offices on October 25th!

Our next feature is Neng Niawati, CEO of Limbahagia.  Limbahagia encourages people to view waste in a new way. Pollution in the form of plastic is a major problem in the cities of Indonesia. Limbahagia is currently developing a mobile application and system to facilitate the recycling process.

Want to follow Neng’s journey once our Catalysts arrive to Seattle? Be sure to Like Jolkona on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

You can also 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!

Outside of this project and work, what else do you do for fun in your home country? What other passions do you have?

Enjoying making tasty cakes and garnishing them has driven me to build Ammar Cake. It is truly satisfying when I see the happiness in my customers’ eyes. Each cake is customized based on what they wish. In every cake, there is love.

What inspired you to start this venture?

Everyday I see huge piles of trash. It reaches 6 meters high in Batulayang’s landfill. Kapuas river, that we use as the source of water, is no longer clean because trash is dumped in that river. From that moment, I have been thinking how to absorb the trash. The people must be encouraged to separate their trash and they must be encouraged not to dump the trash but utilize it. The founder are I are trying to give economic value to the trash. We buy their trash to be recycled then sell the production. We keep trying to make trash trading accessible for everyone, so we also created a mobile application.

What is one obstacle you have faced in running your social business? How did you overcome this obstacle?

We must convince people to join our movement.  People’s beliefs and habits are so hard to change. We are trying to arouse people’s awareness to start caring about waste contamination in the water that they consume.

What are you looking forward to when you come to the United States for the Jolkona Catalyst program? 

I want to learn, get more knowledge and skills that I can use to cope with the situation that our enterprise is facing.

by Kirsten Eldridge, Jolkona Volunteer

 

Our 16 social entrepreneurs in the Jolkona Catalyst program, a three-week mentor driven accelerator for founders from developing countries, will come from Bangladesh and Indonesia to Seattle next month. This three-week intensive program will allow them to further hone their business plans, learn how to tell their story, and gain new insights. We can’t wait to welcome them to our offices on October 25th!

Our next feature is Zia Hassan Siddique, Director and CEO of Greenergy Solutions, an engineering and consulting firm that supports and incubates energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives that leverage solar, wind, or hybrid energy to create solutions for agriculture communities.

Want to follow Zia’s journey once our Catalysts arrive to Seattle? Be sure to Like Jolkona on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

You can also 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!

Outside of this project and work, what else do you do for fun in your home country? What other passions do you have?

I am very lucky to have the opportunity to work on something that is my passion. I am very passionate about nature and technology. Another great aspect of my work is that I have to travel a lot, mostly in villages and remote areas. My work is my passion.

Also, I am very fond of watching movies and reading books, especially science fiction and history. I also take a lot of interest in machines and evolving technology.

What inspired you to start this venture?

I have always wanted to do something that would add value to the people and at the same time helps to achieve sustainable growth. I’ve been active in environmental causes for a long time and I’ve always wanted to be a part of something that combines nature and technology. My passion for renewable energy and the growth potential of the agricultural sector of Bangladesh have inspired me to start this venture.

What is one obstacle you have faced in running your social business? How did you overcome this obstacle?

I wouldn’t say that I’ve been able to completely overcome the obstacle. The major obstacle is the mindset of people. And it is quite understandable that people tend to resist change. So, when we talk to people about new energy sources and new technology it is very difficult to convince them. Moreover, since initial investment of renewable energy is high, the resistance tends to be even more. So, we are giving our best effort to establish some success stories which will be the evidence of success and so far we have been able to do that to some extent. However, we have long way to go in making people believe in integration of renewable energy in the agricultural value chain.

What are you looking forward to when you come to the United States for the Jolkona Catalyst program? 

To be very specific about my goals to achieve from this visit to the USA, I am looking forward to gaining:

  • Better knowledge on market access
  • Access to investment
  • Knowledge to integrate Renewable Energy and IT in agriculture value chain and/or in any other sector

I want to expand my business operations both geographically and solution wise. With the knowledge and investment, I’ll scale up the capacity of my organization. Bring in more resources, move aggressively to gain more market access. I’ll introduce better and sustainable technologies ahead of my competitors. Migrate good practices from developed world, start working with multilateral development partners to explore the export market of our agricultural products. I’ll diversify my solutions and will grow my customer base by providing different solutions and increase product/solution per customer.

The potential is huge and I would look forward to a partner, not only investor, with whom we will take the first move advantage and achieve sustainable growth for the farmers, customer and ourselves.

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