New Accelerator in The Hague focuses on entrepreneurs from Developing Countries

How to put a good and innovative idea into practice? Ten entrepreneurs from all over the world gathered this week at the New World Campus in The Hague. They are the happy few, selected by the iMPACT Booster, to work out their innovation in the next half year. This Wednesday they met   their Dutch mentors, who will guide them through the whole process.

Impact Booster is a cooperation of ICCO Cooperation, New World Campus, Woord & Daad, 1%Club, Wild Geese foundation and Nyenrode Business School. They teamed up to start Impact Booster, which provides expertise, hands-on support and connections to accelerate businesses with entering emerging economies. Together they connect impact capital with impact ideas to make an impact in emerging economies.

275 entrepreneurs applied from 24 countries. Only nine where selected to participate. The selection committee exists of among others Doekle Terpstra en Ruerd Ruben of the Wageningen University: “We could notice an impressive energy and creativity in many proposals, and a strong personal drive that characterizes emerging entrepreneurship.”

In a journey of five months the entrepreneurs prepare a market launch and build up a network of customers and business partners in the country they want to work. The entrepreneurs receive support from mentors and experts from relevant organizations, receive trainings, an investment of 10,000 euros and airfares. Business Model Inc., producer of the book Business Model Generation provides one of the master classes on business model innovation: “We are convinced that social entrepreneurship is the future. With our strategy design and business model innovation methodology, we help organizations to design validated and future-proof business models.” At the end of the five months period, on June 30, the entrepreneurs pitch their idea to a group of interested impact investors on Demo Day.

impactbooster2Rashmi Sawant started Culture Aangan, a small travel agency focusing on smallholder farmers living in India. “They live in villages, with beautiful and fertile ground all around them. But the villages are abandoned because almost all men work in the city, leaving the women, children and older people behind. These women have to take care of the household and family farmland. We teach them about hospitality.” But the iMPACT Booster has a strong focus on food security where does that come in? “By raising awareness that they should not sell their family ground to large companies, but keep the ground in order to grow food for their family.  Sawant hopes to get guidance on strategy and finding new markets for her tourist initiative in order to scale up. Right now we have about 20 farmers involved in the project, but if we for instance can find interest from the European market I would like to scale up our business.”

Making healthy pasta from green bananas, that’s what Sean Patrick from Uganda does. He is enthusiastic about being part of the iMPACT Booster: “With my company I want to show the world that Africa produces healthy food and has innovative entrepreneurs. There is in Europe a growing demand for healthy and gluten free food. My banana pasta fits to that need. I expect that I have at the end of iMPACT booster boot camp a clear and concise business case, attractive for investors and the European market.”  And how does this support the local farmers and food security?  “The banana pasta creates many advantages for the smallholders: direct access to the market, greater market share, simple technology, jobs. It’s a product to be proud of.”

The candidates will have an intensive month working out their idea with their mentors in the Netherlands.  And if needed, they can consult coaches about specific subjects like funding and public relations. After the ‘Dutch’ pressure cooker they go into the field to validate their cases, where they will get business development support from ICCO and Woord en Daad.

For the next Demo Day or applying for the next batch:

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