22 Sep 2021

Empowering the next generation of successful green entrepreneurs!

The Switchers Talks presented a unique opportunity to connect with each other and hear from the best minds in green business, and investment in a digital post-Covid era.

The online event was held in two days. The first day was dedicated exclusively to the Switchers community members and partner organisations “in order to set together future common strategies and milestones” as mentioned by Alessandro Miraglia, team Leader of the networking facility in SCPRAC, in his opening intervention. His speech was backed by Julien Le Tellier, Programme Management Officer in UNEP/MAP who stressed that the Switchers, as inspiring examples of sustainable and circular businesses, have a crucial potential of catalyzing and supporting policy implementation in favour of the switch to global green economy. 

This first day of the event consisted of a roundtable, and then working groups sessions. The roundtable involved the participation of 4 of our Switchers from around the Mediterranean who offered a critical review of past and present actions, setting the baseline for further development. Rudaina Haddad from Boukagri, Heba Saeed from Wara’a, George S. Rishmawi founder of Palestine Heritage Trial, and Youness Ouazri from Ecodome Maroc reflected on the Community, its role and potential benefits members can receive.  

Empowering the next generation of successful green entrepreneurs! | The Switchers

“We need faster ways to know each other better, why don’t we have whatsapp group discussions to exchange our best practices?” Suggested Mrs haddad. 

This idea was supported by the others participants who suggested also dividing these groups by interests, thematic and development phase. 

The roundtable was followed by working groups where around 40 Switchers joined to improve the internal organization, synergies between switchers, the potential services they can benefit from, and future strategies of the Community. Working groups were facilitated by Maya karkour, managing director of EcoConsulting, Ahmed Yassine founder of Banalstic Egypt, and Patricia Carbonnel, Communication Manager of Revolve. 

A series of recommendations have been agreed on. Beside the organizational level, new services to support Switchers in new ways will be developed. The Switchers will be for example, provided with legal support, and help to prepare the paperwork to access EU funding. Moreover, innovative and more attractive ways will be implemented to showcase the products and services of green entrepreneurs.  All the switchers will soon be acknowledged privately with these new recommendations.  

The Second day opening has opened the public sessions of the event. Enrique De Villamore (Director of SCP/ RAC) together with Tatjana Hema (Acting Coordinator of The UN Environment Programme /Mediterranean Action Plan – Barcelona Convention Secretariat), Sylvie Fontaine (Program Manager at EU Neighbourhood & Enlargement) and Alessandra Sensi (Head of Sector of Environment and Blue Economy at Union for the Mediterranean) have explained, from their own organisations perspectives, why sustainable entrepreneurship must be sustained, while shading light on resilient initiatives and sustainable business models, like the Switchers, to #BuildBackBetter.  

Empowering the next generation of successful green entrepreneurs! | The Switchers

“I am amazed by the number of Switchers and subscribers to the new platform theswitchers.org, catalysing impacts for a greener future” Sylvie Fontaine (Program Manager at EU Neighbourhood & Enlargement) 

Watch this session through here: https://theswitchers.eu/switcherstalks/#videos

During this second day, “The Switchers Talks” online event hosted a special Investor-ready master class on impact-investing co-organized with The European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA) experts who stressed what investors are looking at and what do they expect from investees. Relevant tips provided by Elena Casolari and Zeineb Fakhfakh, to adjust their business to investors criterias, and also to keep a good and healthy relationship with them.  

According to them, eligibility criteria to get impact investment funds are based mainly on the maturity of the company, and on the social impact. The business model, the entrepreneur personality and motivation scalability and innovation potential are also important.  

Empowering the next generation of successful green entrepreneurs! | The Switchers

“We need a team to invest in! Entrepreneurs have to take their time to look for the right investor, it is like a marriage”, Said Elena Casolari.

This interactive session allowed entrepreneurs looking for funds to ask EVPA investors all questions an entrepreneur ever wanted to ask 

“Financing should not be the main aim after creating the company, entrepreneur should focus on creating his MVP, his first generated client” highlighted Zeineb Fakhfakh. 

You can watch the event recording and presentations though the link.

This session was followed then by three simultaneous practical workshops open to entrepreneurs and business support organizations, on  

  • Digital Marketing and Sustainable Branding. How to survive in the digital post-Covid era? 
  • Nature base Solutions. How to harness ecosystems into your business venture and especially how to profit from it? The story of the successful Greek entrepreneur Staramaki 
  • The Community Digital Support: The Switchers.org, how to benefit from the new platform?