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 Faraiba Farnan, Co-Founder of Sneho. Sneho is focused on reducing school drop-out rates in the urban slums of Bangladesh. Sneho’s field tested solution involves distributing the ‘Durable Learning Mat’ and donated books and toys to families.
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 a friendly person and like to hang out with close friends, go to movies and have fun. In spare time, I like to watch movies and have a relaxing day at home. I also have passion for traveling and trying different kinds of food.
What inspired you to start this venture?
I come from a developing country where the living standards of people vary a lot and a great percentage of the population lives under the poverty line. The daily struggles and hardship of the people in my surroundings intrigued me and gave me an urge to bring a change in the society for the upcoming generations to have a better life.
What is one obstacle you have faced in running your social business? How did you overcome this obstacle?
One of the main obstacles we faced was to pilot the project and market our model. We faced a lot of questions and criticisms because trust is a crucial issue when people look at social ventures. We overcame the obstacle by being active in social media and publicizing our activities in the most transparent form possible. We answered every question with patience and have done every transaction with proper documentation.
What are you looking forward to when you come to the United States for the Jolkona Catalyst program?
I expect to find out what is lacking in the model of my venture and also a solution to this. I also expect to come back with a well-drawn long term plan for taking my venture ahead successfully. I hope the limitation we have regarding funds will also be met through the opportunities offered by this program. And above all, I expect to gain professional experience which will increase my proficiency to run a social venture.