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Kate commented on BEACON INCLUSIVE

I'd love to learn more about the product you intend to build. While the need is clear, can you describe Beacon Chat in more detail, as well as the process you plan to use to develop, test, and refine it?

Thanks for sharing your idea-- it's very clearly articulated! A few thoughts regarding the questions you raised:

Regarding the first, ("Should we set-up an entity in the USA to support this initiative by sending money to Kenya? It seems that US investors would prefer to invest in 501c3") this is probably a little premature, given the program's current stage. Setting up a 501c3 requires a significant amount of work and time; Form 1023 can run upwards of 50 pages, and the government review period can be lengthy, especially if any mistakes need to be addressed. It's not that your team can't do it, it's just that you want to make sure it's worth the time investment at this stage-- have you identified potential donors?

Regarding your second question-- you raise a good point; how you track and share budgets internally might differ from the budgets you share with investors. To some extent this will vary depending on who your investors are, and this is an ideal question to explore with them-- what are their expectations around reporting out, etc. Generally, being very transparent about your financials will be compelling to social impact investors.

Just two additional points: First, you note that "there are many humanitarian agencies such as WFP, UN, US/UKAID, AAH and more who we continually educate about our initiative at Kakume Ventures. If we raise funds and further our efforts, we believe we can get more support from them. After all, we do solve their problems of logistics and distribution." Your proposal will be strengthened if you can outline how you've already engaged with them, the level of support you currently have, etc. Second (and similarly) you talk a bit about the underlying causes of tension within the camp. While I have no doubt that you've accurately identified the major tensions, are there any other social dynamics that have the potential to influence your project? Do you have any concerns about the personal safety and security of project entrepreneurs, particularly if entrepreneurs are from a different ethnicity than many of the customers?

Really interesting, compelling proposal-- good work!

Re: your (excellent) first question-- "What pitfalls are we likely to encounter, what suggestions do you have for us moving forward?"-- there are a couple different ways you can approach this. Generally speaking, I've found that looping in government officials as often as possible, in an effort to increase their buy-in/engagement, is pretty key, as is learning as much as you can about their platform, priorities, competing interests, constituents, etc. You want to understand as much as possible any strategic areas of potential alignment, as well as any barriers or inhibitors to collaboration (this includes ties to industry and the business community that might influence government decision making). More specifically, it would be great if you could get an introduction from the MP to help you make connections with all relevant lower-level government contacts, so they're aware of the MP's interest. They are the people you'll be working with most frequently, and if they know that there's high-level support for your initiative, they'll be better positioned to provide you with the advice, permits, access, etc., that you need.

Re: your second question, as you no doubt already know, many legal systems in Africa are rooted in English and French legal practices and norms, but it's difficult to generalize across countries. While I'm not a legal expert, I anticipate that the core concepts of evidence and documentation will be similar, and legal connections in Kenya may be well positioned to help you understand alignments and divergences within the EAC. That said, it sounds like you may view this primarily as a technical challenge-- changing PDF outputs is generally fairly straightforward technically, and you can try to design such that the elements that are most variable/likely to change are also easily configurable. While it's good you're thinking about scale, focusing on success in the Kenyan context will better equip you to address that problem when you get to it.