Bridges for Enterprise

 

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Introducing the New York Chapter

December 9, 2018

 

BfE aspires to help as many people as possible all over the world, and for this reason we have four different chapters: Cambridge, New York, Sydney, and Singapore. This week, we are delighted to present our New York chapter and its progress since being founded in August 2016. 

 

The BfE New York Chapter was established in August 2016 by Tammy and Jason, our two former presidents. Since then, we’ve come a long way in completing three rounds of consulting engagements. This semester, we have developed our own in-house Finance Team, under Maggie’s leadership, and are working with a solar energy startup in Zimbabwe. We are also very excited to bring 9 new team members onboard the BfE family, including 4 for our newly established in-house Consulting Team, 4 for our Finance Team, and a new Growth & Partnerships Director.

 

Our Finance Advisory Team

 

Can you introduce us to your team?

 

We are currently working with a project based in Zimbabwe with our 3 team members. Temidayo is our mentor based in New York, who is helping to advise and guide us throughout the engagement. Additionally, we have on-boarded 4 new finance team members for the forthcoming spring semester and look forward to working on a new engagement with them. Our new members include Nisarg, Suparna, Aaron, and Antoine. Maggie will transition into the Vice President position and Nisarg will serve as our new Finance Director.

 

What is the role of the Finance Advisory Team within BfE New York? 

 

The overarching vision of our team is to assist BfE’s clients in taking advantage of key investment opportunities. To this end, it is our team’s job to help empower social enterprises to be investor-ready. By creating a pitch deck to show potential investors and helping to write a grant application, we are working to enable entrepreneurs to achieve their goals. Our professional mentor is a field expert who helps us research which type of financing is appropriate. Although difficult given the macroeconomic environment our client operates in, we try to be resourceful in seeking out capital by honing in on angel investors focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa.

 

 

What have been some of the team’s highlights? 

 

We are very excited about the increasing interest in BfE that has led to our team’s recent expansion! Our chapter previously encountered challenges when promoting BfE while our chapter leaders studied overseas last year. However, since being back in New York this semester, we have managed to recruit 4 new finance team members for the forthcoming spring engagement. While these new team members range in age and experience, they are all incredibly passionate about BfE’s mission. Their success will be integral to maximizing the amount of assistance we can provide our clients moving forward.

 

Has there been a particularly challenging engagement, or period, for the team? How was this challenge overcome? 

 

Given the demanding schedules of our team members, we have struggled from time-to-time with communication and completing deliverables on-time. This is something we’re actively working to overcome by setting clear expectations and a sound communication strategy prior to the start of each engagement.

 

 

What is the vision for the Finance Team for the coming months? 

 

Our goal is to close out this semester by preparing our new team members as adequately as possible. We intend to improve upon the educational resources our team members receive, foster greater engagement with professional mentors, and improve the services we provide to the startups.

 

 

Our Consulting Team

 

Can you introduce us to your team?

 

We have just finished recruiting 4 members for a new in-house Consulting Team, which will be led by Ally. She will be joined by Vanessa, Vedika, and Sean, with Jordan and Maggie helping to oversee the new team’s work to ensure their success. This in-house team will ultimately replace the stellar work conducted by a consulting society from Indiana University. This two-year long partnership has been very beneficial for our startups while we worked to establish our in-house team. Our goal is to learn from our partner’s success to not only replicate it, but also build upon it in our spring engagement.

 

What is the role of the Consulting Team within BfE New York? 

 

Since the current consulting engagement is outsourced to an external partner, Jordan and Maggie act as a liaison between them and the startup. We strive to be transparent about optimal communication channels and upcoming deadlines that must be met.

 

The new in-house Consulting Team will provide support to the social enterprises in BfE’s Network. Through careful analysis and detailed research throughout the engagement, the team will help recommend strategies based on these insights. Often, the startups we work with enter the engagement with a main area of concern they’re seeking to address. It is then our job to tackle this issue by both exploring it further and identifying ways to mitigate it and provide tailored solutions that will support the business in its future growth.  

 

What have been some of the team’s highlights? 

 

BfE New York has achieved success by working hand-in-hand with our trusted external partner on 3 different engagements thus far. However, it was always our goal to amplify our impact and maintain greater control over our engagements by kick-starting our own in-house team. Alongside 4 accomplished and diligent new team members, we are really excited to work closely with a startup next semester to analyze their business needs and develop actionable recommendations for future growth.

 

Has there been a particularly challenging engagement, or period, for the team? How was this challenge overcome? 

 

Our team has faced communication and oversight challenges in the past. Because our external partner is located in a different city, it has sometimes been difficult to communicate with them about their work with BfE’s clients. Moreover, tracking their progress has also been quite challenging given the inability to meet with their team in-person. It is our hope that these challenges will be overcome by establishing an in-house Consulting Team to ensure clearer communication and greater oversight over the project at hand.

 

What is the vision for the Consulting Team for the coming months? 

 

Our vision for the Consulting Team is twofold:

  • Provide effective training for all members to help improve the support we provide to our clients

  • Foster a more team-oriented culture by hosting BfE operational events and social gatherings, while also furthering our engagement with New York-based professional mentors.

 

A huge thanks to the New York team, the mentors and the representatives of the startups, for helping to bring meaningful social change to the world!

 

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