What is the benefit or value you're creating for your business?
The benefits can be measured in various ways.
One will be the successful emergence of new, partly profitable business in Lebanon that utilise digital means. Within a few years first studies will confirm the impact those social ventures create on society.
The other value is for the academia as it opens up a new educational market for Finland and potentially other European partners.
How are you leveraging internal resources (funds, time, knowledge, etc.) to support this initiative?
We are making use of Aalto's support for new courses and projects that are run with at least two different departments. Through that we are able to build an academic support system. At the same time we are shifting people's focuses onto this project so that they do not have to spend much additional time but rather adjust the time they invest into initiatives anyways. This is support by the research opportunities the project provides. At the same time we are making use of existing networks on all scales such as the Cumulus for the overall university, the research labs for smaller focuses, the local and remote centers as well as EU foundations that support our concept stage with small travel grants.
We are using our access to various services within Aalto to support this initiative.
Expand on your answer, explaining the long-term funding and support plan.
In the long term there will be various ways of funding this initiative.
While the Lebanese partner institutions will provide a working space, materials and tutoring as well as exhibition support, the Finnish institution, Aalto University, will provide academic support such as official accreditation, travel grants, provision of working rooms and seminar building.
The funding for the implementation of the business proposals after the first project phase will be taken on by local investors in Beirut, Lebanon. Thanks to this plan, the funding required is rather minimal as it is required in increments rather than a lump sum and much of the funding is provided through the sponsoring of facilities, materials and human resources.
Tell us about your partnerships across your company and externally that are key to your project's success.
Within Aalto we have partnerships with several departments and research groups such as the NODUS sustainable design research group, the ePedagogy department, the Media Lab, the Aalto Global Impact development initiative, the Executive Education and the Creative Sustainability programme.
Outside of Aalto we have partnerships with the MENA Design Research Center, the Lamba Labs hackerspace, the Lebanese American University and the GEMSI initiative.
What internal support have you gotten for your project? What kind of push-back have you received?
So far we have received mainly academic and structural support from within Aalto. So far there have not been many push-backs as we are just starting the initiative. We have just applied for course funding, which we will be informed of at the end of this month.
There has only been one push-back, which is timing as already many projects and courses have been confirmed for the coming 18 months, which leaves us behind a little. On the other hand we have promising partnerships.