Grants/Best Practices for Startups: Leveraging CC to Optimize Resources
Describe the project you are proposing as clearly as possible in just five sentences.
This project, designed to last three months, is divided in three phases. The first is the research and development phase, during which the organization will research best practices in entrepreneurship using CC and also determine new ways in which its entrepreneurs can leverage CC. The second phase consists on coaching coaches and entrepreneurs on these best practices and their advantages for bootstrapped (and funded) startups. The third phase will be completed by documenting a Case Study on the application of these best practices.
Detail the tangible project output (e.g., paper, blog post, written materials, video/film, etc.; this would be in addition to the final written report that successful grant recipients will be expected to deliver to CC at the conclusion of the project).
Tangible project outputs include: multiple blog posts, presentations and other learning material created, a best-practices case study on a Guatemalan entrepreneur using CC licenses, photographs of the event, and a video summarizing the event.
Describe the community you are targeting. How would the project benefit the community?
BIG Ideas is a non-for-profit business incubator in Guatemala. The NGO works directly with young entrepreneurs in high-tech and ICT industries, innovating in traditional industries, and those making cultural industries competitive. Introducing these entrepreneurs to Creative Commons and its advantages, applications, and best practices will allow them to leverage the scarce resources they usually have as a bootstrapped startup using others' CC-licensed work. The entrepreneurs recognize the importance of networks and giving back, and using CC licenses for their own outputs will also contribute to strengthening their networks and collaboration within these. The incubator can then use these models to develop case studies on best practices developed by its own entrepreneurs.br />
As a business incubator, BIG Ideas has worked for two years now with young entrepreneurs developing innovative business models and technologies. We have directed workshops with more than 200 entrepreneurs, helping them develop their business plans and then execute them. There are now more than 20 startups actually generating income from the workshops. We have also collaborated with other renown institutions in Guatemala delivering conferences to their members and students. This has allowed BIG Ideas to establish itself as the leading Entrepreneurial organization in Guatemala, with an established network of young entrepreneurs that can take advantage and immediately apply CC-licensing to their businesses and other daily activities. It is also critical for the Incubator itself to familiarize itself and implement CC.
How will you measure and evaluate your project’s impact - on your main participants? Other contributors? On the larger community?
The project's impact will be measured in several ways: a) The research and development phase will be measured according to the quality of the learning material produced, which will be evaluated along with the workshops by a survey to participants. b) The impact of the Coaching Coaches seminar will be measured by the number of entrepreneurs these coaches share the information with (they will have to hand in a database of participants of their own workshop), and c) The impact of the Entrepreneurs' seminar will be measured by the number of participants that implement CC licensing on their websites and other products within the following month. The mid- and long- term impact will be measured by following up on these aforementioned metrics, as well as a follow-up on the case study written.
How many participants do you expect to be involved in your project? How will you seek and sustain their involvement?
We expect to have 15 coaches participating, multiplying the effects of the seminars within their own communities and organizations. In addition, we expect to have at least 50 entrepreneurs participating in the Best Practices workshop. We will sustain their involvement through future topics and conferences led by BIG Ideas, as well as future networking events. This will also allow the entrepreneurs to share their CC know-how with others in their network.
Describe how your project will benefit Creative Commons' mission to increase the amount of creativity (cultural, educational, and scientific content) in "the commons".
This project is aimed at Guatemala's innovative and entrepreneurial youth. We have had the experience of watching young entrepreneurs struggle with licensing and legal rights; this in turn limiting their creativity, their incentives to create, and the time they should be spending instead on their startups. Learning about CC and how to implement CC in their businesses to become collaborators and not just competitors in their communities will be a valuable source of creativity. We have struggled as an Incubator to break cultural paradigms on sharing their business ideas. This is the perfect channel through which they can share and receive feedback, and still be protected from having other entrepreneurs and investors steal their ideas or misuse the information the entrepreneurs share.
Describe what technologies and tools your project will use. What kinds of technical skills and expertise do you bring to the project? What are your technical needs?
The project will use blogs, webpages, and social networking sites both to recruit participants and to share the outcomes of the workshops and all other material produced.
The BIG Ideas team has specialized in providing entrepreneurial tools, training, and other support. This includes expertise in economics, finance, marketing and public relations, networking, sales, operations and development.
We would need technical assistance in the legal area. BIG Ideas works directly with a legal firm in Guatemala (with presence in Central America) which could collaborate pro-bono with their technical skills in this area. We would also seek to work with the CC team in Guatemala to receive their support during the different phases of the project.
What challenges do you expect to face, and how do you plan to overcome them?
Our experience as an Incubator has shown that recruitment of individual participants can be difficult, given the busy schedule of entrepreneurs. Nonetheless, we recognize the value that CC can create for their business, and by communicating this value, we are confident that we will be able to meet our goal regarding participants. We might also face the challenge of finding a success story of a business implementing CC in Guatemala; we expect to leverage our network of business professionals to identify the key entrepreneurs using CC.
How do you plan to sustain your project after the Creative Commons funding has ended? Detail specific plans. How do you plan to raise revenue to continue your efforts in the future?
The Incubator is continuously raising money for its different seminars, for Pre-Incubation, and Incubation. If these training sessions are successful, we can use the material created and case study to integrate it to our normal coaching sessions with entrepreneurs. Once the three months of investigation, preparation and implementation of materials are completed, we would then add the CC-specific seminars to the budgets for the following years.
How can this project be scalable, or have a scalable impact?
This project is designed to be scalable and have a scalable impact, which is why we are developing the "Coaching Coaches" workshop first. We want to make sure that the material and workshop we develop will be replicated and shared with other organizations in order for the project to reach its full potential. We also continuously have networking events among entrepreneurs, investors, and other businesspeople, which is why we know that training 1 entrepreneur results in at least 5 other people being impacted.
What resources and support do you expect Creative Commons to provide to your project to ensure its success (if any)?
We expect Creative Commons' Guatemalan Chapter to support our efforts by guiding us in the phases of research and development as well as in the case writing, while also possibly attending the workshops to show their support.
Describe how your organization currently communicates with its community members and network partners. (100 words)
Our organization communicates with our community members through our blog, our Twitter page, our Facebook page, and our LinkedIn page. We also use email, cellular phones, physical meetings, virtual meetings, and participation in community events.