Novi Boutik

Novi Boutik

Benin
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

The mission of Novi Boutik is to provide business opportunities for low-income tailors and artisans of rural Benin while directly supporting social initiatives of Novi NGO. Novi Boutik will sell fair-trade clothing, bedding, and accessories handmade from traditional African fabrics. The profits of Novi Boutik will go directly to Novi NGO and sustain its social programs and initiatives.

About You
Organization:
NOVI NGO
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Section 1: About You
First Name

Oloufounmi

Last Name

Koucoi

Country

, OH, Franklin County

Section 2: About Your Organization
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

Yes

Organization Name

NOVI NGO

Organization Phone

440-829-0453

Organization Address

Maison Koucoi, Allomey, Allada

Organization Country

, AQ

How long has this organization been operating?

1‐5 years

Your idea
Country your work focuses on

, AQ

Innovation
What makes your innovation unique?

The vision of Novi Boutik is to support tailors and artisans in Benin by selling and marketing their high quality, handmade clothing, bedding, and accessories in West Africa and the United States. The generated profit will be invested directly in the social initiatives of Novi NGO. By using a fair trade model, our tailors and artisans will be more self-sufficient and be able to feed their children and send them to school. Novi Boutik is engaged in poverty alleviation through a business that gives back to the community.

Business model

Our business model includes the work of both Novi NGO and Novi Boutik:
Novi NGO organizes artisans and tailors in a cooperative, providing training and organizational skills. The cooperative produces fair trade goods and sells them to Novi Boutik as an independent buyer. Novi Boutik pays fair wages (currently, double the typical wage for tailors and artisans in Benin). Novi Boutik markets and sells the products in Africa, the US, Europe, and online. One hundred percent of the profit generated goes back to the cooperative through social initiatives (environmental sustainability, health support, scholarships, library projects, entrepreneurship seminars and training, etc.) of Novi NGO.
Our customers are aware of the origin of their product, the story behind it, and the impact it's going to have.

Do you have a patent for this idea?

Impact
Tell us about the social impact of your innovation. Please include both numbers and stories as evidence of this impact

When we talk about poverty alleviation, our immediate and easiest solution is aid. But for the past decade we have been noticing that instead of helping the poor, the sole solution of aid may even create more poverty. It is why we at Novi NGO designed this model of social entrepreneurship that will enable artisans and tailors develop their businesses, feed their children, and send their children to school with dignity while helping finance social projects that will ultimately help the communities in which they work.

In year one, our objectives include: organize five tailors (three female, two male) and two artisans (one female, one male) in a cooperative, develop basic lines of women’s, men’s, and children’s clothing, bedding, and bags, and generate enough profit to fund two social programs of Novi NGO. We understand that to generate profit in the early stages of a business may be difficult, so we are also seeking outside grants for Novi Boutik and Novi NGO. Within five to seven years we predict that Novi NGO will be sustained exclusively by Novi Boutik. In this time, we hope to expand the cooperative of tailors and artisans to fifteen tailors and seven artisans. The social initiatives that the business will enable include: annual holiday celebrations (impacting 150 children and their families per year), one community library (impacting about 5,000 people and creating 10-15 jobs), tree planting activities every Arbor Day (about 1,500 trees, countless benefits to the community environment, and 1,000 people), five school gardens (500 children per year), and entrepreneurial and ethical leadership summits (1,000 people per year and opportunities for start-up businesses).

Problem: Describe the primary problem(s) that your innovation is addressing

Tailors and artisans constitute a significant percentage of the young population and oftentimes present one of only a few professional options for the youth of Benin. They typically live on less than $1 per day and struggle to build a profitable business. Some of them are unable to provide education and healthy nutrition for their children, and these children often pursue the same trade as their parents. Novi Boutik will expand the market of the cooperative of artisans and tailors, giving them the opportunity to make a profitable business while accompanying this expanded market with the appropriate training and tools for business development. Depending on the individuals, this opportunity may even allow them to venture into a profession that they were previously unable to pursue.

Actions: Describe the steps that you are taking to make your innovation a success. Include a description of the business model. What might prevent that success?

Our business model includes the work of both Novi NGO and Novi Boutik:
Novi NGO organizes artisans and tailors in a cooperative and provides training and organizational skills. The cooperative produces fair trade goods and sells them to Novi Boutik as an independent buyer. Novi Boutik pays fair wages (currently, double the typical wage for tailors and artisans in Benin). Novi Boutik markets and sells the products in Africa, the US, Europe, and online. One hundred percent of the profit generated goes back to the cooperative through social initiatives (environmental sustainability, health support, scholarships, library projects, entrepreneurship seminars and training, etc.) of Novi NGO.

Novi Boutik will devote plenty of time and resources to marketing because we acknowledge that without a strong branding and image of Novi Boutik, we will not be able to generate the profit necessary to make the Novi Boutik/Novi NGO business model a success. We will begin adequate marketing from day one and overcome the potential prevention of our success.

Results: Describe the expected results of these actions over the next three years. Please address each year separately, if possible

First Year
- Raise our tailors’ and artisans’ individual income from less than $50 a month to $100 a month
- Reach 5,000 customers in the US and 3,000 in Benin
- Establish relationships with 10 retailers and 5 wholesalers
- Generate as much traffic as we can on the website (about 2000 visitors per day)
- Enough sales to break even
- Begin to apply for fair trade certification
Second Year
- Make $80,000 profit
- Add one more tailor and one more artisan to the cooperative
- Provide financial training for the cooperative
- Provide scholarships to 20 students through Novi NGO's gift giving event
- Provide 50 trees to be planted on Arbor Day
- Begin marketing in Europe (France)
- Host a West African fashion show
- Participate in 2 fair trade exhibitions
Third Year
- Make $150,000 profit
- Build Novi NGO's Community Library Project
- Organize a design and financial training workshops for the cooperative
- Fund holiday gift giving project of Novi NGO
- Sponsor the Entrepreneurship Summit of Novi NGO
- Host a fashion show in the US
- Participate in 5 trade fairs

How many people will your project serve annually?

1001‐10,000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

Less than $50

Does your innovation seek to have an impact on public policy?

No

If your innovation seeks to impact public policy, how?

Approximately 150 words left (1200 characters).

Sustainability
What stage is your Social Enterprise in?

Idea phase

Does your organization have a board of directors or an advisory board?

Yes

Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with NGOs?

Yes

Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with businesses?

No

Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with government?

No

Please tell us more about how partnerships could be critical to the success of your Social Enterprise

Our partnerships with NGOs working in Africa are critical to our success. It is with their help, experience, and expertise that we will be able to achieve our objectives. Our social enterprise will also complement the work of other NGOs, and our impact will be even greater. The primary relationship with Novi NGO completes our model of social entrepreneurship, but partnerships with other NGOs may even lead to funding of projects outside Novi NGO's scope in the future. Because Novi NGO works in the nonprofit sector, our marketing of Novi Boutik will also extend to and through our partner nonprofit organizations.

We would like to learn more about how your initiative is financially supported. Please explain your business plan/revenue model

Novi Boutik is currently in the idea and start-up phase. We are in the process of applying for and acquiring grants for our initial costs. Our start-up costs will cover necessary assets, initial travel costs for the organization of the cooperative, and a base of materials. We will allot an appropriate amount of cash for start-up and cover initial shipping costs. As sales reach anticipated amounts, we will compensate two full-time positions and consider hiring a marketing director. Once significant profits are acquired, they will be donated to Novi NGO for the funding of community programs.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

In my history of community organizing in my hometown, Allada, Benin, I have sought a way in which social change could be sustainable in the long term. It was after I arrived in the United States and when I began to seek funding for my NGO, Novi, that I knew I had to do something different instead of holding out my hand my whole life, asking for funding from an outside source. As I was working at the Ohio State University, my colleagues would always comment on the traditional African fabrics I wore to work, and even asked me to have clothes made for them, and they would compensate me. I began developing and talking about the idea of making it a business, and my colleagues were very enthusiastic. I then attending a summit at the Ohio State University titled, "Alleviating Poverty Through Social Entrepreneurship," and I knew right away that I will not stop until I make Novi Boutik and Novi NGO simultaneously successful.

Tell us about the person—the social innovator—behind this idea.

I am a passionate, driven individual who has the initiative and ability to create something out of nothing. Though my education growing up did not encourage me to be this type of person, it is my nature, and it has led me to where I am today. Seeing what I have accomplished in the past, I know and trust that I will do what it takes to make my business successful for the betterment of my community in Benin and beyond. I am good with people and am able to make myself at home anywhere I live, but at the heart of my work is my country, region, and continent. It is for these things that I stay up all night to work on my NGO and business and work full time during the day.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

College or university

If through another source, please provide the information