This page was the voting for the final stage of our entrepreneurship grants, $12,000 awarded to help kick-start wannabe entrepreneurs. For more information on the scheme and previous winners please check out the Arbing Blog Entrepreneurship Grants.
This round there were 83 excellent applications. I have read through them all and whittled down to just 15 finalists. It is now down to you to choose the winning three.
- One vote per person. This is limited by IP address and cookie. That means that if there are two people on the same internet connection they only get one vote between them.
- Voting closes midnight on 31 March 2018 at 23:59 GMT.
- The top three finalists with the most votes will each receive $1,000 paid via PayPal.
- You are allowed to promote the competition and get friends/families/strangers to vote for you. You are not allowed to use bots, proxies or computer systems to try and game the competition.
- You can only see the leaderboard after you have voted.
EDIT – There is a lot of voting by VPNs going on the final day. I will be going through all votes and removing dodgy voting before announcing the winners.
EDIT 2 – Voting is now closed. Thank you to everyone who took part.
EDIT 3 – Congratulations to the winners!
Let’s meet the finalists:
Just click on the name to expand and view their full application. Note: the order is random.
Aisuluu Magicnetica - Magicnetica ABC Toys
My name is Aisuluu and I am applying to the Arbing Grant for my new business – Magicnetica ABC toys.
A little bit of story
I live in Chicago area, in the US, and I am a mom to 4-year old girl.
When we started learning alphabet with her, I was looking everywhere for a quality ABC toy that I’d like – but couldn’t find anything.
Children (and a lot of adults) are just amazed with any magnetic toys, so I was looking for a magnetic alphabet set which would be also safe to play with. To my surprise, all the alphabet sets I found were exposing magnets that could easily fall off or had bland colors and were just not engaging for my daughter.
So I decided to try to make my own toy – the one I (and hopefully other moms) would love.
About the product
When it comes to toys, safety comes first. When it comes to magnetic toys, it is even more important due to dangerous consequences of a swallowed magnet.
I really wanted to make a toy with strong magnetic properties (because I know the frustration of a child when his letters or numbers start slide down the fridge), but at the same time I had to find a way to hide those magnets from curious hands and mouths.
- So I did – Magicnetica letters have magnets INSIDE them, and a child won’t ever get to them. Unless it is a child from Incredibles, in which case I feel sorry his parents.
- Magicnetica letters engage a child with a different associative picture on the each letter.
- Magicnetica letters are laboratory tested and don’t contain BPA, leads or phthalates
- M. letters are made of acrylic and look like lollipops, but won’t break or shutter
- Magicnetica sets come with a sorting board which makes letter set also a puzzle
Where I am now
So due to lack of funds, I had to teach myself things like design, CNC machining, laser cutting, photography, website building and a bit of marketing.
Now, after an extensive prototyping and testing a lot (a lot!) of techniques and different materials, I am finally ready to move further.
I am planning to launch a Kickstarter campaign in April – I could take pre-orders even now, but it makes more sense to try building a crowd first.
Now I have 4 designs:
– Playful ABC set contains more common pictures, like A – Apple etc
– AnimAlphabet set has pictures of cute animals (A – anteater etc)
– Rainbow ABC set has no pictures but is very colorful
– Lowercase set has no pictures on letters either, but all letters together make one beautiful landscape image
How would I use the money
I would use the grant money for marketing.
Being a newbie “momtrepreneur”, I underestimated an effort needed for directing people to the website and Instagram page.
Now I am using Facebook and Instagram targeted ads , but that’s about it.
I have a lot of ideas of useful content for moms, and now I make free printables, coloring pages, and posts about useful toys and books.
I have few collaborations with mom bloggers, but popular moms with heavy following, of course, have their rates for advertising or giveaway posts.
So this grant would really help to boost social media aspect of this new business.
Thank you very much for reading.
If you’d like, you can visit my website at www.magicnetica.com.
or take a look of more pictures on my Instagram page
Felix Milome - Milome Comics
SALVAGE KENYA THROUGH VISUAL ARTS.
Through the use of African superhero comic books, Milome comics addresses societal issues, which mostly affect third world urbanized cities in Africa. Such issues include poverty, terrorism, political rivalry, morality, crime, social cohesion, insecurity, economic crisis and many more others.
In the past 2years, my country (Kenya) has witnessed unbelievable vices and challenges that have almost crumbled her foundations. Hundreds of youths have been recruited to the Alshabaab Terrorist Group, over a hundred teenagers have been brutally gunned down by the police due to indulgence in crime and numerous jobless youths have been used by politicians to cause political rivalry and violence.
Sample Photos of youths who were gunned down in Eastland Nairobi-Kenya by police due to gang related crime.
Sample photos of youth being involved in political violence in Kenya
Screenshot of Baby Pendo in hospital: A victim of police brutality in Nyanza-Kenya.
Unfortunately, the effects are so grave that innocent infants aren’t spared. Many youths avoid ‘head-on’ youth education programs; therefore I strive to educate the urban African youth through the avenue of visual entertainment.
We subtly address these societal issues via superhero comic books. A sample project that I recently did is Fikira.
The story is about an underpaid nurse who becomes a superhero, and later manages to stop a terrorist group that has been forcefully recruiting African teenagers. To spice up the story, I made her teenager sister to be one of the victims. The story also addressed how the government is reluctant in solving the state of insecurity. The overall superhero theme helps to bring out the aspect of responsibility and obligation, which our readers are able to resonate with. Moreover, most of the urban youth/ teenagers identify with popular superhero characters like Batman and Superman. With Milome Comics in place, they will have characters who they can directly identify with.
Milome Comics is a non-profit startup comic book establishment based at Nairobi-Kenya in East Africa. Since its official launch in December 2016, I have been able to make significant strides despite having limited resources. So far I have managed to launch a website, www.milomecomics.com, and also an entire series of Fikira (My first comic book).
I do all my illustrations/drawings using outdated software, an old laptop and a mouse. Unlike most artists, I don’t use a sketch pad. Moreover, my artistic skill was not academically acquired but was self-taught through watching tutorials accompanied by trial and error.
Marketing and distribution are done online, where I gather a consistent audience of over 1000 readers. I believe that an ample supply of resources can help me achieve more, hence the application for a grant.
Project Description and Analysis
In the year 2018, I will officially launch 4 new superhero comic book series, each series containing 4-6 episodes. 3 of the four will be solo main characters while the fourth shall be a combination of all the three main characters. Every month, I shall be releasing a new digital issue, which shall be accompanied by a motion comic trailer/ promo. The digital versions shall be distributed for free via social media and our website. In every quartile, I shall release both printed and digital versions of a comic book which shall be distributed for free in youth hangout joints like arcades, malls and movie libraries. At the end of the year, we shall have a youth empowerment program whereby we shall discuss the issues addressed in the comic books. Our target audience are urban cities mostly in Africa.
Monthly Goal: 1 digital comic book and 1 motion comic book promo
Quarterly Goal: 4 digital episodes (randomly selected from the 3 solo main characters), 1 combined issue (Combination of the characters), 5 motion comic promos.
Yearly goal: complete 3 digital comic book series (12 digital episodes/ 4 episodes each), a complete combined series; which shall be a combined story of the 3 characters (3 issues), 15 motion comic promos, annual youth empowerment program
To efficiently apply the one-year strategy/ project, I request for a grant of 20,000 US Dollars. The money shall mostly be used on production equipment and social media marketing. If the total grant
cannot be issued, any contributed amount will be highly appreciated and recognized. Estimated Budget
-Youth Empowerment Program: 2000 USD
-Annual Printing Charges: 4000 USD
-Laptop: 1000 USD
-Sketch Pad: 1000 USD
-Annual Online Marketing: 3000 USD
-Annual Outsourcing Manpower: 4000 USD
-Annual Support Allowance: 5000 USD
Grand Total: 20,000 USD
With all these in place, I believe the project shall be a guaranteed success. Any contribution shall be appreciated. I hope to receive positive feedback from you. To view my portfolio, simply visit www.milomecomics.com or visit my Instagram account @milomecomics
Chris Barton - 10 Minutes Out
10 Minutes Out – CD Barton
Why am I applying for a grant?
This grant application is to support the development of a social media and internet based blog, education platform and on-line resource for children, families and health care professionals involved with childhood cancer.
In the first instance, I would put the $1000 dollar grant from Sam towards the acquisition and development of a website to support and develop the project.
I already own and host the domain name and have a word-press template.
I would also use some of the money to attend relevant training courses on the use of social media for marketing and to develop online communities (£99.00) This will be alongside free courses I am already studying such as those provided by FutureLearn.
In the long-term, it is my hope that affiliate schemes, sponsorship and advertising space on the website (e.g. scientific press, pharma, private academia) will support the further development of the project.
What is 10MO?
The idea for 10MO is that it will offer a resource for anyone with an interest in paediatric oncology to be able to access information, educational resources and the experiences of others at times they have brief moments – breaks, waiting for the bus, in between lectures, over a coffee, or dare I say it – toilet-time!!
- Novel content
- Interviews with professional health care leaders
- Question of the day
- Cancer charity of the week
- Latest updates
- Good news stories
What potential does 10MO have to be influential?
Approximately 1700 children are diagnosed with cancer in the UK every year, with challenging journeys for the children, and their families and carers. Paediatric oncology is the branch of medicine that describes the treatment of these children, including doctors and nurse and other healthcare professionals (HCP) including pharmacists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, play specialists and psychologists.
10MO will be succinct, and lighter in both academic scope and seriousness than existing educational resources, whilst remaining informative, interesting and compelling. While there is a wealth of in-depth information and education available from established academic and clinical centres, this can require dedicated time and energy to access. Therefore, 10MO will offer an alternative source of relevant and novel, easy-to-access information, delivered to the individual through social media and blog posts.
A deeper aim of 10MO will be to highlight the problem of burnout in paediatric oncology HCP, and bring awareness of the problem to other stakeholders.
- emotional exhaustion
- depersonalization at work
- a reduced sense of personal accomplishment
- a reduction or loss of an individual’s ability to cope with chronic job stress
- consequences for their personal health
- reduction of quality of patient care
- implications for family life
Over time, a major focus for 10MO will be to identify and link-to, and eventually develop appropriate resources for those experiencing burnout, including appropriate mindfulness, self-awareness and resilience training, and understanding work-life-balance.
With 10 years’ experience of both working as a paediatrician in clinical cancer care, and as an academic scientific and clinical researcher, I have had the pleasure of working alongside some amazing healthcare professionals, patients and families. Having presented at international meetings and worked alongside leading global experts in paediatric oncology, I look forward to their support in developing 10MO and promoting and producing its content. This experience has taught me many of the day-to-day challenges that they all face, and it is my hope that 10MO will serve to provide a resource to support their individual journeys, and widen others awareness
Sarah Leonard - Refugee Stories & Portraits Book
My name is Sarah Leonard. I am an artist and began working on portraiture projects in 2011. In 2010 a classmate of one of my children, a girl called Dorothy, from the Congo, was being threatened with deportation because she was about to turn eighteen.Many people became involved in helping her campaign for leave to remain in Scotland.
Her family was all gone, it was presumed they had perished and Dorothy had come to the U.K as an unaccompanied minor.
I asked if I could do a drawing of her as part of the campaign, she agreed and hers became one of the first of the 900 drawings I have produced of people from all over the world who have come to the UK seeking sanctuary.I wanted to use portraiture as a way of welcoming refugees so I began by finding out where in Glasgow refugees lived and got together socially. I approached different agencies The Scottish Refugee Council, The YMCA, Y-people etc and some of the integration networks helped me with introductions. I am very grateful that they all got on board and helped me tremendously.
It quickly took off and I had books full of names, of people patiently waiting to be drawn.In a converted flat on the 14th floor of a tower block in a notoriously run-down area of Glasgow, these happy collaborations resulted in hundreds of drawings.As an artist it was one of the most fruitful, nerve-wracking, and joyful experiences of my working life. It was not always easy to produce your best work under these circumstances- kids were shouting, three volunteer barbers were cutting the men’s hair, on the wide screen TV high up on the wall, MTV was hard to compete with.
But the sitters kept coming, Kurdish, Syrian, Nigerian, Iranian, Iraqi, Pakistani, Sikh, from everywhere there is conflict and a lack of freedom.
One girl had fled her country because her husband had insisted on FGM for their daughter.The daughter was 13 months old.
I heard many painful stories and decided to write about the reasons people are forced from their countries.I have exhibited these drawings widely, in the end I decided the best way to present this
was to write a book, illustrated with the portraits.
I have been chosen to talk about my work at the Conference of Europeanists in Chicago in March this year. The book, exhibition and a visual arts paper will be my contribution to sharing knowledge about the plight of refugees (and the many success stories too)
I ultimately would like to dispel some of the myths around the issues and present the people I know as real people, with hopes and dreams.
“Anyone can be a refugee, sometimes it only takes a day”- Benjamin Zephaniah.
My book is very large (A2) so it will be a limited edition. I will seek subscriptions at the conference, and make a limited edition depending on the demand.I also will publish it in a smaller format.
Funds from the sale of the book will help refugee charities in Scotland.
I hope those funds will help people find their voice, their talents so that their ambitions may one day be realised.
Biju Simon - Ether India
Website: www.etherindia.org (under construction)
Name: Biju Simon
Name of the Organization: Ether India Charitable Society
- My personal profile
Can you just summarize what Competitive Markets for Goods and Services?
My professor asked me after finishing the lecturing on Economics. I stood up and looked blank without understanding the question. It sounded Greek and Latin to me. After a few seconds of awkward silence, he said why don’t you go back to school and learn? You don’t fit to be here. This was not the first incident in college where I didn’t understand what the professors or the fellow students said in English. It was a double obstacle for me. Neither did I understand the language nor the subject that was taught. Professors continued their lectures and the gap grew as well. I searched for the books in my language to fix this gap, but it ended up in vain. Finally I dropped out of the college in the first year itself.
Next year, I joined in a seminary, where students were molded for priesthood. What I have seen there is that many of the students are from rural background. And the atmosphere they provided us is entirely different from my previous institutions. They did not judge rather they encouraged us to speak by saying if he can, she can why cannot you? I learned English with fun. We were encouraged to make mistakes. Seminary life provided an environment which is conducive for me. There I could find the transformation from embarrassment to an opportunity to express myself. It is a transformation from feeling ashamed to feeling confident, from running away from task to running behind it. Gradually it gave me confidence to take challenges. It encouraged me to have fun, laugh and learn. It empowered me to see the world in different angles and analyze critically. Here I was afraid neither of the language nor of the subject. Rather I was concerned about my society; people living out there.
I was more concerned about social work. Hence I left the seminary and joined Loyola College Trivandrum to pursue Sociology and know more about society, its culture and practices. Later I worked with Don Bosco Trivandrum, a shelter home for the homeless and abandoned children. I joined here to provide my quality time for the children who need my support. There I could see many of the lives which are very similar to me. Majority had the background of dropping out from schools. Unlike me, the children living here are coming from much marginalized sectors of the society. And struggling with English is not the only problem they face. Rather they struggle with their own vernacular language, neglect from the family, neglect from the schools and societies and they struggle with their own life. And I found that the educational system and the atmosphere are not conducive for them. Also it is not providing them to connect with their life. In Tivandrum, 97 such registered institutions are there. Hence, I want to provide a platform and a system where children can learn with lots of fun and transform themselves and integrate in to the society.
- My proposed Organization
Over 5400 vulnerable children live today across 97 registered Child Care Institutions (CCI) in Trivandrum according to the Social Justice Department of Kerala. The categories of children in Trivandrum are those who are orphaned, abandoned, destitute, living in extreme poverty and abused. Before coming to shelter homes, they worked as child laborers, were involved in begging or robbery. You would find them with delinquent groups or roaming around railway stations. Once the child is admitted in the shelter home or any other correctional homes, the society believes that they have thus gotten rid of these delinquent children. People as well as the children believe that this is the end of their life.
A child care institution means Children’s Home, Open Shelter, Observation Home, Special Home, Place of Safety, Specialized Adoption Agency and a Fit Facility recognized under the Act for providing care and protection to children, who are in need of such services (Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2015). From the Child Care Institutions, children are sent to public schools for education. But these children have poor academic performance and low motivation levels. Since these children don’t have proper formal education before joining the care homes; they lack basic literacy and numeric skills and not interested to sit in public schools. And very few of them foresee good career opportunities and a bright future for themselves.
At Ether India, we want to transform the lives of these children.
For these children, the need of the hour is to evoke interest and generate curiosity to learn. Through this, they need to be integrated with the larger society. Education should facilitate the children to identify their interests, skills and set up their goals. Ether India a registered Non-governmental Organization provides the children to achieve this through different levels of interventions: Education, Empowerment and Engagement. To accomplish this, we also provide support to the staff and management of particular Child Care Institutions and the parents of the beneficiaries.
We envision a world where the vulnerable children learn with joy and happiness; and become integral part of the larger society, contributing to its growth. We prepare vulnerable children through inspiring education; empowering them by developing their cognitive, life and social skills; engaging them to integrate with the society by mentoring, networking and follow-up activities.
Ether India believes that education should facilitate children to identify their capabilities, skills and set up their goals. Hence we focus on 3 Es: Education, Empowerment and Engagement.
- First level: Education
The aim of this stage is to create curiosity and interest to learn. We facilitate the learning process by providing learning environments which is conducive by including
- Science Lab
- Maths Lab
- Language Lab
- Smart Class
- Skill Training
- Motivational Classes
- Second level: Empowerment.
The goal of the stage is to assess the talents and skills of the kids and provide opportunities to improve the same. In this stage, we will offer courses in technical and vocational skills such as:
- Arts and Crafts
- Film Making
- Video Editing
- Graphic designing
- Web Designing
- Sports and games
- Trash to Treasure
- Competitive Exam preparation and many more.
- Third level: Engagement.
Here we aim at integrating the kids with their families as well as the society. We offer the following supports.
- Pilot project
The first step I would take would be to offer training on Education through setting up Science Lab, Mathematic Lab, Language Lab, Smart Class, Skill Training and motivational classes in 10 orphanages in Trivandrum, South India. These children are faced with low motivation and lack of interest to going to school and they come from much marginalized backgrounds.
The objective of this training is to invoke interest and generate curiosity among the children from the orphanages through interactive learning and teaching methods; and identify their learning abilities and facilitate them to develop their capacities.
During the training the beneficiaries will be able to secure minimum 30% improvement the subjects like science and mathematics. They also are able to speak English very confidently.
This project will provide training on every Monday to Friday in the morning and evening on every academic year. The training would be offered by Ether India trainer that is me, the founder of the organization and two hired trainers that is one trainer each from science and mathematics. The project also gives training to the staff in a particular orphanage, who will be the main mentor to facilitate the project in such orphanages.
Finally, towards the end of the project in March 2019 the beneficiaries would be given an opportunity to conduct an exhibition on Science and Mathematics that they learned during the academic year.
After this one year training the projected outcome of this pilot project is to see 25 marginalized children be improved in their subjects like science and mathematics. Also they are very confident in speaking English. Their area of interests will be identified and they are facilitated to set up their goals.
What I will use this money for?
This money will be used in implementing the pilot project in one orphanage. I intend to spend the money on buying Science Lab Kit, Mathematic Lab Kit, Language Lab Kit its courier charges and the trainer’s fee.
Science Lab Kit – 338.46 USD
Maths Lab Kit – 85.34 USD
Language Lab Kit – 152.69 USD
Courier Expenses – 69.23 USD
Trainers’ fee – 307.69 USD
Total = 953.41 USD
Note: I am also currently working on a fundraising plan and sending out proposals to other organizations, foundations, friends and family. Through this, I hope I can fund other needs and aspects of my organizations. This 953.41 grant will go a long way in helping me start and it will go a long way in impacting the lives of children in one orphanage in Trivandrum.
I am grateful for this opportunity. I hope that my application will be considered. I also look forward to hearing from you soon.
Founder – Ether India Charitable Society
www.etherindia.org (under construction)
Peter Adeeko - Soulace Peace Academy
My Personal Story.
I remember my wife and I visited an orphanage with lots of children in 2009. There was this child who was specially laughing and playing with me. The beautiful afternoon ended abruptly when we were set to leave. This little girl held unto my leg as she cried relentlessly that she wants to go with me. We would come back was the only word we could muster to appease her as we departed with tears in our eyes. This striking experience had me flash back on my childhood dream. When I was telling my mother how I would have a very big house and adopt many children. Little did I know that I will end up becoming an orphan myself.
Being a war child, I was raised by my teenage brother. My father was a soldier. He was injured during a peace keeping mission in Mogadishu. His right shoulder was disjointed and this prompted his early discharge from the army. Subsequently, he suffered partial paralysis which eventually resulted to total paralysis. He was bedridden for two years. During this period, his pension didn’t reach us. The family representative who was nominated to collect this pension, never remit it to us. The change in family structure subsequent to my father’s incapacity and death plunged my family and most especially my mother into serious economic turmoil. Raising seven children without help and any sustainable means of livelihood was a struggle. She became ill and passed on afterwards.
My brother and eldest sister could not continue with their education. Subsistence farming became our only means of survival. My brother became the ‘father’ of our family by default. And that was not without an adverse effect on him. The responsibility was too much for an adolescent. And so, he became very violent and an alcoholic. My third year in secondary school was the most critical period. I remember, my school principal once stripped me of my school shirt, sandal, and socks and I had to go barefooted for days which is a punishment for being late with the school fee. This was humiliating. I cannot forget all the times that I was either flogged or punished and chased out of the class room for defaulting in school fee. I would cry but encourage myself and returned to school the following day. I was never tired of going back to school.
A turning point came in my 4th year, during the commemoration of Nigerian Armed Forces Remembrance Day, a scholarship from the Nigeria Legion. The honour at that event remains with me forever. By and large I completed my elementary education. The struggle was not any different for my tertiary education but I made it through all the huddles. This dreadful and precarious path to survival could be avoided if we had peace in and around our country. But through my dream venture, a peace academy, I hope to prevent war and violence and thus the existence of more war orphans and widows in Nigeria and beyond.
To this effect, my organization Soulace Africa envision a peaceful Nigeria where human dignity and access to social justice become the norms. My mission is to mitigate the incidence and impact of extreme violence and armed conflict in Nigeria through participatory methods of advocacy and engagement of people that are vulnerable and mostly affected by violence in Nigeria.
To achieve this vision, Soulace Africa intends to setup a community-oriented training and development project called Soulace Peace Academy. This academy will have within its umbrella, the leadership training program otherwise “Peregun” which will focus on non-violence communication, conflict resolution, diversity and reconciliation. Peregun is regarded as a peaceful plant among the traditional Yoruba people of south western Nigeria. This evergreen shrub grows in the rural backyards in Nigeria and was believed to have a spirit that could calm a raging God. Peregun is noted for its bayonet like leaves which is regarded as a sword sheath in traditional Yoruba culture.
The aim is to create mindset shift on armed conflict and violence and to deepen knowledge and research about peace. Alongside this is the establishment of audio-visual library containing resources related to non-violence that will help create exposure in community peace-building efforts and conflict resolution.
The participants are to be known as peaceniks and will be chosen on the basis of their passion for community development and peace advocacy. Individuals who are survivors of violence will be given preference over others. For the success of this programme, we shall engage with breed mediators who share the ideology of peaceful human coexistence.
Moreover, Soulace Peace Academy will establish collaboration with existing schools and colleges to start exposing the students to the culture of peace and non-violence. Extracurricular activities such as Peace Festivals and Awards that recognizes nonviolence and peer mediation among youths will be introduced to promote the importance of peace and also to motivate the children to adopt conflict resolution as a conscious practice in their daily lives. The schools where these programs are to be established would be called Olive Schools.
Our peaceniks will also be exposed to One-Month Internship/Community Service in any of the olive schools. This internship will help to sharpen the participants’ skills and prepare them as better citizens for the society. One of the immediate outcome of this training is to increase participation in peace building efforts among different communities across Nigeria. It is expected that at the end of this training which will last for three months, participants will become the peace building ambassadors in different parts of Nigeria.
This project will also provide a platform for the victims of armed conflicts and those who were internally displaced to narrate their experiences. To this effect, we intend to create multimedia platforms called Podium and Coexist. Podium will run as a weekly media talk show where war affected persons will be invited to tell their stories. A monthly conference called coexist will be held to revive community leaders’ participation in peace building. Each edition will be marked with the signing of the peace register as an evidence of the leaders’ long-term commitment to maintain peace in their community. These platforms will also provide a learning opportunity for our peaceniks in public speaking and storytelling.
Besides, this platform will also serve as a medium for soulace Antiwar Campaign which would explore Storytelling, Photo voice, Performing Art as tools for peace advocacy and conflict prevention in Nigeria. More importantly, these platforms will be used as medium to strengthen women inclusion and participation in post conflict restorative programs.
Similarly, like Peregun, Soulace Peace Academy will explore community development initiative called “Odundun”. “Odundun is a succulent plant that has high medicinal, ecstatic, cultural value across Africa. it grows with very little water. In traditional Yoruba Culture, Odundun is believed to be a spirit plant that helps prosperity and peace.” This program is designed to advocate for the inclusion of war widows and orphans in social welfare schemes. They will be provided opportunities to learn and acquire skills for sustainable livelihoods. For a start, I will organize one-year apprenticeship along with a six months vocational skill training program that would run concurrently. At the end of this training, it is expected that 24 widows would have gained valuable life and vocational skills in catering, interior fabric design and decoration, housekeeping services, making, livestock farming. This will enable them to live an independent and self-sustained life. We also would organize Soulace Survival Network – a community that will provide mentoring, networking and self-support initiatives for war orphans and widows across Nigeria.
To crown it all, Soulace Africa will strive for the establishment of a peace commission and advocate for the introduction of peace education into the school curriculum in Nigeria. The peace commission will be in charge of fostering true reconciliation efforts and resolving all communal conflicts and act as a neutral mediator in interstate disputes. Everyone is a victim. I am of the opinion that my country could cut down on military spending and redirect the vital resources for better social and economic development of the country.
Being a startup, this $1000 grant investment will make my dream of conducting the inaugural capacity building workshop for 20 young veterans war widows in Nigeria this April come to reality. The transformation I want to see is a wretched widow become a survivor and advocate of a peaceful and inclusive society.
Corrina Thurston - Wildlife Artist
My name is Corrina Thurston and I’m a wildlife artist working out of Vermont, USA. As an artist I’m also an entrepreneur, creating, marketing, and selling my artwork and products based on my artwork for a living.
I’m also chronically ill. Actually, my illness is how I discovered artwork in the first place. I was mostly bedridden for a number of years and could hardly do anything due to my extreme migraines and fatigue. Two years into that misery, I turned to drawing as a constructive outlet and taught myself to draw from my bed.
Turns out I had a hidden talent, and from there I’ve begun turning my artwork into a profession.
Starting any business isn’t easy. Starting an art business, where there is a huge amount of competition and a lot of people do it just as a hobby (and therefore undersell themselves making it more difficult to have people pay you well for your time), is even more difficult. And trying to start an art business when you’re chronically ill… is a monstrous challenge.
I’m painfully aware there are a lot of great artists out there who will never make a living from their work because no one will ever see it. You can’t buy what you can’t see or don’t know exists, so I need funding to help make my artwork and business more visible.
There was a study that calculated it takes about seven times for someone to see your name or your work before they’ll remember you. Seven times! So the articles about me in the media and my exhibits regionally are great, but it will take more than that to have people remember me when they’re looking for work like mine.
I need funding to help with advertising and marketing efforts. There’s a course on copywriting, grant writing, and other forms of marketing writing that is $500 that I would love to take. Marketing is where I believe a business will likely succeed or fail, and I need to learn as much as I can.
Then I want to take that gained knowledge and put it to use with a strategic marketing campaign that utilizes the other $500. I need to build my audience, get my name and brand out there again and again, and learn the best copywriting in order to gain conversions from that audience. My website is starting to pick up more traffic just with the little bit I’ve learned reading articles, but this comprehensive course could be what I need to bring it all to the next level.
The more I can learn, the better I’ll be, and the more people I can reach. I already have a quality product, now I just need to get it in front of more people, and more of the people who are right for my specific target audience.
This $1000 would help with that.
I have no plan to be a “starving artist,” as seems to be expected of artists today. Due to that sad expectation, I also plan to use the information I gain to help other artists accomplish the same thing by providing e-books and tutorials, business consulting, and speeches.
Check out my website to learn more about me or to view my wildlife artwork: www.corrinathurston.com
Thanks so much for your time, Sam. And for your generosity! I hope you’re having a good beginning to the year so far.
Crystal Edwards - Southern Girl Creative
I am applying to the No-Strings Attached Entrepreneur Grant presented by SamPriestley.com.
My name is Crystal Edwards and I own Southern Girl Creative. We are a boutique design and media production company based in Houston, Texas. Our goal is to be the creative secret weapon too small and large business in entertainment, beauty, and fashion.
Where’d this come from? In high school, I was apart of a service organization and we used to put on various events to fundraise. Nonetheless, hiring a graphic designer was out of the budget so I learned how to design cool posters needed to get the students to attend. In college, I experimented with the new craze – website design. I used my own sites and social media platforms of yesteryear to showcase my work but it never dawned on me to turn these talents into a cool service business until years later.
I found myself very unhappy in my 9 – 5 job as I was juggling being a songwriter at night. I was working at my dream company but I couldn’t shake the feeling of being ‘boxed in’. I wanted more time to build my own dream but life requires money to pay for things. I didn’t know how to make the switch from employee to being your own boss.
It wasn’t until my neighbor was complaining about the service she was getting from her graphic designer. She was the owner of a successful music pr firm and was behind on a design project for a pop group signed to a major label. I told her I could knock it out for her and get creative in my kitchen on my laptop. After a few jokes and refill on our pink girlie wine, I turned my laptop around just to see her almost drop her glass. “Girl why didn’t you tell me you knew how to do this?!?”
I reply “You never were in an emergency like this in my house (laughs). Why?”
She says. “I am now your first client cause I’m going to pay you for this. I’m going to teach you how to be a boss cause this is really good”. She sent it over to the artists, they approved and it was released. My first paid design project was an album cover for a recording group. That’s when the wheels started to turn. I calculated if I can do this x amount of times a month I can work from home on my dream and still be able to eat. I made the leap and haven’t looked back.
From there I have been on quite the journey from employee to a freelancer on the way to highly successful entrepreneur in setting the platform for Southern Girl Creative. I personally know the frustration some companies have with the “creative stuff” so I designed the company to be an extension of myself and the problems I solved as a freelancer. Instead of employees, insurance costs, equipment and the such, our clients hire us to be that design + marketing team gap in their bridge to success at a competitive rate topped with sweet southern hospitality. Our services include but not limited to:
Graphic Design • Web Design & Maintenance • Database Management • Brand Development and Identity • Event Production • Commercial Production
In addition to our creative services, we also offer “Girl! CEO” workshops and crash courses on WordPress, Photoshop, business certifications, grants and much more to budding female entrepreneurs. Basically, all the stuff I wish was around when I was learning how to do this. This summer we also plan on our first coding camp to high school teens interested in learning a platform that will benefit their skills and experience in the future. We also employee students at our local colleges and media-tech schools as Junior Associates so they can gain the experience and knowledge in live design + media production projects at 6-month intervals.
How would I use $1,000 you are offering?
Easily. It would be used to replace all the marketing materials such as business cards, promotional flyers, office supplies, promotional banner and team tees for I lost everything during Hurricane Harvey. I used my apartment as the home base and was close to opening our first creative studio & storefront so I stored the supplies and equipment there to save costs and keep overhead low. Then the storm happened and it changed my life.
I’ve just accepted there is more to the story than what I planned and this has to be the cool part. It was devastating to experience but I am grateful to be alive. All the original plans, notes, first project samples, memories and such are gone. Nonetheless, setbacks make great comebacks so I am more determined than ever to get Southern Girl Creative opened and off the ground to fly high and become a must-have service for new business owners and established companies.
I appreciate you taking the time to read my these words in consideration for the grant. I am happy to answer any questions you may have. Thanks again for the opportunity and enjoy your day, creatively!
Cole Scanlon - Fair Opportunity Project
In American public schools, factors such as geography and socioeconomic status are unjustly determinative of who attends college and who doesn’t. The 56 million students that attend a U.S. K-12 school each year can have drastically different learning opportunities and educational resources. For instance, per-pupil spending across public school districts ranges from $9,794 in Chicago Ridge School District to $28,639 in Rondout District 72 (adjusted for regional cost differences) . The diversity of educational experiences culminates in grade 12, as students consider what to do after high school. Even though college is not the only pathway for greater opportunities, attending college can serve as an economic equalizer for disadvantaged students.
During the confusing and even overwhelming process of applying to college, access to information and resources also varies greatly. The average student-to-counselor ratio in a U.S. public high school is around 491-to-1, which presents some inherent constraints on the quality of advising individual students get in deciding what to do after high school and, if college is their desired path, how to navigate the process. For those that can afford it, college consultants often provide personalized assistance for thousands of dollars. Approximately one-third of college applicants pay for such services. However, expensive college consultants are not an option for a substantial number of students. As a low-income student attending an urban public school with one counselor for nine-hundred students in my senior class, I was disturbed that chance occurrences – like finding the right mentor – determined which students had the information and resources they needed to apply for college and financial aid.
The objective of my service project, FairOpportunityProject.org, is to improve the likelihood that young people in underperforming schools have an equal opportunity to attend college. I co-founded the edtech nonprofit in April 2016 and, since, have worked with college students, high school counselors, and advisors to write a free 70-page college admissions and financial aid guide including successful college essays, free online videos, scholarship websites, and much more. The guide was sent to 64,000 public schools, translated into Spanish and Mandarin, awarded Forbes 30 under 30 ,and featured in Thrillest ,the Harvard Gazette ,and the Harvard Ed Magazine . Most importantly, website traffic and user stories have supported the substantial need for our student-facing resources. Approximately 25,000 users have visited our website over the past two months and, besides being hosted on 49 other websites and downloaded in 35 countries, our ‘FOP’s Guide’ has been printed and distributed by superintendents across the country.
However, my experience leading Fair Opportunity Project has also made me recognize that much more can be done to address persistent educational inequities. It’s been a challenge to make our resources more accessible to students. Translating our guide into multiple languages was a step in the right direction, but I also realize that the text-rich guide can be overwhelming for many who might prefer more diagrams and videos. The most pressing problem at the moment is actually financial. Since its founding, Fair Opportunity Project has been operating off of a one-time $2000 grant from Harvard, our own out-of-pocket contributions, and hundreds of volunteer hours. Our financial circumstance constrains our ability to best serve students.
I believe that my work, through Fair Opportunity Project and through my other initiatives, exemplifies my deep passion for public service. I’m energized at the prospect of growing the impact of Fair Opportunity Project and, in doing so, mitigating a problem that is both pressing and personally meaningful. As the son of a high school English teacher and the grandson of a high school counselor, I’ve spent considerable time thinking about education and its role as a ‘great equalizer’ in our society. I’m proud of my contributions thus far and have been deeply touched by hundreds of stories I’ve received from counselors, parents, and students. For instance, I recently received an email from a counselor in Idaho Falls who thanked our team for “not only being aware of a very relevant issue, but taking the time to do something meaningful to work toward a solution.” Through the Arbing Co. Entrepreneurship Scholarship, I’d be empowered to strengthen my current efforts and deepen my passion for service. In particular, the scholarship would enable me to afford graduate school at Oxford University starting in October 2018. At Oxford, studying for a MSc in Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation, I’d learn analytical ways to consider problems in education. I’d seek mentorship from Professor Erzsébet Bukodi, an expert on educational equity policies , and cherish a discussion-based pedagogical style I came to appreciate during a summer spent at Cambridge University. I plan to influence education-related policies in K-12 education as a social entrepreneur and policy maker, combining private and public sector efforts to increase educational equity.
Rosie Eachus - Merchio
Shukri Lawrence - Trashy Clothing
Ashlynd Tuffentsamer - Personal Stylist
Kent Broadbent - Film Producer
Have you ever been gripped with an idea?
An idea that dances around from the front of your mind to the back and everywhere in between?
You lay in bed staring at the ceiling but seeing something or somewhere else entirely listening to silence but hearing music that creates a mood to fit the story that only you know because it is in your head.
I have been dreaming of the films I will make since my toes had feet of clearance from the end of the bed where I would lay awake dreaming.
I’ve gotten to make some of them.
As a sophomore in high school I began learning visual effects. Initially it was for the entertainment value, interestingly enough 16 year olds find watching things blow up entertaining and entertained I was.
My older brother and I created a public service announcement video about suicide. It competed and won first place in the Utah High School State Film Festival. I hadn’t realized the power in what we had made until the end of its screening when the entire auditoriums silence hit me. I realized I could do this. I could tell stories that could impact people.
The final event of the night was the music video competition. The winning music video was something that I couldn’t believe had been made by high schoolers. No aspect of its production was a distraction. In my mind it was flawless. The story it told was compelling, it was personal and most of all it was moving. It was to a song called “Montana.”
I realized that while I had the potential to make great films I had a very long way to go.
The rain pounded on the window the entire silent bus ride home. A tipping point had been reached. If I was to create the images in my head, I would have to dedicate myself to this art. And that’s what I did. I had been gripped by an idea. I wanted to tell stories that moved people. In a way no one had seen before.
I knew it would take work and dedication for my skills to catch up to my imagination.
The following summer my older brother and I saved and custom built an editing computer which I then upgraded with hundreds of dollars of visual effects software. I spent hours every day reading and watching tutorials brainstorming and practicing. I made short films to try different techniques and storytelling devices. I learned about camera science and film theory.
My senior year I spent the entire school year combining everything I had learned to create a story that had never been told. I made a showcase music video to the song All I Want by Kodaline. It can still be seen on my website broadkent.com under the personal projects screen. Three weeks before entries were due they changed a rule stating that the music videos now needed some sort of performance not just a story. I had spent too long on it to reshoot or replan my work so I submitted my film regardless. The music video is the story of a girl whose parents separate, she then goes to the mountains angry with them, herself, fate and God. There she finds peace in a way that you might not expect. Much of the film is symbolic. I was selected as the youngest break out presenter that year in the festival where I presented on how I had taught myself filmmaking and visual effects. I placed for other videos I had entered and my music video placed third because of the rule change.
Since then I have worked for various companies producing and editing videos. I spent two years as a volunteer religious missionary in Norway where I learned to speak Norwegian and leadership skills.
Currently I work as an editor for Brigham Young University’s communications department. I study there and will soon declare a business major.
There is a tragedy in the art of filmmaking. It can be demonstrated by telling a little about one of the student that made “Montana” my sophomore year. He now works producing corporate videos and promotional material and makes good money. I worked at a camera store for six months and met him. He told me he wished he had the time to make his own films. The tragedy is that the talented, self driven filmmakers more often than not get snatched up by a good paying job and are then unable to create their dreams.
That is one of my greatest fears.
I want to make my own production company. To make the films I see in my head.
Right now I’m paying for college and food, bills and other expenses.
Funding dreams has been by necessity slowed but I still spend any extra money on equipment to make my dreams.
The current computer I use to edit is the one my brother and I built six years ago and its age shows in its performance. I haven’t been able to practice my visual effects at an advanced level for over a year.
I am working and saving to build a new computer but the going is slow at best which is why I am applying for anything that can help me towards that goal.
The $1000 from this grant would be used towards purchasing the necessary parts.
This would give me the tools to continue my progression as an artist.
While my toes now reach the end of the bed that I lay awake I still dream.
It’s an idea I’ve been gripped with.
Manita Vivatsethachai - PakDone Go!
Project Name: PakDone Go!
Founder Name: Manita Vivatsethachai
Location of the project: Bangkok, Thailand
The Beginning: In my college time, I chose to do biomedical science in the undergraduate in the hope to find cure for the incurables only to realize that the secret to good health is through good food, good mind and good environment. The desire to live a simple and self-sustainable lifestyle gave me the courage to quit my career as a project manager in fast moving consumer goods business to pursue the dream in 2015. Along the journey to be self-reliant, I discerned the gravity of waste issue through the needs to improve soil quality in my small urban farm by composting from organic waste in my community. I initiated and founded PakDone the organization that promotes circular economy through creative waste management system. Pak in Thai means vegetable, since the idea of managing organic waste came from the needs to grow my own food in a self-reliant way. While together PakDone means pushing forward.
PakDone started with collecting 30 kg of organic waste each day from restaurants and fruit stall nearby to turn them into compost for my vegetables. Over a period of 5 months, I managed to handle and save over 5 ton of waste while produced about 1 ton of compost. Until February 2017, I fell down the stairs, hurt my back and could no longer collect waste. It was at this point that I realized the flaw in my approach to waste issue; people’s mindset did not change and the impact was limited to one person. Together with two co-founders, I redirected the approach to convince people to manage their own organic waste at the source by providing tools and trainings, reaching almost a hundred of households who have been convinced to compost their own organic waste.
Problem: Nature has no waste. Development and urbanization have added complexity and quantity to the way we trash and the way we manage waste. Everyday 10,000 tons of waste is generated in Bangkok and the government spends over 300,000 US dollars on just getting rid of waste out of sight. The amount of resources and money used on waste disposal could feed over 60,000 lives each day, let alone the enormous value of waste being wasted.
Current disposal practice is cheap and convenient for Bangkokians. There is no requirement to segregate waste. While the government also absorbs the actual cost of disposal. Only 35% of Landfills are properly regulated. Together with incinerators they are the main means of waste disposal in Thailand which lower the quality of the livelihood of the people living nearby and contaminate the environment. Around the world it is estimated that 15 million people are living around the dumpsite. Although they are directly affected, many earn their livelihood scavenging for waste while the majority of people still remain ignorant of the true gravity of waste impact.
Solution: The waste management system that can offer an alternative to convenient, easy and cheap way of handling waste while also allow waste to transform into valuable resource will save the environment and change the perception of people towards waste. PakDone aims to create a mobile game application to attracts people to managing waste by offering rewards and fun experience through collective efforts of the community. People who produce waste but are not able to process waste can segregate and put on a request for pick-up through the application. While those that commute regularly to the waste sites area can offer the transport of waste. While schools can be waste drop-off points where students will be sensitized on the issue of waste while learning how to properly manage and recover the value of waste. All parties that take part in managing waste will earn points which can be collected for reward redemption.
PakDone targets students of the age 12 and above to learn about waste segregation and composting. After the training, student can take turn to manage the site once a week after school and before school starts, and also student should plan to set up a training for other interested students. The students will also earn points through doing the work. While PakDone team will collect the compost and the recyclables in the first phase once every fortnight. The next phase would be to introduce the use of compost and recyclables in school in the form of school garden where waste can be converted to resource creating true sustainable cycle.
$400 will be used to develop an application prototype on Android platform
$200 will be used to conduct training for 10 students in one selected school for pilot the system
$200 will be used to get students set up waste club in school where they can manage and work on setting up waste hub
$200 will be used for promotional activities such as small competition for invention from waste materials or ideas about waste management
Thank you for the opportunity. The fund will be part of the movement that contribute to the cleaner and greener world.
Jacob Dazzeo - Dazzeo Management
The Arbing Grant will provide the funding for my business, Dazzeo Management, to fund the production of a song that will be released on an affiliate of Sony Music called Reload Records this Spring.
To start, I would like to highlight why my company will be revolutionary in the music industry by telling you a personal story.
During my college years I managed a collection of musicians about my age by making connections with local promoters to get them gigs. I enjoyed doing this because I like helping people follow their dreams. Out of the five artists I managed, one decided to take music seriously after college and I agreed to be his manager. It was then that I decided I would do whatever it takes to make NARNZ a household name.
Fast forward to March 2017 and I’m filing papers to start Dazzeo Management LLC and officially sign my first artist…NARNZ. The road from March 2017 to now has been a wild ride. We have opened for Too $hort, TOKiMONSTA, Getter and RL Grime to name a few. We are set to release three songs in the first half of 2018 on major record labels. Things are finally taking off (knock on wood).
As with many small businesses, the cost has outweighed the profit in my first year. The music industry is unforgiving but I hope to make it more accessible for lesser known but extremely talented musicians by signing more artists once I am able to afford leaving my day job. By investing my time and energy (and money) into NARNZ I hope to open up the market to myself so that I can open up the market to others. Ideally, Dazzeo Management will someday employ people who want to get in the music industry but would not have the means to without the doors I have already opened for them.
With that said, our next track is set to be released in Spring. The cost to produce this song will be approximately $1,500 so this $1,000 grant would be very helpful.
Thank you for taking the time to read my essay. I hope you are able to help me achieve my dream. I look forward to sharing this song with you as soon as it is released!
Please check out NARNZ here: https://soundcloud.com/thisisnarnz.