14 Jul 2022

One day, two sessions, and many opportunities

“The Switchers Talks” is a special community-building event and the perfect opportunity to share, learn and create links between fellow Switchers on one hand, and to explore funding opportunities on another hand.

On the 6th of July 2022, the Second Edition of “The Switchers Talks” event was held one more time via Zoom, because of the traveling restrictions. Around 60 green entrepreneurs from the Mediterranean and other stakeholders gathered during this one-day event, exchanged and discussed about their challenges and their green business.

The morning sessions were dedicated for the Switchers presenting to them the changes introduced in the Community in the last year and how they will benefit from it.

The first session started off with a welcome note from Enrique de Villamore Martin, director of Medwaves, reminding the Switchers community that they are the very example that change is possible.

“By addressing social and environmental impacts with your green ventures, you are the ones making our planet a better place to live in” said Enrique de Villamore Martin.

Ahmed Yassine founder of Banlastic Egypt, an initiative tackling single use plastic in Egypt, moderated the morning session, and gave the floor to Khalil Ellouze, the community manager of the Switchers who briefly reminded the audience the outcomes of the first edition of the switchers Talks and the creation of the new digital channel, a Linkedin Page for the Switchers.

Pol Santalo, community and engagement officer of the Switchers, took up with the audience presenting the updates of the community. He pointed out two major achievements during the last year:

For a better User Experience, we have redesigned the website featuring your green ventures stories in a more simple, easy, and accessible way. It has also been hosted by theswitchers.org platform which include all the services that you can benefit from as a switcher: the tool box, the Switcher fund, the Switcher policy hub, the Open-eco innovation and the Switchers Products platform.

This is a platform where you can showcase your products for free. Moreover, during this Autumn, the MedWaves center will recruit an expert in digital marketing whose mission will be to increase the visibility of your products and services by finding and linking retailers and corporate buyers to you. Green entrepreneur from different activity sectors can benefit from this platform so we encourage you to upload your profile and the products and services you are selling.

The last important updates mentioned came from Patricia Carbonnel, Head of Revolve office in Barcelona, announcing the very new partnership between Medwaves and AMWAJ alliance and its many benefits for the Switchers. Read our news here for more information.

The next morning sessions offered a space for some Switchers to create some synergies and collaborations between community members. Founders of Aisha design, Alia Eco-village, Live Love Recycle, Green Prophet and Hugel presented their products and services before announcing what kind of opportunity they can offer to the Switchers.

Green Prophet for example offered to assist those in need to improve their pitching skills by simply reaching them directly.Alia Eco-village founder invited the Switchers to visit the place, stay, reconnect with nature and get help in fundraising, writing proposals, etc.

Live Love Recycle has suggested their facilities in Beirut to the Switchers who need to develop their green idea and projects and start operating from there. They can also help with visibility. Georges, the founder, has suggested also collaborating with Ahmed Yassine to extend his activities over Egypt market.

Aisha design is looking to collaborate with other fashion designers in North Africa and southern Europe for the production of hybrid fashion design. Hugel offered to the switchers in the textile sector the opportunity to improve their skills in natural dying among others slow fashion techniques. If you are a switcher please get in touch with them directly and ask for help.

The afternoon session covered a welcome note from Alessandro Miraglia, Team leader of the Networking and communication facility in MedWaves followed by a masterclass on impact investing implemented by EVPA. You can find the general presentation slides here. After an insightful introduction of investing for impact, the audience had the chance to widen their understanding and knowledge of how investor’s mind work, by listening to and asking two different investors Zeineb Fakhfekh (Yunus Social Business Impact Partner) and Myrna Atalla (Alfanar).

Impact Partner in Tunisia, targets startups and SMEs, woman, youth, and regional and in-capital support structure organizations. So far, they have financed more than 100 green businesses from different sectors and governorate in Tunisia.

Check again the presentations slides here and here.

“The financing of social entrepreneurs is tailored to the needs and maturity stage of the enterprise.” said Zeineb Fakhfekh from Yunus Social Business Impact Partner.

Alfanar is the first venture philanthropy organization in the Arab region, operating in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine. Since 2005, Alfanar has been delivering training and management support to over 100 social enterprises with 6million pounds in grants and interest loans enabling social enterprise to self-generate 9million Pounds to sustain their social impact. Find Alfanar presentation slides here.

How do they work with green entrepreneurs and which steps you ll be going through? What is the main advice to give to entrepreneurs? Where to find funds for startups in Lebanon? Given the rare opportunity to meet investors in such a friendly environment, these were some of the questions asked by the audience who engaged in a lively and enriching discussion on how venture philanthropy is working in practice in the region with interesting concrete examples.

Watch the recording of the webinar below to get the answers to these questions.