Article published in Zawya
Focuses on helping entrepreneurs achieve financial sustainability and solve major social challenges at scale
Companies Creating Change (C3), a UAE-based social enterprise with a mission to help entrepreneurs in the Middle East unlock their growth potential and maximize their positive impact on the community, has partnered with HSBC to expand the flagship C3 Social Impact Accelerator program.
The program supports the achievement of key milestones in the journey of an entrepreneur and focuses on helping entrepreneurs achieve financial sustainability and solve major social challenges at scale. In order to participate in the program, 100 applicants from the UAE, Egypt, Kuwait and Oman will be selected, out of which 20 will be shortlisted to participate in a week-long program in February 2019 with impact investors and other key stakeholders from the social enterprise world. All applicants must be contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (such as health, education, etc.). To get these entrepreneurs ready, C3 will provide a two-month program of one-on-one support and a week of workshops, training and events.
The top 20 entrepreneurs will benefit from customized lectures and interactive workshops tackling issues such as Theory of Change, social impact measurement, legal structure and governance as well as tailored expert sessions where participants receive one-on-one support from business and social impact experts. The program also features a pitch session and a board simulation. The winner of the program will receive a cash prize of $10,000. Applications will close on 15 October 2018. Medea Nocentini, Co-founder of C3: “The Social Impact Accelerator Program is our flagship initiative. It is designed to help entrepreneurs develop the skills they need to deliver their social business goals. It is a unique model that relies on the efforts of multiple experts and provides tailored training to those seeking to make a lasting difference and do business differently.
We encourage all entrepreneurs to take advantage of this opportunity and showcase the work they are doing to create socially responsible businesses. We are so happy to be partnering with HSBC on what we consider is a one-of-a-kind impact accelerator program in the region.” She added: “It is quite remarkable how this program has grown since our inception just over five years ago. There is now greater awareness and understanding of the importance of social enterprises and we are seeing a growing number of interested entrepreneurs actively seeking to grow businesses that can create positive change and drive impact.”
Commenting on the partnership Sabrin Rahman, Regional Head said: “Businesses are increasingly realizing the importance of embedding social responsibility measures within their strategy and operations. At HSBC, we are committed to supporting sustainable networks, entrepreneurship and future skills. This is why we have chosen to partner with C3 on our sustainability pillars. Together, we will develop the skills of entrepreneurs who truly have the potential to make a positive impact in the region.”
Now in its sixth year of operation, C3 aims to provide change-makers with a program tailored to their needs. It has empowered more than 250 entrepreneurs to date, worked with around 1,000 experts and 10 corporate partners. In 2017, two entrepreneurs successfully raised funds after completing the C3 Social Enterprise Impact Accelerator 2017. Democrance, an insurance technology company aimed at making insurance accessible for those who need it, raised $800,000 in a recent funding round; Roots Bistro, the first fully sustainable restaurant in the UAE, sourcing products solely from the UAE, secured friends’ and family investment. Furthermore, a third one, Evolvin’ Women, a social enterprise that improves the employability of women from developing countries in the hospitality industry, secured a place in the Dubai Startup Hub’s Market Access program. Talking about the program Assia Riccio, founder of Evolvin’ Women said “The C3 Social Impact Accelerator gave me the courage to challenge my preconceived ideas, put aside my emotions and look hard at whether my theory of change held up under pressure”.