Tom – Migo Ranch & Farms, Kenya
“We now have a clear understanding of how we should operate our business profitably. The BfE Programme has made it possible for us to understand the market. We now know how to market our farm produce. We learnt the things we need to consider when entering into supply contracts. We also acquired knowledge on how to design and execute an effective crowdfunding campaign, which we have started working on.”
Christie – SunLight Energy Ventures, Nigeria
“Prior to participating in the BfE programme, my partner and I were greatly concerned about the right pricing model for our business given our immediate target market of rural communities. With the help of the programme consulting group, we now have a good pricing and business model which will see our business soaring in the coming years.”
Bridges for Enterprise is a mission-driven organisation that champions social entrepreneurship and innovation. Bringing talented students and mentors together, we support social enterprise startups to scale their ideas and benefit the communities that they serve. The vast amount of positive feedback collected from the 14 engagements during the first half of this year confirms that we are on the right track. While we take pride in the impact that we have helped created so far, we are aware of many areas for improvement, and it is our top priority to address them moving ahead.
Apart from improving on existing frameworks through an evaluation process, we are rolling out some exciting initiatives in the second half of this year, aiming to deepen our capabilities. First, we are going to establish a Legal team, which can offer simple yet practical guidance to startups that require information in legal aspects of their business. Further, we are working on several areas to develop in-house resources that can assist respective engagements that we provide to startups. We are also going to revamp our publicity, not only for the upcoming recruitment of new members, but also to articulate our vision to a broader student audience in the future.
As this young organisation continues to grow, we have several student members graduating and leaving our team. It is my honour to have worked with them, and I would like to thank them on behalf of this organisation – for their commitment towards the work of BfE. While there is still a long way to go, it is my hope that BfE can provide a rewarding experience for each individual working with us, inclusive of all student members, partners and mentors, inspiring them to help drive social change beyond the BfE programme.
President, Bridges for Enterprise
Following the success of the last quarter of 2016, Lent term 2017 allowed the Startup Recruitment Team to focus on expanding BfE’s network of incubators, accelerators and grant organisations across the world whilst consolidating existing partnerships. The Team hopes to use this to procure publicity for BfE.
Easter term was subsequently largely spent awaiting the opening of applications for the next cycle. In order to prepare for this, we ensured that the questions on the application form were adequate and, most importantly, ensured that the contacts we made during Lent term were still prepared to promote the services of BfE through. This will be continued over the summer holidays right up to the closing of applications. We also began to look to next year.
We are also very excited about the prospects of new communications officers for BfE - this will have an immense impact on the scope of the organisation and we look forward to working with the new members next year.
The Consulting Team has gone through a busy period early this year, facilitating 13 consulting engagements in total throughout the span of several months. For each consulting engagement, we had a partnering student consulting team that worked closely with the startup to develop recommendations in a strategic area that they required support. The strategic needs of startups vary. While some requested for advice in operations and user acquisition, some others were focused on delivering and measuring social impact. Most notably, five of the startups that took part in the consulting engagements were finalists of Smart Village's "West Africa: Off-grid Energy Challenge", for which Bridges for Enterprise is a supporting organisation. After completing the consulting engagements in April, a selection process was carried out where Nafa Naana was chosen as the winner of the Challenge. Nafa Naana is a social business that improves access to clean and efficient energy solutions through a microfranchised distribution network and microfinance services in Burkina Faso. They demonstrated a high potential and it has been a pleasure working with them.
The Finance Advisory Team works with startups that have already gone through the consulting engagement, aiming to provide them further support in attracting and securing funding for their businesses. During Lent term, we worked with 2 startups and aided them in becoming investor-ready. We worked with Givo, a social media platform for donors to follow news about causes they care about. We helped Givo optimize their investor pitchbooks and source for funding from various angel investors and venture capitalists. Furthermore, we had a joint engagement with 180 Degrees Consulting in which we looked at market size and pricing for Migo, and improved on their business plan. Our Team has also developed a series of in-house models and guidelines to better facilitate the Team’s work. To help startups polish their pitch deck, we developed pitch deck guidelines along with sample pitching slides. Also, to avoid repetitive research work, we created a centralized database to record information about investors and other relevant organisations. We hope that in developing these tools, we are better able to achieve our goal of helping startups become investor-ready.
BRIDGES FOR ENTERPRISE NETWORK
BfE Network is happy to announce three exciting updates. Firstly, we have started international chapters in London, Singapore, New York and Shanghai. We hope to form communities of professionals and students passionate about making a difference in the world through their career in their local city. Secondly, we have developed an exclusive membership portal on our website, that will allow our mentors and alumni startups to connect with each other. Thirdly, we are developing a BfE Academy, which will provide our alumni startups with exclusive resources that enable them to be successful.
We would like to specially thank our mentors for their contributions: Chris (Migo, Kenya), Zeno (Givo, HK), Alissa (Project Production Solaire, Togo), Daniel (SunLight Energy Ventures, Nigeria), Dan (Paygo Ventures, Ivory Coast), Yujie (Nafa Naana, Burkina Faso), Anthony (Guavay, Tanzania), Martha (Arusha Women Entrepreneur, Tanzania), Katrin Engelmann (Hutano Technologies, Zimbabwe), Katrin Scholz- Barth (MCA Technologies, Tanzania), William (Iscom, Kenya), Grant (Iftlin, Somalia), Peter (Electrocook, Kenya), Fitz (Givo, HK).
Click HERE for the link to pdf version of the newsletter.