FIP 010: Why Human Connection is Good For Your Social Enterprise, with Devin Hibbard

In this episode, Devin Hibbard from Beads for Life talks to us about the skill of connecting with people and how it can be so good for you and your social enterprise. Devin started Beads for Life with the simple idea of improving the lives of a few bead makers in a slum in Uganda. Her story of how that has evolved is instrumental for any entrepreneur working hard to create social change. Beads for Life has morphed into a entrepreneurial skills training program called Street Business School, reaching over 40,000 women in Uganda, with sights on a far greater goal by supporting other organizations to adopt their methodologies.

Some of the things you’ll learn on this podcast include:

  • Benefits of not just listening to your customer but really engaging with them as a human being
  • How Bead for Life have effectively scaled a high touch model by working through other organizations, to create a network of Street Business School implementers
  • How they’ve thought about scaling their impact, which didn’t mean scaling their intervention, which was effectively a form of social franchising before the term was even coined
  • Why they call their implementing partners “Catalyst Partners” instead of “franchisees”, and how this thoughtful move underlined a deeper connection with them as a way of building trust and keeping them in the network
  • How they’ve been trying to embed personal connections within the replicable model, for example the catalyst partners are taught to introduce themselves in the community as “coach” instead of a teacher
  • How checklists are a key asset they’ve developed to help catalyst partners to implement the model as expected
  • How they’re exploring ways to measure confidence in women, which is a key indicator for impact
  • Some hiring tips, including observing how candidates relate with customers face to face, and they’ll look for initiative, creativity and intelligence more than a good resume
  • How they managed the change process internally, as they went from a social enterprise selling beads from Uganda to a global program sharing Street Business School as an approach to lift women out of poverty around the world
  • How sharing successes with the entire team is crucially important to getting the most out of all staff – such as collecting stories and distributing them to staff, putting maps on the walls, giving updates from the trainings as they happen, and initiating an internal communications campaign
  • Why it’s so important for managers to tell stories to help people feel connected to what they do

If there are organizations you know could use Street Business School as a tool, they are accepting applications in their next two Street Business School Immersion Workshops, August 20-26 and September 3-9, 2017 in Kampala, Uganda. Submit your application here.


Connect with Devin:

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