The Good Cards: transforming businesses for the better

Dorota SobieszcukTake a game and mix it with the passion and the commitment to creating a better world: the result you get is The Good Cards, a real life game for individuals and organizations to achieve collective goals, co-founded by Dorota Sobieszczuk, an AIESEC Alumna, entrepreneur and change maker. The project is currently raising funds on Kickstarter and it has already reached the goal and started the overfunding phase ten days before the campaign ends. I had the the opportunity to interview her for the AIESEC Alumni blog. Enjoy the reading.

AAE: Dorota, what’s your AIESEC experience ?  What do you do in your life?  

D: I’m an AIESEC Alumna and since I finished my over 3 years AIESEC career I’m continually following the path of the change maker.  My AIESEC experience was all about the working with Local Committee Poznan in Poland. Mainly working in the incoming exchange area. Firstly I was a team member of the project than I become project manager, executive board member and local president. In the meantime I was engaged and helping out with notional working groups. Recently,  I co-founded The Good Cards – a real life game for individuals and organizations to achieve collective goals that can help create a better world. I’m living in Bali, the wonderful island where I can connect with like-minded people and grow spiritually and in the business wise way everyday. My mission is to help transform businesses into more socially responsible entities and  empower women to love themselves fully and become more courageous with persuading their business aspiration.

A: What about your project?  

D: Well, I do believe in the individual power of the collective action. How wonderful it would be to be a part of the community that creates habits to become more kind to each other and the planet. And we can all measure it and don’t feel anymore that “my small action doesn’t matter”. When we really see what’s happening in the world it’s obvious that people want change, but not necessarily now what they could potentially do to change anything.So The Good Cards helps you to take action to make a change and motivates you to repeat it by providing fun and gamified experience of leveling up in your good deeds action.

The Core idea comes from the Pay It Forward movement which emphasizes repaying the good deed to the others. The main attribute of the game is “The Good Card”: this is a physical card that gives a user access to the mobile app. He has to scan the QR code on the back of the card in order to find the set of missions for doing something good e.g for his/her family and friends, for strangers and more.

To accomplish the mission the user has to commence an action, share his experience and pass the card to the next recipient.

The next person that gets the card through the good deed has to go on a mission in order to pay it forward. As the card travels from hand to hand, the initial user is able to track it, and see the chain reaction: various stories are shared with the whole community of players from all over the world. The process of how to play the game could be found here:

The Good Cards

There are a lot of changes in front of us, before we find the way the really engage millions into doing good. But nothing is impossible.

AAE: What about impacting the business world?

D: Due to my personal experience I’m very passionate about transforming the business world as well, that’s why we want to closely cooperate with business around The Good Cards. That’s why I see The Good Cards as a way to transform businesses for the better, according to the philosophy “do good and do well” at the same time.  The core idea of the game is very simple: people are sent on a “good deed mission” and they share the story in the mobile app. The app is connected with The Good Card – a biodegradable plastic card that users pass on to other people, challenging them to keep the good going. On the app, everybody can track how the card travels, learn what other people are doing, and see the current location of the card on the global map.

The app can be customized for use by brands, and adjusted to their vision of their social impact. It can be used as a tool to do more good, collectively, with all of their employees and customers. I would underline three main aspects of the magic of The Good Cards for businesses:

  • Making their internal culture more kind and loving
  • Co-creating social impact with their customers
  • Increasing their bottom line

It all starts with the leader. Imagine a CEO doing good by challenging employees to do something good as well – and later customers are also challenged to do something good and everybody contributes to the brand’s collective goals that are aligned with their CSR strategy.

We’re entering an era where communication of a company’s impact is not enough. Today, people want to be part of the brand experience and social impact is becoming a more and more important factor for customers when it comes to choosing the brands they stick to. What is personally important for me is that brands have the power to shape their customers’ behaviour and create global trends. Imagine what would happen if doing good deeds became very trendy and customers were engaged in playing The Good Game through their favourite brands – and then they got rewarded for it.

At the end it’s all about our Good Game Prime philosophy, which is win-win-win  for the world, customers and companies

AAE: Why did you decide to launch a crowdfunding campaign?

D: We decided to launch this project on the community platform because the B2C side of the The Good Cards is purely based on the community building mechanism and crowdfunding is a great test.  Nevertheless we have reached our funding goal we need much more support to really put this project on the new level and be able to fully focus on its development, that’s why the support and feedback from the AIESEC network would be great. Thank  you all in advance.

Find out more about The Good Cards at thegoodcards.com

 

 

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$ 1 billion in change

Have you ever heard about crowdfunding? Crowdfunding is commonly defined as the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people.
In this article we will focus on the lending-based model, known also as microfinance, and especially on the Kiva platform.

Kiva was founded in 2005 by a group of passionate people aiming to change the world by alleviating poverty. It is based in San Francisco (California, United States) and has offices in Nairobi (Kenya).

How does it work?

Joining kiva is free and each member could loan a variable amount, starting from $ 25,00, to a choosen project. You can browse all the project posted on Kive and decide which one you want to lend to.

Two kind of loans are available: partner loans (in 80 countries) and direct loans (US only).
Most partner loans do involve borrowers paying the Field Partner some interest, because of the high cost of providing small loans in rural areas and developing markets.

When the loan is repayed (the borrower repays the field partner and the filed partner reapys kiva, then kiva repays you) you will receive your money back to your kiva account and you can decide to lend it to another project or to transfer the amount to your paypal account.

AIESEC is part of the change

AIESEC Alumni and members have created a lending team on Kiva and we encourage you to join us.
Since its creation on the 7th of September 2008 the AIESEC lending team counts 215 members, % 219,375.00 loaned, 8,333 loans ans 38.8 loans per member. The total amount loaned through kiva is $ 999,419,625… on the way to the  1 billion milestone.

We want increase our impact and help kiva reach $ 1 billion in change. Join the AIESEC team on Kiva today, be a part of that change!

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SheSupp – a Swedish initiative to promote female entrepreneurship

We are pleased to present you the story of another AIESEC Alumni, Jean Gombya from Sweden. We would like to thank Jean for sharing with us her story and most recent project.

AAE: Hi Jean, tell us a bit about yourself.

Jean: My name is Jean and I am your everyday 27 year old girl with a passion for helping other young women to achieve their goals. My background is in business, accounting and finance and I have throughout my career helped several companies with finance and accounting. My aim is now to use this knowledge and experience to equip young women for success in their businesses. I am a woman of faith and spend most of my free time with friends, family and in church. I love to travel and dance, well travel to warm countries (above 25 Celsius degrees that is!) J

AAE: What motivates you?

Jean: I think that my motivation partly comes from my desire to make a difference in the world as cliché as it may sound. My faith teaches me to give and help others and I also find joy in doing that which motivates me to keep going with SheSupp even through the hard times. Secondly I am a person who needs my freedom, I love to travel, I love to spend time with friends and family and would love to have the freedom to do that as and when I desire. So I guess the freedom for more quality time with friends and family is a motivator.

AAE: How and when did SheSupp start? Or I should I ask what inspired you to start SheSupp? How did you spot the market need for such an organization?

Jean: I have had the SheSupp idea in mind for quite some time. A few seeds were sown after having worked as a client manager towards small to medium sized companies for a large financial services company. By doing so I had the chance to speak to business owners and really hear their passion about their business and also the pros and cons about it. From there I developed an interest in using my knowledge to help them. I have always had a passion for empowering and encouraging young women to pursue their potential which has then led me to focus on that group.  But it was only after a failed business attempt and when I realized that I really wanted the freedom to run my own business and do what I am passionate about that I really got the ball rolling in 2016. During that time I also realized how lonely it was to be a business owner and found that there were other women that felt the same. So it all started with a Facebook group that grew to about 400+ members and in late 2016 I decided to do a complete rebranding and changed to doing events and workshops to help the women in a more practical way.

AAE: What does the company do? What do you want to achieve with it?

Jean: SheSupp is a business network with a dream of inspiring and encouraging young women to start and grow their own businesses. We hope to create a strong global network of young female entrepreneurs to facilitate their growth and impact in the world.

The young women of SheSupp are able to find other female business partners globally and locally to make it easier for them to start and run their own businesses and grow domestically as well as internationally. SheSupp believes that if She can Support Her, there is a greater chance of all of us succeeding together, thus using the power of sharing to teach and learn from each other.

AAE: Tell us about the team you are working with.

Jean: I am currently a solopreneur. I did in fact have a fantastic girl working with me and who handled all the marketing and digital stuff, but due to her having to relocate I am back to being on my own. I have come to find that it is a good place for me to be in as I am still figuring out the success factors for SheSupp. By being a solopreneur I am able to make my own decisions and quickly without consulting anyone or involving my team, this way I can also adapt to chances and be more flexible with who I choose to collaborate with etc. In the future as SheSupp grows I do hope to hire a full team. However right now I am in fact looking for a tech-savvy person to help build an app!

AAE: What projects have you been involved with so far?

Jean: In my entire career I have been a part of several different projects from helping to set up a subsidiary in Sweden for a financial services company to volunteering in Uganda with AIESEC to help develop the organisation in Uganda. By working on these projects I found myself incredibly excited about entrepreneurship and also passionate about young women’s development. This in turn led to the start of SheSupp, so I am now building my dream with SheSupp and which in itself is just a big long-term project with several micro projects, it couldn’t be more fun!

AAE: What’s the most important thing you’re working on right now and how are you making it happen?

Jean: Right now in life my focus is on building SheSupp and trying to build a business that will help thousands of young women to start to pursue their dreams and dare to start their own businesses. I am working on a super exciting program that I am hoping to offer women in Sweden to be a part of, in order to help them start and/or build their businesses for success. It is a tough journey but incredibly fun. I am working around the clock, networking and ensuring that my name and SheSupp is visible to my target group and companies with the same vision or willing to invest in young women.

AAE: What are the plans for the future (yours and/or the company’s)?

Jean: My vision for the future is to grow SheSupp internationally. My hope is that SheSupp will be able to contribute to minimizing the gender gap amongst business leaders in the business world by facilitating for more women to have the courage and the opportunity to build their own business and if these businesses go well it will result in more women being in leading positions in leading companies. Kind of like a domino effect.

AAE: How can people interested get involved?

Jean: Well I should say to stay updated with what is happening on Facebook and Instagram as we have monthly events and will shortly be launching digital content to help our members’ progress with their businesses. So be it you are in Sweden or not you can still become a SheSupp member just go to the website www.shesupp.com and sign up and you will get newsletters and exclusive content.

Secondly if your company or you know of a company that would like to get involved in this kind of initiative feel free to send me an email on . Or if you know there is an interest for such an initiative in your country / town please do contact us as I am looking to expand and looking to suitable cities.

AAE: How can the Alumni community help?

Jean: I would love if the alumni network could connect me with powerful AIESEC alumni that could speak at events or hold workshops or even just become members or sponsors. I am currently looking for partners, and people/companies to collaborate with. So any recommendations are welcome. And of course spreading the word about SheSupp and the work we are doing for young women!

If you have any questions regarding this project, or any other AIESEC Alumni projects, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Show us your talent as Social Media Manager!

AIESEC Alumni Europe is looking for a social media manager to join our team and manage our channels (Alumnet, Facebook, LinkedIn and website).

As the key holder for our social media, you’ll be in charge of:

  • Updating social networks with engaging content, status updates, pictures, videos, and comments;
  • Planning, publishing, and promoting editorial posts;
  • Preparing a social media editorial calendar;
  • Engaging with alumni through our channels of communication;
  • Identifying trends and building new social media strategies;
  • Creating and promoting social media content in line with the AIESEC Alumni brand and AIESEC values;

You’ll get to engage and interact with the European network of alumni, actively seek thought-leaders, and help develop genuine relations between alumni from different countries connected through the same values. You’ll get to exercise your creativity muscle as well as have access to a big “drawing board” to put your own ideas to test. You’ll get a lot of virtual thump ups for riding the cool wave of AAE social media.

The position is set to start on 15th March 2017 and will run till June 2018. If you wish, it can be extended.

Found yourself? Email  by 10th March 2017 and let us know why this is your position.

 

Registration open for European Regional Alumni Congress!

The European Regional Alumni Congress is the annual congress bringing together alumni from all over Europe to meet, network and discuss.

The 2017 ERAC will take place at Hotel Roccamare in Italy from 18th to 21st May 2017. Parallel, AIESEC Alumni Italy will host WOWcheWeekend from 19th to 21st May, so you will have vast opportunity to meet Italian alumni, enjoy delicious Italian food and learn more about another National Alumni Association.

You can register now for ERAC with your Credit Card or by Bank transfer. All information about the congress, you will find here.

The fee includes accommodation, meals, conference fee and parties inside the hotel.

Early bird prices run till 21st February 2017.

Connecting communities through social entrepreneurship

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As AIESEC Alumni, we often search for ways to connect with our communities and continue the work we started as members.  We will try to showcase the options you have as Alumni to be involved within your local and global communities.

Kiva is one such example. Kiva is an international non-profit organization, which was established in 2005 and is based in San Francisco (USA). Its mission is to alleviate poverty by creating a platform where people can connect through lending. The organization allows people to lend money to individuals or projects of their choice, for sums as small as $25. We got in touch with AIESEC Alumni, Lars Herrig to find out more about this organization.

AAE: Tell us a bit about yourself.

LG: I was an active member of the AIESEC local committee Bochum and with an active role for AIESEC MC Germany during 1985-1988. My last position at the LC-level was LCP and at MC Germany as “Beirat”, which was something similar to an advisory board.

AAE: What is Kiva and how did you get involved with it?

LG: Kiva is an American NGO, which offers the option to lend money from private persons as a micro credit to entrepreneurs in more than 80 countries of the world, using local partner organizations. You can lend money in sectors like agriculture, food, retail, service, education and much more. I was invited by other AIESEC Alumni team captains like Adeep and Wolfgang. I want to improve the impact of AIESEC in Kiva, and because of this I was appointed to be the fourth team captain of AIESEC @ Kiva.

AAE: How long have you been involved with Kiva?

LG: I have been a member of the team for a year now. Other members in our teams have been active in Kiva for 8 or 10 years already.

AAE: Who is on the AIESEC Alumni Kiva team?

LG: There are 183 AIESEC members or AIESEC Alumni active in the team. You can see all members using this link: //www.kiva.org/team/aiesec/members

AAE: What projects have you been involved with so far?

LG: //www.kiva.org/team/aiesec/impact I made 21 loans in 19 countries spread all over the world in education, construction, agriculture etc.

AAE: Which projects have stood out for you personally so far? Are there any specific projects you would like to showcase for our readers?

LG: I decided to invest in short term loans to be able to lend the repaid money as soon as possible to another project. I’m looking for sustainable projects in areas with difficult financial infrastructure.

AAE: Do you choose the microfinance projects as a team within Kiva or is it an individual choice of who to sponsor through the microloans?

LG: It is mostly an individual decision for which projects I’m supporting. Some members do not have enough time to search for interesting loans by themselves and they are interested in getting some recommendations. Sometimes there are special Kiva promotions. By following these promotions you’ll get some matching investments from other funds. This means that if I’m lending 25 USD to a project in agriculture, the fund will fund another 25 USD.

AAE: What would you say to someone who is thinking about joining the Kiva community? Why should they do it?

LG: We should support entrepreneurs all over the world, who want to be responsible for their own life and for their families by taking a loan, using it for an investment and paying the money of the loan back. In my opinion it is good to support people to do their own business in their home countries.

 

You can find out more about the organization here: //www.kiva.org/about. The Kiva AIESEC Alumni team of 187 members is currently supporting a total of 844 projects. Since its start the team has manged to fund 7894 loans and is actively involved in the organization. Below you can see a break down of the project sectors currently being funded, as well as the regions of the projects in question.

Please join the AIESEC team on Kiva: //www.kiva.org/team/aiesec

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If you know of projects or initiatives which AIESEC Alumni could get involved with, please let us know. Let’s take one step further together to achieve the AIESEC vision. #SustainableDevelopmentGoals

AAE Summer 2016 part II

 AAIC 2016 in Warsaw, Poland

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The second big conference of the summer was the AIESEC Alumni International Congress (AAIC) which took place between August 20th – 23rd in Warsaw, Poland. It brought together over 250 alumni from around the world. The main topic of the event was Entrepreneurship & Innovation. At the same time the 68th AIESEC’s International Congress and the 3rd IC in Poland was held.

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The Agenda included a traditional Polish Evening on Saturday night, the new AAI board elections on Sunday and the Gala Awards aimed at honoring the most meaningful achievements of AIESEC members during the previous year, on Monday evening. Our team was happy to take part in electing and welcoming in a new full AAI board.

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The Gala Awards consisted of three categories: Alumni to Alumni, Alumni to AIESEC and Alumni to the World. The Alumni to Alumni category was awarded to Lionel Simons and the Alumni to AIESEC category was awarded to Lofti El-Ghandouri. The Alumni to the World category was structured around the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and was awarded to all four nominated alumni for their achievements: Stefan Palari, Michael Teoh Su Lim, Edna Aguinaga and Gunter Pauli. Congratulations to all awardees and the remaining nominees who became members of the Alumni Hall of Fame!

 

AAE Summer 2016 part I

It has been a busy summer for our team. Over the next few posts we will give a short overview of the different conferences we took part in.

European Regional Alumni Congress 2016

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This year’s European Regional Alumni Congress (ERAC) took place between July 7th – 10th in Germany, in Castle Stahleck, near the Rhine River. Organized by AIESEC Alumni Germany (AAG), its Board members and OCP Carsten Tonn, the conference was set up together with the AAG flagship event: The Rhine Cruise. This event has enjoyed a large popularity since 2005, with AIESEC Alumni from all generations with their families joining together to meet in one of the most beautiful parts of Germany and discuss topics, interact and just enjoy the great atmosphere.

This year was no different. Along with workshops on topics ranging from NAA development to the Alumni Theme Programme, conference participants had the opportunity to meet and share ideas with AIESEC Alumni from all over Europe. Overall more than 180 participants took part in the event.

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The Rhine River and the entrance to Castle Stahleck

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First day of workshops

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The Rhine Cruise

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AIESEC through the generations

New collaboration agreements within AAE

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Our team is excited to announce that two new collaboration agreements were signed during AAIC 2016, in Poland during this past August. Christiane Stein, representing AIESEC Alumni Europe, signed collaboration agreements with AIESEC Alumni Poland, represented by Renata Maroszek, Adriana Bernecka Vel Dzika and Andrzej Voigt, and with AIESEC Alumni Italy, represented by Salvatore Lombardo (Toto).

As part of our collaboration agreements we plan to work on further promoting the AIESEC Alumni activities, sharing best practices and organizing conferences and events targeted for our alumni community.

We look forward to a fruitful collaboration!

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Adriana, Renata & Christiane

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Toto & Christiane

Alumni Theme Program launch

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Engage AIESEC Alumni in Fulfilling Humankind’s Potential

AIESEC Alumni Europe (AAE) launched the Alumni Theme Program (ATP) in 2016 as a regional program to increase AIESEC Alumni’s positive impact on the world. AIESEC Alumni share AIESEC’s values of empowering People for Peace and Fulfillment of Humankind’s Potential.

Central to the Alumni Theme Program is a theme to be declared for a time frame of two years. During this period ATP projects should relate to this theme. All projects are to be documented and results recorded. These documents are centrally collected and compiled by AAE. After two years this compilation is to be published and a new theme will be defined.

Defining a theme will involve many stakeholders with AIESEC Alumni and will take about six months. The new theme will be decided on and introduced at an AAE conference. National Alumni Associations will be asked to embrace the new theme and support local ATP projects.

Publishing the theme’s result will be done in the form which fits best the theme, results and targeted audience.

AAE’s ATP is modeled on the Global Theme Program (GTP) which was run by AIESEC in the 1990’s. AAE has asked and was granted AI’s permission to run an updated Alumni version.

AIESEC Alumni Europe is AIESEC Alumni’s European regional organisation. It supports National AIESEC Alumni Associations in Europe by fostering collaboration, organizing conferences and running regional programs.