The ice-breaking day of Biz4all-2 social entrepreneurship training programme was very busy and interesting. You can read about the first half of the day in the following articles: Change Is Your Friend and Diaspora Representatives and Graduates. The final part of the session included presentations from representatives of initiatives and organizations, who, while doing business, are trying to solve urgent social problems.
Charity with a smile
|Homeless Support Project “Bomzhsticks” Photo by: ulej.by|
Ilya Dudarau from Brest spoke about how he came up with an idea to create a charity project to support homeless homelessness support project to help homeless people “Bomzhsticks” (“bomzh” means “a person of no fixed abode” in Russian). According to the young man, he is concerned with the issue of homelessness and often wonders what leads people to adopt such a lifestyle. There are many documentaries and videos dedicated to this topic. “I was watching one of such videos on youtube and a commercial popped up for the new collection of bonsticks, the supermarket chain’s collectible action figures. This was when I had the idea; the homeless and the bonsticks combined in a cosmic dance. A day later, I sculpted the first figure, and in the process of doing that I understood that I could use it to help this category of people if I set up a campaign on a crowdfunding platform and raise awareness of the public. The first figure was quite gloomy, because I used images from a google search “homeless people Brest” as a reference, and these were the images that came up. I decided that the figure should invoke a smile and not pity. Then I invented a name and a story for each character”.
|Ilya Dudarau, an artist, designer and sculptor from Brest, presented his homeless support project “Bomzhsticks"|
Ilya described that initially he did not plan to further advertise the project. However, right after he registered the campaign on the crowdfunding platform ulej.by he started receiving calls from journalists who represented large Internet platforms asking him for an interview. At the moment, the campaign finished successfully, raising 108% of the goal. Most of the funds will be used to buy mittens and shoes for the homeless people of Brest, and Ilya is planning to give some of the money to canteens that provide meals to such people in Minsk and Brest.
Talk about your business everywhere and every time
Katsiaryna Kaurova, co-founder of the Katsiaryna Kaurova Family Centre and “Nashi Maistry” (“Our Craftsmen”) social enterprise, as always, inspired the teams to reach for success. You can read the story about her work on our website: Believing in Goals and Mission of an Organization. On December 16, Katsiaryna also presented her experience of creating a social enterprise in Belarus from scratch to the Biz4all participants. ”Nashi Maistry” employs people with alcohol addiction. They make plaster figurines. Katsiaryna says: “I am always ready to speak about my business, I’m always ready to promote it. If a TV channel has an opening on air, they always call me, because they know that Kaurova will never say no, she will be there to speak about her business everywhere and every time".
|Katsiaryna Kaurova, co-founder of the Katsiaryna Kaurova Family Centre and “Nashi Maistry” (“Our Craftsmen”) social enterprise|
Being optimistic is the most challenging thing
The last expert to charge Biz4all teams with positivity and ambition for success on December 16, as well as share his experience, was Yauheni Danilik, co-founder and director of the museum of miniatures “Strana Mini” ("Mini Country"). “Being a pragmatic person who had worked for many years in big business, I realized that before doing something good I needed to calculate everything instead of just acting out of sheer enthusiasm. We drew up a business plan, we calculated everything, we identified the concept for our museum — to see Belarus in miniature in two hours and decide where to go and what to look for. Our museum is not just an exhibition but also a cool souvenir and gift shop. At the moment it carries more than 1,000 items at reasonable prices. In the nearest future we also plan to launch master classes and organize individual tours of Belarus”.
|Yauheni Danilik, co-founder and director of the museum of miniatures “Strana Mini”, and Hanna Hrydziushka, graduate of the first Biz4all social enterprise school, project HiFive Belarus|
Components of business success, according to Yauheni Danilik:
- Every project needs to have a leader, who will have the ultimate belief in their project and product, and will only go forward. There may be many moments when people can be ready to throw in the towel, but the leader must never stop believing in the product.
- If you start your own business, you have no weekends or holidays, as you are immersed into it and it becomes your life.
- The team. Belarusians are not only motivated by money, so they should be interested in what they are doing.
- Money — wherever you are, whatever you speak about, you always speak about money. If you start a project, you need to have enough money not just to support yourself for a year or two but also to constantly invest in the project.
|Museum of miniatures “Strana Mini” (“Mini Country”) Photo: the official website|
Things that are important to do when you start your own business:
- Raise an entrepreneur in you, try to make money everywhere and anywhere. You are always selling yourself and your product.
- MVP is your everything. Testing hypotheses. What you call business at the first stage is only a hypothesis. It is important to test the hypotheses with as little money as possible to understand whether it is viable.
- Study your target audience.
- Follow macroeconomics and politics. Sometimes you can start a cool project in a very inconvenient time or under very inconvenient conditions. That is why it is very important to follow what happens in the country and in the world.
- Be optimistic – our expert considers this to be the most challenging point but the most important for the team.
Text by: Valeriya Nikalaichyk
Photo by: Anzhelika Grakovich
|The goal of the programme is to develop a package of social entrepreneurship training programmes in Russian using innovative international practices, as well as the experience of Belarusian diaspora representatives who have become successful entrepreneurs in European Union countries and the USA.|
The material was prepared within the framework of the "Social Entrepreneurship Incubator", implemented by ODB Brussels in partnership with TNU Network University (Netherlands), Belarusian Youth Public Union "New Faces" and International Civil Association "Union of Belarusian of the world “Motherland", with support from the European Union.