Year in Review – 2017

 

Following on from an amazing 2016, where we presented WSV twice at the United Nations, joined the USSP Catalyst Incubator and delivered social enterprise training to the Bond NGO network, this year has been a rollercoaster.

After 4-6 years of pilots and a years worth of development and refinement, the “Business in a box” was complete. It was now possible for other organisations to implement our socially impactful micro-businesses through our social franchise model; where we provide all the background development and support to keep the impactful businesses impactful. On top of that, we developed partnerships that will help us drive our ambitions and support the work of our network.

It is safe to say we have successfully laid the foundation for and made great strides towards our 2022 Million, Million, Million plan; to have 3 million people directly benefiting from the work of our entrepreneurs.

See our 2017 journey below.

Finished the “Business in a Box” MVP

Finished the “Business in a Box” MVP

After 4-6 years of pilots, and a years worth of development and refinement, Version 1 was ready. Weighing in at a hefty 600 A4 pages.

 

The business in a box encapsulates all the learnings, process and content needed to successfully set up a Petal, Roots or Right Light micro-enterprise.

First NGOs franchising our portfolio

First NGOs franchising our portfolio

In January we started in Uganda with our network’s first 3 post-pilot NGOs! Implementing: 3 Petal, 1 Roots and 2 Right Light enterprises.

 

This started our relationship with The International Refugee Trust, Naminage and Bupadhengo Parishes, and Bitterne Park and St James Parishes.

 

Read more about our time in Lira with IRT.

Catalyst Incubator Graduate

Catalyst Incubator Graduate

In April we graduated from the University of Southampton Science Park Catalyst Incubator. 

 

Over the previous 9 months we had recieved training and mentorship from a series of experienced entrepreneurs and professsionals. The programme was fundamental to our successful development of WSV.

Growth Funding

Growth Funding

We were one of two recipients of the Royal Society of the Arts Catalyst Scale up grant and were also awarded a grant from Scurrah Wainwright to begin working in Zimbabwe.

Partnership with BizGees

In May we started partnering with BizGees, who raise funding for refugees to franchise socially impactful businesses.

 

This relationship was kicked off with the funding of 2 Right Light enterprises with IRT in Uganda.

Social Sector Franchising Accelerator

 

 

We were selected to be a protegé on the Social Sector Franchising Accelerator at the University of New Hampshire. From this we were invited to a round table to discuss the challenges and oopportunities in the sector, and are receiving ongoing support from franchise consultants MSA Worldwide.

6 Awesome Interns

6 Awesome Interns

We had 6 awesome interns working with us over summer. They were so awesome we had to put them as a highlight of our year. Their work helped us to grow our network, update our training programmes, and market the work of our amazing entrepreneurs.

 

Hear from them directly in our Intern’s Insights blog series.

Rebranded to WSV

 

 

 

In September we rebranded from Wessex Social Ventures to WSV, with a new logo and tagline reflective of how we want WSV to serve our network and the world; “Helping you build sustainable communities”.

 

Our rebranding process was picked up by ACG, an event marketing and advertising company, who will be helping us on pro-bono to ‘turn our brand into a conversation starter’.

ACG led the soft launch of our new brand, helped create our new tagline and used their platform to promote this article about our new model for development.

One Young World Summit

One Young World Summit

In October we attended the One Young World Summit in Bogota, Colombia. There we had the opportunity to meet changemakers from around the world and even, for a brief moment, speak at dinner with former Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan.

 

While at the summit we also met the great people at Spark News who connect journalists to social entrepreneurs to combat the wave of negative news. Spark News love the work our network is doing and will be helping us increase awareness of our new model for development.

 

New Ugandan Enterprises Funded

New Ugandan Enterprises Funded

Stating how easy it is to fundraise for the enterprises, our new partner, The International Refugee Trust, secured funding for expanding in Uganda; 8 new Right Light enterprises, 4 new Petal enterprises and 3 new Roots business!

 

Maintaining a 100% success rate on applications made for microfinance loans.

Business in a Box V2

Business in a Box V2

After testing our MVP in Uganda, we learned an immense amount about the operations, training and learning styles of other organisations. Always seeking to improve, and do so without delay, in November we launched and tested V2 of our “Business in a Box”.

 

It was a complete redesign of the training programmes, new product designs, and new marketing, education and operational strategies for the entrepreneurs.

Finalist for UK Social Enterprise Awards and Chivas Venture

Finalist for UK Social Enterprise Awards and Chivas Venture

We are pleased to announce that we were finalists for the “One to Watch” at the UK Social Enterprise Awards in November. The award is for social enterprises under two years old and WSV was only one year old!

 

To follow on from that success, we have also been selected to pitch at the UK final of the Chivas Venture in January.

Implementations in West Africa

Implementations in West Africa

In October we had our first implementations in West Africa, in Cameroon, with SHUMAS and their UK funder Building Schools for Africa.

 

SHUMAS will be setting up their first Right Light enterprise in the anglophone region of Western Cameroon in January.

We are always looking for ways to improve the way we work with communities. Partnering with Blupoint we were able to deliver content about Right Light through FM, WIFI and Bluetooth to even the most basic phones in the community and this is just the beginning…

 

We have big plans for 2018. With your help, we have no doubt we can achieve it all and more.