1. I think you are asking whether entrepreneurs need to pay for the program. No, the program is free of charge and we will also keep it like this. We also cover travel costs for entrepreneurs that live outside the immediate area of the program. For example, in Amsterdam we have people traveling up to 3 hours a day in order to participate in our program. So indeed, the entrepreneurs only pay our foundation a small fee once exceeding 100.000 euros in revenue.
2. We aim to use the BridgeBuilder grant for expansion towards the following possible cities: - Stockholm - Hamburg - Berlin - Frankfurt
We have come to these cities based on a detailed market report conducted in Spring, in which we have analysed all Western European cities of a certain size for their potential, based on target group, ecosystem support, legal and political framework and funding opportunities. I will send the final report to you via e-mail, but the main conclusion of these prospective cities is that they are all a very good fit for our program.
We will make the decision of our first location based on the initial response within these cities and the connections we can make. This means we will travel to each to test the environment, speak to the target group and speak to relevant players in the entrepreneurship ecosystem.
After our initial expansion to Germany and Sweden we want to explore other areas, such as Belgium, France, Canada but also those countries more close to large populations of displaced people. Here you can think of countries like Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey but also Colombia.
3. Yes! I will highlight a few of them:
- Mpowerment.eu (2018 cohort) is a training and coaching company founded by Syrian Anas Ragheb. Mpowerment has created a coaching and certificitation track for truck drivers with a refugee background. Mpowerment now has partnerships with big Dutch logistics companies that so far have employed 5 truck drivers. Mpowerment raised 30.000 euros in grant funding to get started.
- Elanza.nl (2018 cohort) is an online platform for freelance nurses and healthcare organizations. It allows freelance nurses to work when they want and to reduce their administrative burden, while helping healthcare institutions to fill in shifts for nurses. Elanza has raised now 580.000 euros in seed money and works with big hospitals in the Netherlands.
- AskPro (2018 cohort) http://www.askpro.nl/ is a construction and renovation company that currently employs 6 craftsmen with a refugee background
- GreenWheel Tech is a company in solar-powered irrigation systems, founded by Sudanese Engineer Mohammed al Fakee (Spring Cohort '19). Currently, Mohammed is prototyping his solar pump together with his coach Ernst Peter Hovinga, in order to launch into the Sudanese Market early 2020.
https://forwardincubator.com/our-startups/ For more startups see the link above!
If you have any further questions or something is not clear, I am happy to provide further insight.
Can you please list 3 bullet points - just one line each - short and sweet of what feedback you got from your mentor on your idea? 1. The key elements that make our idea highly desirable are in place and are well designed (legal support, empowerment, breaking stigmas, and livelihood development) 2. We need to strengthen our capabilities to support or program participants on mental health issues 3. We must make the profile of the newcomers that we target more explicit - a good level of english, strong educational or work background, pursuing entrepreneurship, and have completed or close to completing their asylum seeking processes.
Can you please list 3 bullet points - just one line each - short and sweet of what feedback you got from your user on your idea? 1. In general there is a very positive reaction. Newcomers are happy to have an opportunity to develop their businesses in a program tailored to them and their needs 2. There is too much content in some of the workshops, for those It would be easier if the content is split into more sessions. 3. Make sure that there are enough facilitators in each workshop to support the individual work segments
Can you please list 3 bullet points - just one line each - short and sweet of what feedback you got from your expert on your idea? 1. Ensure that the entrepreneurial activities of the newcomers we serve have strong market fit - which we do by supporting extensive market research, experimentation and concept validation. 2. We must ensure that the right social services are in place - we do this by connecting with local organizations that support newcomers and municipalities a broad perspective on the availability of these services. 3. We must understand the local context better - Define if the target locations are open for the integration of newcomers, and if the local business ecosystems would allow newcomer participation.
We currently have the following agreement in place to ensure sustainable finance of our programs: - every entrepreneur has an agreement with our foundation that once their company surpasses a revenue threshold of a 100.000 euros , that they need to pay a 2% commission for a period of 5 years.
When it comes to our funding instruments, there are the following opportunities that we have in place or not: 1. (in place) network of angel investors and venture capital firms 2. (in place) access to microbudgets up to 1000 euros for those that perform best in the programs and have an immediate need 3. (in place) ensuring entrepreneurs can maintain social welfare allowance while participating in the program and once their company is up and running 4. (not in place) investment vehicle from which we can provide loans or equity investment. We have explored this path, but so far have not been able to establish this yet. 5. Currently we are building our network of social impact investors, relying on the networks of Private Wealth Management in large banks.
Bank loans are not feasible to obtain for our entrepreneurs, because of their short company histories and residence status. I hope this provides some clarity :)