Journeys for Change blog
We are delighted to announce that Celia Hodson has been appointed CEO of Journeys for Change, effective from 4 January 2016.
Celia brings a wealth of experience of leading change, both strategic and operational as COO and CEO in medium size to multinational enterprise in the UK and Australia. Her previous roles include CEO of the School for Social Entrepreneurs Australia, Founder of The Eastern Enterprise Hub, Deputy Chief Executive at Social Enterprise UK, Chief Executive Officer at Cambridge Co-operative Development Agency and Chief Executive of Choose Suffolk. She has also held numerous board positions with UK based non-profits and social enterprises.
Celia says “My love affair with Journeys for Change started quite some time ago when I was a participant in one of the very early journeys to India. There were a couple of unexpected side effects that came out of the experience for me. One was that I was filled with a refreshed zeal for my working life, a sense of bravery and a feeling that I no longer wanted to sit back and let others ask the burning questions. Vivian Greene said ‘Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning how to dance in the rain.’
She goes on “But the biggest change was that following my first journey, not only did I set up a social enterprise in the UK but, seven years on, I return to Journeys for Change to take up this fabulous role as the new CEO and to lead its incredible team. How scary is that? Taking over where co-founders Richard and Pooja left off is no small ask, but I’m ready and up for the challenge. I’m committed to supporting a passionate community of established and aspiring leaders that have the skills, confidence and networks to build an inspiring alumni that together, will make a global impact.”
Celia is taking the helm from Richard Alderson, co-founder and Director, who is moving to a board role with the organisation.
Richard says: “I’m thrilled to welcome Celia as our new CEO. Not only does she bring outstanding leadership skills, but she also shares the values that we hold so dear at Journeys for Change – a belief in the power of bringing diverse leaders together, of experiential learning, and of challenging experiences in different contexts. She is the ideal person to take the work Pooja and I started to the next level, and to work with our remarkable team, alumni and hosts across the world.”
Pooja Warier, co-founder and advisor says “I am excited about Celia coming on board as CEO. I am confident that with her at the helm, Journeys for Change will continue to offer transformational experiences for individuals around the globe. Together with Richard, I look forward to working with her and taking the organisation to the next level.”
Although 54% of Brazilians report having the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to start a new venture, 36% are afraid of failing. The fact is that one in every four new ventures does not survive beyond its first two years.
Now consider businesses involving innovation: in their products or services, in their processes, in their consumer markets, in their technology, in their supply chains or in their distribution. Not only do they face the same risks for overall business survival as a traditional business, they also face the challenge of entering or creating a market. This is the case with social ventures, wherein entrepreneurs are rethinking products and services in order to change social realities.
Given the challenges social entrepreneurs face, it has become common for them to seek the support of incubators and accelerators. To meet this high demand, many incubators and have become specialized in supporting social businesses. In Brazil, they are called impact incubators and impact accelerators.
Traditional business incubators and accelerators
Traditionally in Brazil, “incubation” refers to the support given by universities, the government and non-profits to early-stage companies. This support is given for their work in a niche market, on research and development and/or because they lack experience in business management.
Conversely, “accelerators” are related to the world of tech start-ups. Tech startups tend to need less research and fewer financial resources to get started, so the profile of accelerators is different. While many incubators are subsidized by the Brazilian government, accelerators tend to be for-profit companies running with the resources of private capital. Whereas incubators support ventures for one to three years, accelerators support ventures for around three months. And while incubation programs are usually free of cost for entrepreneurs, accelerators request interest or direct private equity.
Social business incubators and accelerators
Unlike the world of traditional business startups, in the world of social businesses, incubators and accelerators play very similar roles.
Many impact accelerators, although not focused on tech start-ups, have adopted the accelerator model in order to gain dynamism in growing social businesses. Like traditional accelerators, they look for scalable models that can grow very quickly, resulting in a much bigger social impact.
Also like traditional accelerators, they tend not to ask for business plans–a good idea can be enough. The most important thing is to take the idea to the market/community, get feedback and then go back to improve the business model. This bypasses the risk of spending several months working on a complex business plan based on false pre-conceptions which fails when it finally reaches the market.
In addition to developing ideas and models, impact accelerators also play the role of a traditional incubator by stimulating sector development. This requires some level of investment in recruitment and mobilization that the tech start-up accelerators usually do not need to spendas they are a part of an already existing market.
The impact incubators have also utilized typical elements of accelerators like the “mentorship” programs: working with renowned executives or entrepreneurs with market exposure, consultants and coaches.
The most common services offered by both impact incubators and accelerators are:
- Evaluation of the business model: Analysis and reflection on whether the venture’s business model is making the best use of the market opportunities and whether it is ready to fulfill its potential.
- Management support: Finances, accounting, legal, HR, marketing, fundraising, quality, etc.
- Tech support: Ideation, design, prototyping, testing, etc.
- Networks: Access to partners, people, proper supply chain, distributors, peer entrepreneurs and, mainly, investors.
- Coaching & mentorship: Access to market experts through workshops; direct coaching with executives and successful entrepreneurs.
This text was originally posted on the blog “Mercado de Impacto,”an initiative by Brazilians Cristina Yoshida and Guilherme Ralisch. Its purpose is to spread the word abou tsocial business and to help budding social entrepreneurs in undertaking their ideas in Brazil. Journeys for Change will visit Artemisia, a leading accelerator incubator on our trip to Brazil in May 2014. Join us!
Mighael’s passion is to actively and constructively contribute to a better and balanced world that is able to provide all of its inhabitants with a satisfactory quality of life. He has a master’s degree in Sustainable Energy Technology from Delft University of Technology and is currently reading for a Masters in Management degree at London Business School.
Tour from a local
After yesterday’s packed day with two company visits and loads of impressions, this day allowed for individual programs and reflection. With no planned activities in the morning, everybody could decide themselves what to do. After a nice evening with some drinks in a local bar, I decided to take it easy and have some extra sleep to overcome my jetlag. I was not the only one taking a relaxed morning and I was glad to see that I could join Manish at the breakfast table. He originally comes from Bangalore and was certainly the one to trust for a great tour around town.
A land of contrasts
Manish took five of us to the shopping area of Bangalore. The morning was relaxed and peaceful, but the early afternoon quickly became hectic and full of contrasts. As a true Indian, our fellow participant took us along all kinds of busy streets and exotic shops in a very fast pace. This being my first time outside of Europe, the number of new impressions is overwhelming. Cars and bikes are zigzagging over the streets, litter is being burnt next to a crossroad, and cows are eating trash like they just don’t care. The contrasts are just so big. First you are seeing beautiful fabrics, yaw dropping craftwork, and delicious foods. Then you see a little kid playing in the sand of the construction site where he is living because his father works there. And just when you think you start to understand the Indian life, you almost get run over by the cars, because green light for pedestrians apparently also means that all other traffic starts driving. This was certainly an impressive morning.
Discovering core values
After the morning it was time to join the rest of the group for the afternoon reflection session. The bus took us to the botanical garden, where many families spent their free Sunday afternoon. With the help of some yoga exercises and armed with a cloud of citronella, we were ready to explore our inner selves. We were discovering our core values on a shady grass field and used these values to find out what we liked and disliked about the two social enterprises we had visited the day before. I felt like a strange bunch of tourists, being photographed like a touristic attraction by locals and waved at by a passing class of school children. After concluding the session, we ended our day with a great dinner at a downtown restaurant and for some with some drinks at the bar. Afterwards, the hotel was waiting for us to prepare for a very short night’s sleep before we flew to Mumbai!
Erinne Browne is a second year MBA student at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. She has a background in organizational strategy and human resources and has worked with numerous social organisations including Habitat for Humanity.
Bernice Wong is a 2014 MBA Candidate at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. Focused on scaling social enterprises through venture capital and strategic advisory, Bernice also has a passion for sustainable apparel.
Stepping into Bangalore
It’s the end of day one and I feel as if I’ve just visited the house of the most gracious and engaging host. Bangalore has opened her doors to us and charmed us with her candor, dynamism, and incredible heart for people. I, for one, have been won over. One of key contributors to the day’s success has been the amazing social entrepreneurs that we have had the privilege to meet. Amidst a rainbow of natural fiber crafts at Mother Earth and surrounded by solar powered lamps at SELCO, we were inspired by the organizations’ missions, innovative business models, and stories of success.
Focus on the end consumer
While we covered the smorgasbord of social enterprise hot topics, including the role of systems-thinking, hybrid models, democratization of markets, and local vs. global solutions; one of the most striking findings for me was the social enterprises’ focus on the end-consumer. Visiting IndusTree/Mother Earth, I was incredibly impressed at the organization’s reverence for market dynamics. For an organization of $3M USD in sales last year, the understanding of the end-customer and alignment of the business to meet consumer needs was impressive.
Gone is the notion that social businesses push products into the market with their fingers crossed, hoping that someone will purchase. Successful social enterprises, much like their corporate counterparts, employ sophisticated and rigorous market-analytics to drive their businesses.
Empowering social enterprises through market data
This learning reminded me of the incredible power that we hold as consumers. Through our purchase choices, we signal to the market how valuable a product is. We determine the market value of a company’s social mission. Like many, I would say that I would happily support more socially responsible businesses. However, my purchases don’t always reflect this. Why? I have a whole host of reasons. The product didn’t quite fit my needs or style or, the list goes on. In the past, the story would end there. However, after seeing the use of consumer data at IndusTree, I would like to propose an alternative. Let us share our preferences and feedback with those organizations that we would like to support. Let us empower social enterprises with valuable market data so that they can be more competitive.
So, the next time you turn away a product despite wanting to support its mission, why not send a note to the organization telling them how they could better meet your needs. This is not a guarantee that change will happen. In my experience working in the consumer products space and based on our learning from the social entrepreneurs today, however, consumer data is an invaluable source of competitive advantage. Let us be active and engaged consumers. Let us use not only our dollars but our data to empower social enterprises and equip them to succeed!
- Nicola PollockDirector of Grant-makingEsmée Fairbairn Foundation"The group were a treat: an excellent and international mix with a wonderful diversity of experience"
"The trip gave me a wider perspective on my work... and a willingness to take more risks and challenges."