Curly Hair

Curly Hair: We all have something in common - like a curly hair somewhere

Nottingham, United KingdomNottingham, United Kingdom
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Minorities are stripped of context and defined as the exception. Their existence is not absolute but subordinated to those in power. Curly Hair will change this through an expanded digital encyclopaedia and networking that re-tells history and connects local with global, wealthy with needed!

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if the digital word could be used to empower all kind of people to re-tell history and create change?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Inequality of power. Minorities are stripped of context and defined as the exception. Their existence is not absolute but subordinated to those in power. For example, regardless of changes women still face challenges and barriers due to their gender in most societies. If in more developed countries this manifests in e.g. glass celling; in emergent ones restrictions affect their rights, bodies and opportunities. All symptoms of the same issue.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Curly Hair wants to change the definition of 'the other' through storytelling and networking. It will work in 2 fronts: a hive of local mentoring groups for minorities (The Hidden Club) and the expanded virtual encyclopaedia of our human story. The Hidden Club is a paid membership scheme for networking and career development. It provides a safe space for sharing with and learning from peers facing similar career issues due to power imbalance. Its profits fuel the encyclopaedia supporting research, recording and publishing of minorities’ histories and experiences from a balanced, critical perspective. For example a development would be a scholarship scheme to fund students from less developed areas interested in History and Minorities rights


Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Key aim: empower so-called 'minorities' to realise that (part) of their problems are endemic to society's biases and not due to their individual characteristics. By sharing experiences and re-telling history a new chapter in our development as a human society can begin. Primary activities: (1) Mentoring - 8 week-programme for 8-15 participants at a time. It includes sharing experiences, identifying cause-effect patterns, providing emotional support, providing professional learning and development, and network. (2) Recording - Personal interviews through different means to capture statements and create a database of stories told from the perspective of 'minorities'. (3) Funding - select and support researchers to carry specific projects.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Pilots of the mentoring groups are being planned to take place in Nottingham (UK) and Sao Paulo (Brazil) by 2016. We also expect to have the first set of stories and the beginning of the digital encyclopaedia by July/2016. The next steps are to promote the results and the social enterprise across the UK and Brazil, expanding the network and the groups. By 2017, we expected to fund the first scholarship and expand the programme to other places.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Within 10 years Curly Hair wants to be the platform that connect views and wealth around the world. To do so, we will promote and expand the network with partners in various countries and locations around the globe, developing local capacity that deep understands local minorities' issues and motivations. These local groups will feed the global digital encyclopaedia and network, sharing stories and perspectives. This scheme will also facilitate the exchange of funds and money between members for the development of changing initiatives, a third wing of our social enterprise that will be built.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Revenue streams include (1) membership fees from those accessing the hidden club; (2) fees from special events and alternative programmes offered to members; (3) member's donations/crowdfund to specific projects; and (4) grants. All surplus will be re-invested on the encyclopaedia and on proving access to programmes and events by the hidden club to those unable to access it otherwise.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Equality is being promoted by NGOs, international organizations, businesses, governments and social loans platforms. However Curly Hair goes beyond targeting or including so-called 'minorities'; it is a project by diverse human-beings finding ways to re-signify their participation in the World, reducing the bias of the 'different from me' or 'less than someone'. Curly Hair offers an integrated approach that empowers by providing mentoring and networking opportunities, but especially by challenging assumptions and including different perspectives of the World.

Founding Story

Nathalia and Leticia share their lives and the desires to live in a more inclusive world and to find and nurture deeper connections with people. Having had the opportunity to live in the UK, in numerous times they had to identified themselves as another 'other', specially on standard research forms which ethnicity never considered their Brazilian heritage. Expanding on the meaning of these boxes/categories and their creators, they started brainstorming a better business model to empower individuals and generated social impact in increasingly complex and diverse societies.


Leticia Ferreira has over 10 years of track success on the management of CSR and educational programmes. Her experience includes e.g. mentoring young people from risky backgrounds; training and developing employees as volunteers; and engaging varied stakeholders in the delivery of projects. She has also developed and implemented strategies and programmes to NGOs and social enterprises. Leticia is currently finishing a PhD on Business and Management with focus on social enterprises at the University of Nottingham. Nathalia Prieto combines a diverse background with over 8 years of experience. She focuses on applying her skills in designing, project management and business analysis to help realising the potential of ideas and people. Nathalia is an entrepreneur working with funding and promotion of Urban Agriculture in the UK. Passionate about social change, Nathalia has specialised in entrepreneurship at the University of Nottingham and is focused on connecting with similar minds at
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Ashoka Newsletter

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:


Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

Leticia has started and coordinated the Blood Donation Organisation is Sao Paulo from 2001 and 2007. As key achievements, she researched and presented the ‘Best European Practices in Blood Donors’ Recruitment’ – Studied top blood donor organizations in Europe (Denmark, France, Italy, Luxembourg and Spain) and gathered best practices, adapting some such as the Danish ambassador program, to the Brazilian reality. She also act as convenor of the first Brazilian Meeting of blood organizations, a success with 10 institutions from different states represented and 65 participants, helping the expansion of the network and members.
Leticia also was a Board member for the Youth Committee and Delegate for Latin America, establishing the International Youth Committee, successfully coordinating a multi-cultural workgroup of 12 young volunteers for the project, initiated the Latin-American Forums to allow the exchange of best practices among countries and organized 3 editions and convened the International Youth Forums and Latin American Meetings in Estonia, Tunisia, Brazil, Bolivia and Malta.

Nathalia has recently launched a consultancy to organisations that promote change and better living such as urban agriculture initiatives and social enterprises. She provides, among other things, viability studies and support in the development of business strategies and grant applications. In less than a year, her work has guaranteed over £200k in grants for different projects.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

We are connected to the Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship - a Network of mentors and researchers based at University of Nottingham.