UnRavel: Decentralizing Entrepreneurship & Fostering Innovation for All

Disentanglement Puzzle

Pitch

UnRavel is an inclusive digital platform for decentralized entrepreneurship with an online incubator and accelerator supporting young innovators globally to scale their initiatives with the support of a network of changemakers from the public, private, and third sectors.

Summary

Brilliant minds are spread all over the world, nonetheless those in more remote and marginalized regions are not able to connect, exchange and collaborate easily with each other and the rest of the international community. Some universities, accelerators or incubators offer programs for doers, thinkers, entrepreneurs or faculty worldwide to enable the creation of a community where they can exchange ideas and scale up their projects. These initiatives are beneficial for individuals who can afford to relocate, however are not accessible to everyone. Indeed, a large majority of entrepreneurs have professional, financial and/or family constraints and can only engage in a virtual community.

To this end, UnRavel, a digital platform for decentralized entrepreneurship, proposes a two-action-oriented program for entrepreneurs under 30:

An Incubator that will support selected entrepreneurs or teams globally to develop their ideas during a 6-month incubation program in order to work on their early-stage initiative and help them develop and design their business models. This community of entrepreneurs will be closely supported by mentors in addition to the platform’s network. A certificate will be delivered by one of our academic partners to entrepreneurs or teams who complete the program.

An Accelerator will welcome the most promising ideas from the 6-month incubation program. Entrepreneurs or teams will receive funding for their projects during a 6-month period to materialize their ideas and accelerate their enterprise. An extended network of lawyers, investors and business angels will support selected candidates.

A kickoff event will take place every 6 months hosted by one of our partners. This event will be streamed online and open to all community members.

As a result, UnRavel will enable social and economic transformation through the development of impactful social enterprises led by young people to achieve inclusive growth and sustainable development. The initiative will serve to scale projects from early-stage ideas to established enterprises in key areas such as ICT literacy and Access to Technology, Renewable Energy and Access to Energy, Civil Rights, Climate Change, Environmental Justice, LGBTQIA, Gender and Ethno-racial Equality, Immigration and Refugee Rights, and Access to Education.

This platform will also visualize the efforts of grassroot organizations and highlight the positive impact of initiatives led by young entrepreneurs.

Problem Statement

The global youth unemployment rate is on the rise after a number of years of improvement, and is expected to reach 13.1 per cent in 2016 (from 12.9 in 2015). This is very close to its historic peak in 2013 (at 13.2 per cent) and where it is expected to remain in 2017. As a result, after falling by some 3 million between 2012 and 2015, the number of unemployed youth globally will rise by half a million in 2016 to reach 71 million and will remain at this level in 2017.

Source: The ILO’s World Employment and Social Outlook 2016

Facing the prospect of unemployment, working poverty and/or vulnerable forms of employment, young people tend to look abroad for better education and employment opportunities. In 2015, almost 51 million international migrants were aged between of 15 and 29, more than half of whom resided in developed economies. The intersections of gender, race, ethnicity and social class can play a major role in attenuating the negative effects of bias and discrimination faced by young people from emerging countries and potentially increase their vulnerabilities while limiting their opportunities for economic and social power.

Source: The ILO’s World Employment and Social Outlook 2016

Today, a large majority of young entrepreneurs are required to live in big and costly cities to have access to opportunities, a community of like-minded individuals, and proper facilities. While brilliant ideas arise from all corners of the globe, entrepreneurs from remote regions with impactful solutions to their communities’ challenges do not have easy access to an incubator or accelerator unless they migrate to a larger community either nationally or internationally.

To this end, UnRavel addresses the centralization and exclusivity of entrepreneurship and innovation by bridging the social, geographical, and economic gap between entrepreneurs and innovators worldwide and connect those in remote regions to a wider international community of changemakers and support them to develop their ideas, design their business models and materialize their projects. UnRavel aims to support young entrepreneurs to act locally and empower their community without having to relocate to be part of a larger network of changemakers, and to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs from the Global North and Global South.

Building this inclusive and interactive platform is an important step to reach and include young brilliant minds from the most isolated regions globally and foster their professional growth and their efforts to create positive lasting impact in their communities.

Goal and Projected Outcomes

Goal: Create a sustainable and impactful online entrepreneurship platform to support young innovators worldwide to scale their initiatives with the support of a network of changemakers from the public, private, and third sectors.

Projected Outcomes:

  1. Identify a board of influential stakeholders
  2. Select young entrepreneurs or teams with early-stage ideas for the incubator program
  3. Support young entrepreneurs or teams to design their business models
  4. Select promising ideas from the incubator to scale them in the accelerator program
  5. Launch new enterprises led by young minds

Activities

Un-Ravel will be developed and implemented in three phases. The first and second phases will be incubated in collaboration with an (academic) partner.

Phase 1: Pre-Project (1 year)

  • Feasibility study
  • Curriculum & contents development
  • Digital platform development
  • Communication
  • Engaging with stakeholders, partners and donors

Phase 2: Launching & Growing (3 years)

  • From 3 projects in the incubators to 30
  • From 0 project in the accelerators to 13

Phase 3: Established Regime (recursive)

  • 30 projects in the accelerators every semester
  • 15 projects in the accelerators every semester

Implementation Partners

  • Niousha Roshani /Berkman-Klein Center & ALARI — Harvard University/Yelema
  • Olivier Alais /Berkman-Klein Center– Harvard University/ Soukeina

Originally published at Olivier Alais’ Blog.