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Make A Difference!
Welcome to the Urban Monk Podcast where Dr. Pedram Shojai, Emelie Ekbland and Fiona Hazell talk about MAD (Make a Difference) and what it takes to get up and do something meaningful. They also share insight into new social enterprises that advocate for responsible business solutions to address local and global challenges.
Emelie and Fiona met while participating in a program that worked with battered women in Nigeria. They immediately realized they came from similar backgrounds and shared the same story: a deep urge for something else. They started traveling the world to explore how to best utilize their skills and expertise to make a difference. Inspired by Fiona’s initial word when they met, “mad”, Emelie put together a simple landing page about (MAD) making a difference. MAD was created from the deep urge to do something and knowing that they had to be mad enough to not only think they could make a difference, but actually do so.
From Trash To Treasure
Emelie and Fiona soon found out they had both mentored the same woman in Nigeria. What made this woman so remarkable is her drive in getting an education. She began a group and started inviting other women in the community to share their challenges and struggles. In their sharing, the Nigerian women realized they all shared the same pain; feelings of despair in being treated like trash and being undervalued. This shared experience created a bond between the women and in an effort to feel value again, were inspired to create something beautiful. They went to tailors and asked for the cut offs that were not being used. These ladies demonstrated social entrepreneurship by patching pieces of leftover material into bags. This patching of bags developed Trash to Treasure, which essentially created value that could then be sold.
Fiona found a way to help the women discover the true value of the bags. The bag, not just simply a bag anymore, now is a part of the solution, supports a mission and carries a message of solidarity. In addition, from this natural place of bonding, sharing and using creative resources, the Nigerian women found a form of Occupational therapy.
Building a business however, comes with challenges. The next problem was finding ways to sell the bags. Seeing the hurdles of growing a business, Emelie and Fiona realized that they had the background and networks to close that gap. They knew they could put to use their business knowledge and skills to identify people who know how to solve these challenges. They created SEA (Social Enterprise Academy) to help entrepreneurs in addressing the gap in business knowledge and operational fundamental such as payment methods to buy the products.
Social Enterprise Academy
SEA provides social entrepreneurs with tools, training and support to progress in their effort in providing benefit to their local community, society and environment. This platform allows entrepreneurs to connect and share the latest trends in business and development.
Fiona created MAD foundation as a platform to inspire people to utilize their skills to make a difference. The word mad stirs up something inside of us. What drives people is sometimes the experience of remembering and feeling into their personal pain and then realize what they really care about. There is power in this, and, “you have to be mad to think that you can change the world to actually do so,” says Emelie. She urges us to use it as a vehicle, to solve struggles and drive innovation.
Fiona and Emelie posit three steps to push the frontiers and get “mad”. The first step is to embrace your inner madness. Become aware of what you are truly mad about, passionate about. Second, get together with people who share the same passion. Third step is to take action; you have to take action in order to figure out what works and what doesn’t. To find out more on how to access your inner madness visit www.mad.group or you can email Emelie or Fiona at firstname.lastname@example.org.