From donations to a sustainable social enterprise

CAP9 Team North at Leuenberg, Hölstein, Switzerland

Following a 6-month learning journey as social entrepreneurs in Chreav, Cambodia, 23 members of our CAP9 Team met for their last module in Basel and Chreav. With an investment by Swiss Re Foundation, they have successfully paved the way for a formerly donation-based NGO to become a financially self-sustained social enterprise, improving the job and life chances of an entire community. On this remarkable learning journey, they experienced the power of a joint vision and a diverse team.

In early February, the team successfully pitched their business model to their investors Angela Marti and Gerhard Lohmann from Swiss Re. Six weeks later, they found themselves at the location of their vision: Chreav, Cambodia. Within 8 days, the team opened up the learning center and ensured that the team under the leadership of our Community Hero Ravy could start their work.

Following the opening, the team kept all fingers crossed that many of the existing students of Ravy would sign up for the courses of the newly created social enterprise. Challenges and risks involved were quite big as Ravy‘s NGO had been offering courses and activities for free for the last 15 years. Would the CAP Team be able to change people‘s mindset and offer quality education by locals for locals?

Syncing Team North and Team South via Zoom

Yes, the team successfully mastered the challenge to turn a donation-based NGO into a social enterprise. As of May 1, 2017, 188 students have signed up for the different course offerings of the learning center. Angela Marti was very pleased to hear about the developments in Chreav and congratulated the team on its success. It is now in the hands of Ravy to continue the successful kick-off of his life as a social enterpreneur.

But Ravy is not alone. The CAP9 Team – according to their own view “the best CAP Team ever” 😉 – will continue to support Ravy and his team. As a first step, CAP9 Alumni Bo and Grazyna will travel to Chreav mid May to install much-needed IT materials. Due to the sudden death of Cambodia‘s Vice Prime Minister Sok An, our container could not get out of customs on time. Hence, Bo and Grazyna decided to return to finish their mission in the name of the entire team.

Jorge and Boris hand over certificates to the candidates, marking the end of the beginning.

On their learning journey as entrepreneurs in unknown waters, our 23 candidates have developed both personally and professionally. As part of module 5, each team member recorded a short Pecha Kucha presentation on their key learnings. They range from very practical business skills like the Business Model Canvas and virtual conference tools like Zoom to insights on how to lead a diverse team with strong characters towards a joint vision. We are proud of their achievements and we keep fingers crossed for the impact each one of our bridgebuilders creates in his or her respective environment.

Watch the key learnings of each candidate in a Pecha Kucha

The learning journey of our candidates would not have been possible without the outstanding support of

  • Jorge Cendales and Chanthorn as passionate business coaches
  • Boris Billing as the team‘s leadership coach
  • our champions at HILTI, Swisscom and Swiss Re
  • Angela and Gerhard from Swiss Re as impact investors
  • Sokhan and Sanha from BOOKBRIDGE Cambodia as partner organization
  • Jella as the team‘s program manager

Let’s keep on building bridges to Chreav!

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