Scale it Up! Sustainability Training for Women Entrepreneurs Programme – the First Pilot Workshop!

Reed Evans tells us about her sustainability training workshop recently held at Impact Hub Stockholm

Our first pilot workshop for Scale it Up! Sustainability Training took place at Impact Hub Stockholm 21-23 March and it was a really great experience. Romina Busto and I were co-facilitators and we had 10 amazing women that participated in the workshop, each one bringing diverse ideas, businesses, and degrees of knowledge about sustainability with them. It was a great group to attend our first pilot training because of this diversity. The workshop has to be valuable to entrepreneurs at various stages of their journey to bring something new to the market. We had several women designing new products and two women designing new online services. We also had several women who were not yet sure of the business or career they were going to pursue. They did know that they wanted their career to be related to sustainability.

Friday evening began with self-reflection about leadership and entrepreneurship and also conversations that allowed us to get to know each other, the business´s they are starting, and have meaningful conversations about these topics. We looked at challenges, fears and the freedom that women seek in becoming an entrepreneur. We had a working dinner, continuing the conversation, then continued our work until 22:00.

We started bright and early on Saturday and Sunday with some centering exercises yoga, and breakfast. All of our food was sustainably-sourced and local, seasonal food was used as much as possible. Our coffee and tea were Fair-trade, of course. After breakfast, we started digging deeply into sustainability – the definition, benefits, opportunities, and challenges. We examined the business case, giving case studies of both international and local entrepreneurs. We had a Swedish guest entrepreneur speak about her current business – Jivan Wells and her company Belly Hug. Then, we started to get more into a method and framework for strategic planning towards sustainability and did a lot of hands-on group practice, analysis and presenting. We also touched on work-life balance, sustainable product innovation as well as communications for sustainability. We tried to focus on the participants´ businesses as much as possible. One of the challenges was that, while we wanted the chance for everyone to focus on their business, we also thought it was important to do a lot of work in groups, so we ended up focusing on just some of the businesses some times so that our entrepreneurs could brainstorm and collaborate together – a crucial part of sustainability planning and of entrepreneurship.

Here is what we learned as we move towards our 2nd pilot workshop of Scale it Up! at Impact Hub Vienna 16-18 May and the 3rd workshop at Impact Hub Munich 13-15 of June. We learned that we need to address in greater detail sustainability aspects for online services as well as provide even more examples of sustainability aspects for operations, business, investments, and product development. So, we will increase this component for the next two pilot workshops. And, based on the feedback we have received, we heard that the workshop provided great value to our participants as they continue their entrepreneurial endeavors, which was our goal! It was a great start to our pilot workshop series and we thank the Impact Hub Stockholm for hosting us and co-sponsoring the workshop.