We catch up with Medea Nocentini, Founder and CEO of Consult and Coach for a Cause, to discuss the recent C3 Starter Program event geared specifically towards budding entrepreneurs and integrating CSR initiatives…
Tell us a bit about the C3 Starter Program…
The C3 Starter Program is a full-day training program that introduces potential social entrepreneurs and volunteers to social enterprise concepts, as well as to the C3 philosophy. Participants benefit from workshops and networking sessions to clarify all the steps necessary to set up a social enterprise in early stages of development. For business professionals who are looking to hone their skills, the Starter Program provides them with basic consulting and coaching skills and offers a framework to support emerging entrepreneurs in an effective manner.
Where did the concept for the program originate?
We noticed that entrepreneurs in the region have a lot of great ideas and the good will needed to start an enterprise, but struggle when it comes to taking the business off the ground. For social entrepreneurs, it is even harder because they have to balance business performance and their social mission in order to get their message across in the right way. Moreover, many entrepreneurs cannot afford business coaching and consulting or professional financial and legal advice, especially in the early stages. So, C3 has invited experts from multiple professional areas to train entrepreneurs that are willing to embed a social or environmental mission into their business model.
Why do you feel it’s important for entrepreneurs and startups to be aware of ‘giving back’ to the community?
There’s a reason why companies invest more and more in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Nowadays, consumers expect enterprises to go beyond their core business and become contributors to their communities. Consumers are more informed and demanding, and with the social media tools they can ‘make or break’ a company performance in no time. So it’s important that from the beginning, entrepreneurs implement sustainability principles in their companies, typical of social enterprises, since it guarantees engagement with the target audience and empowers the consumer, giving credibility to the company in return. Moreover, there are strategies to align social and environmental missions with financial performance that have the potential to decrease costs such as marketing, production and employee retention.
What kind of social changes are you hoping to promote and encourage with this event?
At C3 we don’t select entrepreneurs depending on their area of social impact or suggest any specific mission. Nonetheless, we enjoy supporting those enterprises that have the potential to produce systemic change in our country and in the MENA region. Empowering businesses that promote solutions that help the environment, improve education and health, support the elderly or the underprivileged, promote local traditions or arts and culture, is a privilege for the C3 community of volunteers.
Would budding media entrepreneurs benefit from attending this event?
Any entrepreneur will benefit from the C3 Starter’s workshops because we focus on best practices and potential challenges that any entrepreneur can face in the startup phase. We also provide frameworks that will reinforce entrepreneurs’ confidence and self-awareness, as well as coaching tools that have proven to be very effective in the early stage of an enterprise. Of course we include dos and don’ts that are typical of businesses with a social / environmental mission, which we believe will help the long-term sustainability and reliance of any business.
What are your views on the idea that Dubai’s market has become saturated with entrepreneurs and startups?
I believe we are still far from the end! Small and medium enterprises contribute to about 30% of the UAE’s GDP – which is a very high number – but compared with Germany’s level of over 50% we still have a long way to go. Regionally, one of the main goals in terms of development is the creation of 75 million jobs by 2020 for a rising population of youth who face high unemployment rates. Given that very specific challenge, entrepreneurship in the Middle East plays an even more vital role and Expo 2020 in Dubai will be a great opportunity for the entrepreneurial community.
How does the C3 Starter Program help budding entrepreneurs avoid the many pitfalls that startups face in the region?
It introduces the participants to the dos and don’ts when launching an enterprise, offers the best practices to help develop and succeed and presents strategic business models. Participants get help to understand what their biggest assets are and to set up goals for their business. Besides that, being a part of Starter Program guarantees the access to the Accelerator Program – the next step of the C3 training process.
How can people secure a place at the Program?
Workshops are for a limited number of social entrepreneurs and volunteers so as to ensure training quality. To secure a place you need to subscribe through the link EVENTBRITE.