Author: Ilya Goldshtein
Last Thursday people who went to Area 31 to participate in the already famous IE Venture Network might have been a little bit surprised. Area 31 decided to change a bit the face of the IE Venture Network for this one day, if not to say to show a different side of it. As usually, they could see interesting business projects and get a piece of inspiration for their own; and they saw new online solutions appear on stage. But also, they were invited to make a one-hour journey to a field of the entrepreneurial land that we do not see that often (comparing to the total amount of startups) and which has started to boost recently. All three teams pitching that day were Social Entrepreneurship projects.
The first one to present was Jose Luis Ruiz de Munain. He presented his new company – UnLtd Spain. This company is a spinoff of the global network of UnLtd, a Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs located in the UK. UnLtd Spain will operate in Madrid in order to support Social Entrepreneurial projects with its very wild exciting network. Right now the company is looking for partners: funding partners, knowledge partners (academic institutions, consulting groups) and individuals who would like to participate in this fast growing project. He also has another company (a member of 1st intake of Area 31 Alumni Startup Incubator), that is called ChangeFusion Europe. ChangeFusion Europe is a platform of entrepreneurs dedicated to the promotion, creation and funding of innovative and economically sustainable social enterprises with a principal objective to address social or environmental problems.
The second team was presenting the project called Dispeople, a LinkedIn for people with disabilities, as its founders explain it. As a result of collaboration of several current IE IMBA students, the project is brining to the table a very important social issue that people with disabilities have to face in searching for a job. They get rejected at job interviews due to their disabilities. Companies put too much weight on what they believe a disabled person cannot do rather than focusing on the enormous array of skills and abilities they do have. At the same time, when companies need to hire people with disabilities as enforced by law they cannot find them. People with disabilities won’t declare it on LinkedIn or their CVs in fear of being rejected. To be able to solve this problem Dispeople offers to create a new job searching platform, especially designed for people with disabilities and companies looking to hire them.
The last project was Ecologing, presented by its founder Nicola Cerantola. His company offers their customer strategic “ecoinnovation training” and consultancy. Trying to solve the problem of many industrial companies used to old production models, Ecologing proposes a different approach to business which is accomplished by “bioinspired thinking”. In his 7 minutes pitch Nicola said that “it is time to do some real changes in the Mediterranean Region by leaving unsustainable business models and switching to sustainable ones” by implementing the so-called “circular minimum viable product”. And this time is definitely now, “before people start to feel the pain” from their careless actions.