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Project Catalyst Entrepreneur Profile #3 – Nadine Zamira

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 allow them to 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 third feature is Nadine Zamira, whose communications agency, LeafPlus, focuses on sustainability projects through inspiring perceptions, emotions and actions. LeafPlus works with government agencies, businesses, NGO’s, schools and communities to identify their sustainability objectives and translate complex concepts into creative, engaging and easily shared stories.

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

Nothing makes me happier than to travel to exotic natural destinations around Indonesia. I feel happiest in nature and blessed to be living in a country with such amazing landscapes and people. I’ve also recently discovered diving and am quickly becoming addicted to it. My travels also remind me constantly of my mission and the people that it touches. Other than that I can easily get lost in books and movies.

GUG3Q: So, what inspired you to start this venture? 

I saw a very urgent issue, but, at the same time, I saw how disconnected people were from it. I became frustrated by the way nature and its relationship with humans were being represented in our communications. Campaigns were intimidating, badly designed, and full of information the audience can’t process. They did not inspire love or empowerment to take action. We quickly learned that the uncharted field of sustainability communications translates into many things we did not project. Which is great, we get a kick from the adventure!

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

First and foremost may I say my employees? 🙂 They are an enthusiastic and passionate group of people who want to work for change. Traditionally fighting for ‘a cause’ was seen as falling into the domain of ‘charity’ and ‘pro-bono’ work. But now with social entrepreneurship, the economic wheels are also an important element in forwarding change. I take joy and pride in knowing that LeafPlus has provided an opportunity for a people to do what they love and sustain themselves financially too.

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

In the first few years of the venture, it was about convincing people that our service was needed, and what exactly it was that we had to offer. It was kind of tough as we were still defining and redefining ourselves, and still had limited resources. We figured out that the best strategy was to work with what we had, and that meant using our personal networks and implementing programs with next to nothing profit just to build our portfolio. Over time we slowly started to build trust and reputation, and people started to understand how we were different. I can’t stress enough how powerful persistence is, and just to START. Waiting until all the stars align won’t get you anywhere.

Q: What are you looking forward to when you come to the United States as a part of Project Catalyst?  I’m looking forward for mentorship on how to grow my business — what I need to fine tune and identify, what tools to build, how I can attract investors to grow further, etc. I think since the get-go, my partners and I had little time to focus on business strategy. But I must say I am personally very excited about visiting Seattle, being one of America’s greenest cities. Many of my projects are tied to urban environments, and I hope to absorb as much as I can from the sustainable-savvy Seattle. Very excited!

We are very excited to have Nadine Zamira 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 catalyst@jolkona.org.

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