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
- 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
- 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
- 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
If your innovation seeks to impact public policy, how?
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