Blog of Eva Wissenz

InnoFrugal and Arctic 15 in Helsinki

Posted samedi 15 juin 2019 by Eva Wissenz.

It was great attending InnoFrugal and Arctic 15 recently with Lauri Nurro and Urs Riggenbach.

Both events are key impact orientated opportunities bringing together VC’s and impact orientated businesses. It’s always a marathon to pitch and re-pitch, keep your ears open to new meetings, connect, reconnect, de-connect finally around 8pm but it’s good energy !


Impact Finland next week

Posted mardi 30 avril 2019 by Eva Wissenz.

I’m very excited and happy to represent my team at the InnoFrugal 2019 pitching contest on May 7th and to be invited as a speaker at Waves Festival.

In Finland, "social entrepreneurship" is connected to "social service". The culture of impact (start-up, companies, investment) is almost starting here where Denmark or Sweden are much more advanced ! We were so focused on our goals that we didn’t fully realized that context when we started here in Tampere. In a way, it makes things hard but on another hand, it’s exciting because there is almost everything to create !

The Aalto University incubator named New Global was launched to explore sustainable ways to do business and to engage even more the Finnish society into social - impact - sustainable entrepreneurship. Next week, their Waves Festival will bring together impact entrepreneurs to define what can be the next steps to take to make our work more visible and more supported.

InnoFrugal started in 2015 as a conference which is an "intersection where leadership, finance, technology and transformation come together to empower people and organizations." Created by Venkata Gandikota, the event is quite big now and the next edition is happening next week as well.


Sometimes it only takes a poem, a garden and a few heroes.
A note from Oxford, Skoll World Forum.

Posted Monday 29 April 2019 by Eva Wissenz.


I’m here, in the garden of Rhodes House, in Oxford. After three days only, I’m already adapted to this old town where so many amazing people have studied and lived, for the best and the worst. I’m missing our garden so much. One of the things we had to leave behind when we picked Finland to root our work. As often, I’m feeling lonely because my team of brave young hero’s is disseminated all around the globe, working hard to make it happen, and it’s a tough journey.

Yesterday, an impact investor suggested me to be reasonable and to adapt our model to be more conventional. It was a shock because I’m used to this kind of critics from the mainstream Venture Capitalist landscape but not here, not at Skoll World Forum for social entrepreneurship.

It was Autodesk Foundation who invited me to Skoll World Forum as a delegate. Started by co-founder of Ebay, Mr Skoll is dedicating his fortune to support social entrepreneurs. So who are these social entrepreneurs? Citizen like you and me who, one day, were moved by something and decided to solve the problem because governments wouldn’t, NGO’s haven’t, nor had enterprises done so. That’s what a social or impact or sustainable entrepreneur does. And it goes with being not visible and not understood for a long time, especially in Finland where all these concepts are very new.

So, the impact investors hit me pretty badly and when I spoke with GoSol’s co-founder Eerik afterwards on the phone, he said "never mind".
But I minded all night.
All night I took every piece of what we have built and I questioned it.

When dawn lightened Saint Clement’s, I felt new strengths. I felt that no matter how over ambitious we seem, no matter how broad we are, that we are moving persistently toward give to vulnerable populations the chance to replace rapidly dirty charcoal with solar thermal - to name just one of our interconnected goals. And when the sun started his working day, Eerik sent me his Why GoSol Essay and then it became even more crystal clear: the plan is good, simple, super feasible and amazingly impactful.

Yet, I was tired, happy but tired. That’s something all impact people know well. So, I took the energy left and I went to this Rhodes House, where I am now sitting in the shadow of a tiny old and elegant British tree.

There is a copper sun on the entrance floor of Rhodes house. The building is incredibly beautiful. The lecture room is spacious with portraits of old inspiring leaders all around. At the same time, four modern ones are sitting right in from of me, sharing their experience in becoming impactful entrepreneurs. And it’s impressive. The McNulty Foundation and Aspen Institute offered us this workshop. Three hours of "This Isn’t Easy: A Seminar on Exercising Moral Courage".

Super inspiring, strong and vulnerable entrepreneurs were speaking. For once, we were not talking about performance, challenges and trial and errors. Just sitting together and sharing openly about what really matters behind our actions: ethics, courage, virtues... At the end of the lecture, we all got a poem. Somebody read it out loud. It’s called "The Seven of Pentacles" by Marge Piercy (here).

"Connections are made slowly, sometimes they grow underground.
You cannot tell always by looking what is happening.
More than half the tree is spread out in the soil under your feet.
Penetrate quietly as the earthworm that blows no trumpet.
Fight persistently as the creeper that brings down the tree."

I had to go to the ladies room to cry afterwards.

No business card, no networking session, could have been as powerful as this poem for me at this very specific moment. I’ll find strength for a long time in the memory of the friendly and mindful faces sitting in the circle, reading, commenting, discussing, crying sometimes. It was such an intense and true moment.

"You cannot tell always by looking what is happening."

In Rhodes House’s gorgeous garden, I can see that one day no one on Earth will need to cut down a tree to make a fire because fire will be solar.

We are facing one of the most stressful crisis our species has ever faced. It’s crucial we stay focused and efficient.

The Forum ended. So many new connections, so much good energy, so much good will. I’m now back in Finland. I don’t know what the future will bring for us but a few days after my return, this quote appeared:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt

Pictures free and (c) courtesy of Aspen Institute.
The lecture is available online by following this link.

Other links:
Autodesk Foundation
Skoll World Forum
McNulty Foundation
Aspen Institute


Grand Challenges of Sustainability

Posted Thursday 18 April 2019 by Eva Wissenz.

I’m honoured and happy to be invited by the Lappeenranta University of Technology to be part of the panel discussion on Grand Challenges of Sustainability. There is much to say and I look forward a very creative discussion!

The panel concludes a MSc course on the topic focusing, such as the course, on the root causes and synergistic solutions to the grand challenges. The course is part of a LUT master program on Circular Economy, and the students have been simultaneously participating a complementary course related to the Food-Energy-Water Security Nexus.

The purpose of the panel is to draw on our expertise and insights in the issue and the contexts in practice. Sanna-Liisa Taivalmaa (Senior Adviser, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland), John Sumelius (Professor of Agricultural Economics, University of Helsinki) and John Bairoh (Renewable Energy for Africa, Sierra Leone Organization of Finland SLOF ry) are also part of the panel.


CEO impact events : SDG’s workshop in Helsinki and Skoll forum

Posted vendredi 15 mars 2019 by Eva Wissenz.

Yesterday I have attended a nice workshop about SDG’s organised by Finnpartnership and Beam. It’s really great that impact is spreading in Finland because the country is a bit behind compared to other Nordic neighbours. Soon a UNTIL lab will also work with companies and UN Global compact will also start running here.

Next month a major event is happening in UK and I’m very grateful to Autodesk Foundation to invite me as delegate. I look forward to meet with other inspiring social and impact focused entrepreneurs !!


Our Experience with +Impact by Danske Bank

Posted Monday 18 February 2019 by Eva Wissenz.

Since a few months we are part of the +impact platform created by Danske Bank and we wanted to share our experience with that.

Many tools and incubation services exist for-startups, and through our journey we saw that very often they are more marketing tools and social networking buzz than actual support.

With +impact the experience is very different. Experts are actually keen to support our venture, they are giving us time to listen to a specific challenge and they help very concretely with connections, their network and wise advice. For a start-up like us, this is gold, especially because our business model is very innovative in the energy sector and our solution is at the crossroads of multiple sectors.

We invite you to share their platform: https://plusimpact.io/for-startups

 


Starting in the Philippines with Carbon Cycle

Posted mercredi 6 février 2019 by Eva Wissenz.

All the team is very happy to announce our new project in the Philippines with CarbonCycle, a recycling company and a renewable energy startup based in Cagayan de Oro City.

Mr Dale Franco Llentic, CEO and founder of Carbon Cycle, has followed our work for the past 3 years and decided to start a project for three communities processing cashew nuts, coconuts and soya. For example, the Mindagat Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative below is roasting soya and produces soya powder for the local market.

At Mindagat Cooperative, Malitbog, Philippines. They roast soya and produce soya powder.

Together with GoSol, CarbonCycle is applying solar thermal technologies to agrifood processing to enhance the quality of life of the farming communities of the Philippines. This project will demonstrate the techno-economic feasibility of solar thermal technologies for processing agricultural products in agricultural communities.

In September 2018, Carbon Cycle won a BPI SINAG award for their social work. The Bank of the Philippines Islands is supporting 10 social entrepreneurs. More can be read about Carbon Cycle journey here.

Mr. Llentic of CarbonCycle receiving the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Sinag Awards 2018.

We are very excited to start next month and blog posts and video clips will be posted on the project page, so stay tuned !


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