Grace Wall, Program Associate Intern, Jolkona Internship

Jolkona is happy to to offer an internship opportunity to Seattle University student Grace Wall. Grace joins the team as a Program Associate intern and will work alongside our Executive Director to gain firsthand nonprofit experience. She will contribute to the growth and development of Jolkona’s social entrepreneur community and the Catalyst program. She will also be learning about Jolkona’s donors through a variety of fundraising projects.

Grace is a second year student at Seattle University in the Matteo Ricci College’s Humanities for Leadership degree program. The program teaches students to better understand themselves, the world around them, and their place within that world. Students learn how to more effectively interact and work with other people in leadership capacities.

Students improve their leadership capabilities by participating in both a local and international internship during their four years at Seattle University. They learn about the structure and organization of the professional world through real world, hands-on experience. Students can then better understand how to be more effective in their future roles as professionals.

This will be Jolkona’s second Seattle University intern but our first Matteo Ricci intern. We are thrilled to continue developing this local partnership with Seattle University. Grace is excited to work with Jolkona as part of the team. Her prior experience includes working as an accounting clerk as well as a lifeguard and swimming instructor. Grace is passionate about entrepreneurship and interested in better understanding how to be effective and successful in the professional world.

Many of Grace’s family members are entrepreneurs. From a young age she has seen what it takes to run a business having spent time around her family’s companies. In the future, she hopes to be an active member of the Wall Family Enterprise Business Advisory Council as well as possibly run her parents’ company, Hatch Building Supply, once her father retires.

For now, Grace is focusing on succeeding as a university student and Army ROTC Cadet at Seattle University. She values dedication and is ready to work hard and learn new things. You can learn more about Grace Wall on her LinkedIn page.

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

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” ( — brought together 110 young aspiring Southeast Asian entrepreneurs to develop strategies on growing their local startup communities.  The group also had the opportunity to meet Secretary Kerry during his visit to Kuala Lumpur.

The five teammates came together to created a green energy start-up called APOLLO. Their start-up aims to provide energy efficiency and battery charging convenience to all of its users. APOLLO will allow users to charge cellular batteries from both solar and kinetic energy with a wireless charging feature.

Jolkona has arranged a one-week visit to Seattle for the five team members to help them develop the startup idea they presented in Kuala Lumpur.  They will learn skills needed to develop business plans and will get exposure to other entrepreneurs, potential partners, and mentors.

APOLLO is still in the early stages of their venture, but their vision is to make a revolutionary contribution to their countries’ power crises.

Please join us in welcoming the Fall’15 Jolkona Boost Team! 


Debbie Ang, Malaysia Debbie, Headshot

Debbie graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Education and Master of Languages & Linguistics. A serial multi-tasker; she works across multiple disciplines (law, psychology, semantics) to publish an ISI-impact journal article for her alma mater and is also an avid reader and writer, where she also contributes to a local website and blog as a columnist/ blogger. Her appreciation for literature and reading eventually landed her insatiable thirst for knowledge in business management and tech start-ups with focus on marketing, media and branding for Apollo.

An ardent believer that knowledge should be autodidactic, she is currently learning to code. Her experience as a trainer/educator has also groomed her to be analytical, critical, communicative and empathetic towards handling people from different backgrounds. Debbie believes that users’ experience and the product is the core success of APOLLO and together with her partners, they collaborate with one another to realize the very mission and vision they had when they first met during Startup Weekend, ASEAN.


Louise Ivan Valencia Payawal, Philippines IMG_4518

Louise Ivan Valencia Payawal is a 21-year-old software developer from the Philippines. Ivan was an active student leader and a consistent academic scholar whose hard work and perseverance bore fruit as he graduated with Latin honors from Wesleyan University-Philippines. He has also shared had his fair share of losses and failures. He has encountered countless hurdles, however these hurdles have fueled his passion for innovation and his commitment to the environment.

Ivan now anchors APOLLO, a company committed to technological advancements that utilize renewable energy resources. From this, APOLLO aims to provide energy efficiency and battery charging convenience to all its users. It possesses two renewable energy features that enable APOLLO to charge the battery from both solar and kinetic energy; and a wireless charging feature that enable its users to share its power wirelessly.


Tomy Arden Phang, Indonesia2013-06-21 2015-04-15 001 020

Tomy has always been enthusiastic about learning something new, especially in the field of sciences and technology. He loves to be able to apply what he learned into tangible projects that can be used to achieve a greater purpose. Being young has not stopped Tomy from looking for opportunities to build himself up as an entrepreneur.

Having found himself with like minded people in Startup Weekend ASEAN, His team has decided to create a green tech venture together. Tomy was born and raised in Indonesia, but has been studying in Singapore for the past seven years. He is currently studying in Singapore University of Technology and Design, pursuing Engineering and Product Design.


Suriatizah A. Rani (Shuu), Brunei Shuu Rani, Headshot

Suriatizah A. Rani (Shuu), has been teaching herself to design for the past 5 years. A person who has always been taking the high road in life, she has been building her career in the Design Industry by freelancing for different companies. Decidedly quirky and attentive, she values the symbiosis in the design world, from the Digital Design, to Visual Strategy and Industrial Design. Within those years, she has worked and established good rapport with both local and international clients such as Disney, GQ Magazine, and Insider Magazine.

As a design advocate, she believes the importance of design being not just an aesthetic, but functionality.

She resonates with APOLLO’s ideal to revolutionize product design, thus encouraged her to be the Lead Designer for the team. To her, brand and product design goes in tandem to any business’ foundation.


Aecil Trinidad, Philippines Aecil Trinidad

Aecil M. Trinidad graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electronics Engineering. She was granted a scholarship by Korea’s “Scranton Women’s Leadership.”

She also represented Wesleyan University in the recently concluded CISCO CCENT Netrid- ers Philippines 2014 where she was recognized as an award recipient. She also has a passion for network engineering and design. In her spare time, Aecil loves to travel, watch movies, and spend time hanging out with awesome people.


The Jolkona team has been hard at work getting ready for our Fall’15 Jolkona Catalyst program. This fall from October 24 to November 13, we will welcome 16 social leaders from Bangladesh and Indonesia. This will be the first time the Jolkona Catalyst Program will host the two countries at the same time. We are looking forward to having the two countries collaborate and learn from one another!

The welcome dinner for the Spring 2015 cohort. Our first program with Bangladesh!

The welcome dinner for the Spring 2015 cohort. Our first program with Bangladesh!

For this upcoming cohort, we received 140 applications from young social leaders and entrepreneurs from Bangladesh and Indonesia. From this 140 applicant pool, our team conducted 60 interviews over the past month. Our interviews frequently ran over their time limit because we truly enjoyed each conversation. It was incredibly energizing to hear the great work being done in these two countries!

Stay tuned: During the third week of September, we will announce our final list of 16 Catalysts for this upcoming program. These young social entrepreneurs come from a wide variety of industries and are working on solving systemic social issues with innovative approaches.

Are you in Seattle and want to get involved with our fall program? We are actively looking for homestay hosts, volunteers, and mentors. Click here to learn more about joining our Fall’15 Jolkona Catalyst Team. 


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“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.

On May 5, we closed out our third Jolkona Catalyst accelerator with a culmination PitchFest at the WeWork Coworking Office in South Lake Union. Jolkona Catalyst is an intensive, three-week accelerator for entrepreneurs from emerging countries. For our spring cohort, eight of the most promising entrepreneurs from Bangladesh traveled to Seattle for three weeks of mentor-based training and pitch coaching.

Our Catalyst entrepreneurs pitched their ventures in front of the Seattle social entrepreneurship community with fast, three-minute pitches. Their presentations were then judged by a panel of experts who provided feedback. Our judges included: Boris Jabes, co-founder of Meldium (acquired by LogMeIn); Jason Preston, co-founder of Dent the Future; and Janis Machala, Managing Partner of Paladin Partners.

After, our friends and supporters joined our Catalysts for a delicious Bangladeshi meal and networking. A big thank you to everyone who joined us for this inspirational evening! Interested in learning more about our Catalysts and their ventures? Visit our dedicated Catalyst page.

Couldn’t make it to the event? Keep scrolling for photo highlights from the Showcase! 

Shazeeb Islam presenting

Shazeeb Islam pitching for Social Business Youth Alliance, a social enterprise supporting youth leadership through entrepreneurship training.

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, an online travel platform working to make Bangladesh a more accessible travel destination.

Catalyst enjoying dinner and networking after the event.

Catalyst enjoying dinner and networking after the event.

Dr. Neelima Das (center) with Jolkona Board member, Heide Felton (left) and Dan Kranzler, Jolkona pitch coach

Dr. Neelima Das (center) with Jolkona Board president, Heide Felton (left) and Dan Kranzler (right), Jolkona pitch coach

Fiona Khandoker, CEO of TrainedBD, and Debojit Saha Shurokka, who were the winners of Audience and Judges Choice respectively.

Fiona Khandoker, CEO of TrainedBD, and Debojit Saha, CEO of Shurokka, were the winners of Judges and Audience Choice Awards respectively.

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Our first five participants in Project Catalyst, Jolkona’s new accelerator for social entrepreneurs from developing countries, will come from Indonesia to Seattle in the next couple weeks. This 2-week intensive workshop will further hone their business plans, meet prospective investors and gain new insights. We can’t wait to welcome them to our offices on June 8!

Our second feature is Hendriyadi Bahtiar whose The Healthy Shredded Fish venture not only produces an Indonesian national snack, but is a campaign for healthier lifestyles. In addition, the project employs fishermen’s wives in coastal areas in South Sulawesi, increasing income and reducing poverty in the area.

Q: Outside of this project and work, what else do you do for fun in Indonesia? What other passions do you have?

Traveling and volunteering. When I was 18 years old, I decided to be a backpacker. Realizing the beautiful scene in Indonesia as archipelago country, I started to explore it: hiking, climbing, snorkeling and learning how to dive. In 2010, I had the chance to explore Indonesia through Sail Banda, a 30-days youth expedition with Indonesian Navy. This program gave me an enlightenment about the marine and coastal potential in Indonesia and it was a great chance to get a taste of our cultural diversity. In 2011, I chosen as facilitator for Sail Belitung to explore Sumatra Island for a month. Moreover, I love playing with kids and volunteering to raise update books for them. I enjoy writing and playing table tennis.

Q: So, what inspired you to start this venture?

Traveling taught me a lot and opened my mind act after seeing the coastal condition in all over Indonesia. Many people who live in coastal areas have a lot local resources but have poor education and economy. They have limited access to books and school facilities; they don’t have good packaging for products and they have limited market. So, after getting a scholarship for a short course in Iowa State University and joining Indonesia Canada Youth Exchange program, it motivated me and other alumni to take action. In 2012, we launched education program for the children through providing mini library named Sahabat Pulau and collaborate with Econantural Foundation to empower their mothers (fisherman’s wives) to create economic value through product diversification from fish such Shredded Fish, Snack Fish and Seaweed Snack.

hendriyadiQ: Tell us a story of a person who has benefited from your program.

Running the program really helped women in coastal areas to increase their quality of life. They are really happy because can help their husband to increase their family income. Beside that, they learned how to manage their money through financial literacy from the volunteers. In addition, while they work, their children have the chance to learn and play in mini library. We provide spot for children books and children games in production house and assist with volunteers. Some of their children get scholarship from our partners such Not Another Child scholarship program.

Q: What is one obstacle you have faced in running the program? How did you overcome it?

The main obstacle is volunteer management. In the first year, we have difficulties to find loyal and committed volunteers and staff. After a discussion with the board, we initiated Youth Volunteer Camp to spread the volunteerism virus and motivate them through sharing from experts. In this program, we talk about volunteerism, community empowerment, project management, social entrepreneurship, and fundraising. This was really effective and helped us sustain our venture.

Q: What are you looking forward to when you come to the United States as a part of Project Catalyst?

I would like to share the potential of people (women and youth) and local resources in coastal area in Indonesia. We need more youth that can be involved to maximize those potentials, especially in packaging, marketing and financial literacy. Furthermore, I am looking for a mentor that can help us improve the quality or level our ventures. Networking with social entrepreneurs, NGOs, donors will be valuable to accelarate the project and I hope those networks can help to give more impactful to the community after going back to Indonesia.

We are very excited to have Hendriyadi Bahtiar here in Seattle! If you are interested in helping these amazing entrepreneurs, Project Catalyst is recruiting for mentors, coaches and hosts! If you are available between June 8 and 22, please contact

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Last week, dozens of women in Saudi Arabia got behind the wheel. Driving while female may seem trivial or mundane to us, but this is a major act of courage for Saudi women. While driving is technically not illegal for women in Saudi Arabia, they are banned from obtaining driver’s licenses, along with countless other acts of independence. Yet over 60 women (most equipped with international driver’s licenses and experience) coordinated a “drive-in” and posted videos of their activity online, continuing a small but persistent movement for improving women’s rights.

The Associated Press reports that the first time a Saudi female driving protest took place, in 1990, 50 women were arrested, had their passports confiscated and lost their jobs. But not a single woman was arrested on Wednesday. Activist and professor Aziza Youssef explained that they plan to continue driving and posting photos and videos, which they hope will normalize the notion of women driving. Check out some of their videos on The Guardian’s website.

Youssef and the other female Saudi drivers are an inspiration for women empowerment efforts everywhere, including partners and participants in Jolkona’s Women and Girls Give Together campaign. We believe that when given the right economic support and educational tools to rise out of poverty and oppression, women can make an incredible impact on the world.

If you want to make an impact of your own for women and girls, there’s only a few days left in this month’s Give Together campaign, with collective funds going to support Jubilee Women’s Center, MADRE, and the Bo M. Karlsson Foundation. We have $1,500 in matching funds from the Seattle International Foundation, which will double these Give Together donations and amplify October gifts to our Give Direct projects that also support women and girls.

Time is running out: help empower a woman or girl today!

Photo by MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images

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photo 2Possibly the coolest thing I own is this desk globe I found in my grandmother’s apartment in Cyprus last summer. At first glance, it looks like any small globe — just a bit dented and dirty, and the “Made in England” logo on the stem prompts the same chuckle we get from our son playing with his dad’s 1970s-era “Made in Hong Kong” matchbox cars.

The fun part comes from looking closely at the continents — especially Africa and Asia — and marveling at how much the world has changed in less than 75 years. For the most part, it’s like a desk toy based on this week’s Project Syndicate (via Slate) article, “Of Course The World Is Better Now Than It Was In 1900.”

But even more fun: trying to nail down when on earth this spinning map could have been made?

Some of its countries that no longer exist:

  • Abyssinia
  • Anglo Egyptian Sudan
  • Ashanti
  • Bechuanaland Protectorate
  • Belgian Congo
  • Borneo
  • British Guiana
  • British Somaliland
  • Chinese Republicphoto 1
  • Dutch Guiana
  • Formosa
  • French Equatorial Africa
  • French Indochina
  • French West Africa
  • Italian Somaliland
  • Manchukuo
  • Northern Rhodesia
  • Sarawak
  • Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
  • Yugoslavia

Other clues: There’s no Israel, Jordan, Lebanon or United Arab Emirates. Tibet is bigger than Germany. Bangladesh is Pakistan. Korea is united. Germany has a line snaking down its middle, yet is not labeled into East or West versions…

So what year was this globe made? Make your guess in the Comments section below! (Or, fellow Children of the ’80s, just insert your best Carmen Sandiego joke here.)

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Today is United Nations Day, celebrating the ratification of the U.N. Charter on Oct. 24, 1945. For the past 68 years, the U.N. has been a driving force in global humanitarian efforts. More recently, the body’s eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have become an essential metric for member countries and nonprofits to measure their impact and track their progress in working to alleviate the world’s greatest problems.

The MDGs aim to:

  • Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty
  • Achieve universal primary education
  • Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Reduce child mortality
  • Improve maternal health
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
  • Ensure environmental sustainability
  • Develop a global partnership for development

Many organizations, and many regular donors just like you, are committed to making progress on the MDGs. Browse the Jolkona Blog archive to learn more about the work that we’re doing with our partners to support these goals, including these posts:

Taking Collective Action

In his official statement for United Nations Day 2013, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon stresses the importance of planning for what happens after the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals:

This year again, we saw the United Nations come together on armed conflict, human rights, the environment and many other issues. We continue to show what collective action can do. We can do even more. In a world that is more connected, we must be more united.

Collective action is also central to Jolkona’s mission, and is the essence of the Give Together monthly philanthropy program we launched earlier this year. When you join Give Together during October, your donation supports three projects working to help women and girls locally and globally, promoting gender equality (as per one of the MDGs). We also have matching funds this month from the Seattle International Foundation for projects related to women and girls, enabling us to double the first $1,500 donated to those Give Together and Give Direct projects until Nov. 1.

Which one inspires you to give? 

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fashion show sari

Jolkona’s Night of Fashion & Giving 2012

Love philanthropy? How about colorful clothes? Bollywood and salsa dance numbers?  If you’re in the Seattle – Eastside area on Oct. 28, here’s an event for you:

Back by popular demand, the Jolkona + Microsoft Giving Campaign fashion show raises awareness and funds for Jolkona’s mission to inspire and empower a new generation of philanthropists locally and globally. Join us for a fun evening of fashion, dance, refreshments, good company and a great cause!
What: Giving In Style
When: Monday, Oct. 28, 2013, 6:30 pm
Where: Microsoft Building 34, 3720 159th Ave. NE, Redmond, WA 98052
Why: Food, wine, music, fashion and dance. Did we mention it supports a great cause, too?
Tickets: $25 admission includes two drink tickets and hors d’oeuvres –

Visit the Facebook event page to view photos from last year’s fashion show and see who else is going!

On a related note, there’s just over a week left to contribute to one of our partner projects for Women & Girls and have your gift matched! Join our Give Together pool (starting at $10/month), or make a one-time donation (starting at $5) to a Give Direct project. 

Editor’s Note: Seattle is definitely known for philanthropy… but fashion? Hey, we are home of the flagship Nordstrom! And a Zara store is opening here soon, just around the corner from the Jolkona office. (Dangerous, at least for me.)

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Jolkona Staff - 2010

Jolkona’s Fearless Females – 2010

In Jolkona’s first five years, we’ve collected more than $700,000 for nonprofit partners locally and globally. More than $40,000 has come just through Give2Girls, a campaign we run every March to specifically support causes for women and girls. And we’ve raised more than $1,200 so far this month through our Give Together featured cause of Women & Girls, supporting projects in Seattle, Nepal and Sudan.

Our work for women and girls is much bigger than the occasional fundraising theme, however. One way or another, most of our partners empower women and girls. Some literally save lives; others strive to make those lives worth living. As Jolkona blogger Madison Abshire noted at the beginning of this month: “The world’s women and girls are one of the greatest sources of untapped potential for providing lasting global change… Improving women’s lives has a positive impact on society; on average, 90 percent of each dollar invested in a woman is returned to her family and community.”

We’ve had dozens of interesting posts here on the Jolkona Blog about how donors and volunteers can make a big difference for the world’s women and girls. Three blasts from the past:

Double Your Dollars

This month, we have matching funds from the Seattle International Foundation to amplify donations to Jolkona partner projects related to women and girls. This offer will double the first $1,500 given to our Give Together and Give Direct projects for women/girls. Which one inspires you to give? 

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Is it impossible to strive for sustainable ecosystems and feed the world’s 7 billion people at the same time? Are these two goals completely at odds? Not according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

Today is the U.N.’s World Food Day 2013: Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition. The FAO uses this observance to raise awareness about global hunger, encourage cooperation between developing nations to work on finding solutions, and promote technology to increase agricultural production.

This year, World Food Day’s focus is to raise awareness about the root causes of global hunger and brainstorm sustainable solutions. Issues like biodiversity and environmental sustainability, malnutrition and hunger are pieces of a larger picture.

 Every aspect of the food system has an effect on the final availability and accessibility of diverse, nutritious foods – and therefore on consumers’ ability to choose healthy diets. What is more, policies and interventions on food systems are rarely designed with nutrition as their primary objective.

Jolkona’s partners are finding innovative ways to improve agricultural sustainability and reduce hunger, by working to improve food systems as a whole. In honor of World Food Day, consider making a donation to one of our Give Direct projects related to Agriculture and Food. Two examples:

Give Fresh Produce to Children in Mexico

How can you provide an orphan in Mexico with a nutritious and balanced diet, and support local farmers at the same time? Every $40 donated to Friends of the Orphans will supply five children with fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables for a whole month. In addition to improving nutrition for these vulnerable children, the program buys the produce locally, supporting Mexican farmers and agricultural communities.

Fund Biochar Producing Clean Cook-Stoves for Indigenous Cacao Farmers in Costa Rica

Indigenous farmers in Costa Rica face challenges like deforestation, poor agricultural productivity and unhealthy cooking practices. SeaChar works to solve these related problems by teaching communities to build, use, and sell biochar-producing stoves. These cooking stoves produce charcoal out of renewable agricultural products like coconut shells, and can also be used to supplement nutrients in the soil. A donation of $10 buys 10 kilograms of biochar for a community project; $40 can sponsor one person for a 2-day training workshop on using the stove. With your help, SeaChar can help indigenous farmers improve their environment, their food production, and even earn extra income through the production of biochar.

By making small donation through Jolkona’s Give Direct or Give Together programs, you can make a big difference for the world’s most vulnerable people and their communities. Give today!

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