Nodim makes sustainable commemorative monuments out of transparent plastic. This allows personal items to be processed in the monument.
The competition is only open to people between 18-34 years-old and resident in UK, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark or the Netherlands. Does this apply to you
Country of residence of entrepreneur
Tell us about your personal background. Why are you passionate about this issue? Making an idea a reality takes innovation, dedication and strong leadership. Do you have the necessary entrepreneurial skills to realize your vision?
We are convinced that as a sustainable entrepreneur you should seek a venture that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Though we have different backgrounds in terms of study, we are both working on topics related to social awareness. During art school, Merel worked on subjects such as ‘the significance of the term hunger’, and ‘the development of obituaries in different countries’. Straight after graduation she started her own company (www.merelschenk.nl) as a graphic designer. Merel has specialized in typography, which we believe to be a great advantage in making our idea reality.
While studying Philosophy of Law, Mike focused on examining how equality within society is regulated and in what way this could be improved by means of legislation. Besides being a student, Mike has always been a true entrepreneur. Already at the age of seventeen he started arranging and organizing performances along the entire west coast of Europe for the group of artists (acrobats) he was part of, and he continued organizing events throughout the Netherlands until recently. To make a living as a student he worked as a Face-2-Face salesman, where for seven years in a row he was in the top 10 of ‘best average sales result of the year’ out of about one thousand other salesman in the same branch. For this reason he can now say, as a passionate surfer and rock climber, he has been on every continent on earth for doing what he loves doing most of all : getting one with the elements of nature!
We felt that we had to combine our knowledge and awareness with our experience in sales and design. We want to show that whenever you can awaken a branch and initiate a change you have to seize the opportunity.
About Your Organization
Nodim (no one dies in memory)
Netherlands, NH, Amsterdam
Country where this project is creating social impact
Netherlands, NH, Amsterdam
Is your organization a
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The Need: What problem are you trying to solve?
There is a trend in today’s society in which it has become increasingly important to develop one’s own identity. In addition, there is a growing need to deal with the environment in a responsible way. Nodim has noted that within the grave monument sector there is a marginal range of personal and sustainable commemorative monuments.
Many people are unaware of the fact that the resources used for traditional gravestones
are frequently very environmentally burdensome because of excavation. The stones are mostly imported from India and China, where the cut from quarries causes significant damage to the landscape. Research shows that 90% of excavation circumstances do not meet the international standards for working conditions, which means child labor, exploitation and corruption.
The Solution: What is your solution? Be specific!
Our aim is to provide an alternative to the traditional tombs made of stone. We offer a sustainable monument containing personal objects cast in acrylic. Although this is often thought, not all plastics are harmful to the environment. The use of plastic is in many ways beneficial. Our monument is produced domestically so it doesn't need to be transported by cargo ship across the ocean. Besides, it is 100% recyclable, in case the statutory deadline for grave rest has expired and the grave is cleared. Therefore, we can guarantee that every monument from Nodim is a sustainable monument.
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include your primary activities
Someone has lost a loved one and wants to commemorate the deceased in an original way with a personal monument. Through our website and our contacts within the funeral industry we will create awareness and brand recognition. After our customer has opted for a sustainable monument, we will discuss the design and the personal object(s) the client wants to encase in the memorial. When the design has been approved, we will make the monument in cooperation with our producer, who is also located in Amsterdam. We consider this a great advantage. As a monument made of transparent plastic is three times lighter than a traditional tomb stone, we will burden the environment less in transporting it to the cemetery. And then, instead of an average waiting time of six months, in less than about two months’ time our client can have finished the grave to commemorate the loved one he lost in a dignified way.
The Marketplace: Who are your peers and competitors? Identify others also working to address the needs you are and what differentiates you from them. What challenges could these players pose to your success or growth?
We see that the current monument industry has trouble to keep up with the developments within today’s society. There is a need for development in design but definitely also in the field of sustainable innovation. There is no answer to the demand for highly personalized memorial monuments that are produced in a responsible manner. Nodim offers an answer to this need. Because we have an agreement with the only company in Holland that works with this material, it will be difficult for the competitors to provide the same.
Select the stage that best applies to your business
Operating for less than a year
This Entry is about (Issues)
What is the social impact you have had to date and how you measure it?
We foresee a demand for our product. Besides, we notice an increasing need for personalization through personal objects on graves at different cemeteries. There is a growing group of people who would opt for our product because it is less environmentally damaging than the alternatives that are currently offered.
As our product increases awareness and more people will go for this alternative there will be less demand for 'infected stones' from China or India. The demand for commemorative monuments will not change with our offer, but the demand for a greener memorial will increase.
What barriers might hinder the success of your business? How do you plan to overcome them?
First we need to create awareness and introduce our alternative. It is a problem that not many people are aware of the malpractice around tombstones. But it is difficult to advertise such a subject, because for instance social media are not the most appropriate way of communication for us in this matter. Therefore we will acquire brand awareness from and within the existing funeral industry, for example by presenting ourselves on funeral fairs. Because of the innovative character of our idea, we see news value, and therefore we will try to get publicity.
How does your model address financial, social, and environmental sustainability?
In 2011, the mortality rate in the Netherlands was 136.895, an increase of 0,9% in comparison with 2010. For 2012, we assume a slight increase in deaths. On the long run demographic effects will develop more rapidly. The sector will continue to grow because there is a strong relationship between the number of deaths and revenue growth. In our society there is a clear tendency towards choosing an environmentally friendly life. For this reason we expect that an increasing share of the market will choose for a sustainable funeral.
An important aspect of obtaining our place in this sector will be by means of a personal approach, in combination with transparency towards the customer.
We are keeping the fixed cost low by working from our home office, and we will mainly make costs when there is an order. Therefore we are convinced that Nodim is viable.
Awareness & learning
How do you see social entrepreneurship contributing to the improvement of developing countries?
We believe that the most effective and sustainable solution to social problems in developing countries lies in supporting innovative entrepreneurs within the local population. The people, companies or governments that want to offer their help should stimulate innovation by encouraging and supporting local entrepreneurs to realize their innovative solutions to local problems. This support implies both transfer of knowledge and (a contribution to) providing the necessary tools to enable the company to set up. Additionally, encouraging and supporting entrepreneurship ensures that employment and income is generated for the local population, and this work might even contribute to diminishing social problems on the spot, such as food shortage, housing or infrastructure.
What aspects of your stay in Uganda as part of the competition do you think you will find most challenging and rewarding?
Having grown up and lived in Amsterdam, the most challenging part of our stay in Uganda will probably be working together with the farming community, as neither of us has an agricultural background. Nevertheless, we are looking forward to this new experience!
As entrepreneurs we want to be successful with our venture and make a living out of it, but for us it is just as important to contribute to the sustainability of our society and environment. Therefore learning about social entrepreneurship and sharing perspectives on how social business works with the other participants, the people from Ben & Jerry and the local people in Uganda will be the most rewarding aspect of our stay in Uganda.