Townhall #2 @GITA

An Invitation: Meet us at our town-hall meetings

It has been a while since you last heard from us. A lot has happened and it is time for an update. Meet MOTHERLAND founder Sebastian Fittko at the GITA conference next week for an Open Townhall!

Our first Townhall with Julian Frede was quite the experience for us. Julian asked deeply relevant questions which were not easy to answer. See us sweat in the video.

In the upcoming Townhall on August 20th at 11:00 CET Sebastian will be giving an update on where MOTHERLAND stands, but more importantly he will be answering Your questions!

So - register and shoot the toughest questions you have up your sleeve!

Making It Rain

An Invitation: Meet us at our town-hall meetings

Thank you for following our journey to this point! We have talked about the grand global challenges and the systemic forces keeping even the most well-intended in a trap. We have talked about the mechanics of picking the locks of said trap and we have talked about how to get to work on this and how to know that we are on the right track.

But one important piece is still missing. If we are successful with the next phase, the accelerator, that will be fantastic, but it will also be just a drop. One drop in a vast ocean. Meaningless.

Meaningless unless we manage to make it rain. Once we have learned how to solve the most pressing issues of a local community with existing solutions, we have constituted a drop. Now we are able to repeat this process in other communities, becoming better and faster and stronger with each community. We can - drop by drop - make it rain across bioregions and then across nations, and beyond.

With the support of our partner network, we have access to the finest talent across the continent. Young people who are longing to make a difference towards a good tomorrow. We will equip these young people with the knowledge and the tools to implement the results of the MOTHERLAND process in the local communities of their bioregion. And it will rain.

Nice words, you think to yourself, but will it hold? Well, find out for yourself in our upcoming series of town hall meetings where we open up to be challenged by you because that is how we grow, how we learn and how we build strong partnerships.

Please register here for the first townhall where we will present MOTHERLAND and be challenged by Julian Frede and - you!

Photo by Sourav Mishra from Pexels

Why do we need another startup accelerator program?

Implement, learn, improve, and measure impact

After working together with startups in accelerator programs and venture capital investors for more than a decade, we learned how to see both problems and markets. So do entrepreneurs who see and seize the opportunity to build and market a solution to a problem by creating a startup.

We have identified more than 600 African startups and qualified more than 320 for our database, further fitting into our qualification criteria of our first focal area: the post-harvest value chain.

For example, if we take the challenge of food waste, the selection from our database could look like the following selection of startups, which we call an “ecosystem of solutions”:

So what to do with these startups? Run an accelerator program? Yes, but different! We will not only accelerate the startup's development, but we are also accelerating the development of a selected community by applying the startups' products and solutions. We believe it is possible to build a new layer of infrastructure to enable the community to solve some of its burning issues and develop a local economy based on enhancing the value created by the people for their local market.

We learned that in Africa, startups, in many cases, have to be the market and infrastructure makers to build a sustainable business and unleash the impact they imagine. That's why many startups offer not only their core service but also complementary services and solutions without their core product or service would not work, e.g. a learning solution.

Working with startups for such a long time now, we know that focus is one of the critical success factors for a startup. That is why we let them focus on what they are best and complement the missing parts with top-notch startups and their products and services. We face challenges together and develop integrated solutions between the startups to accelerate joint learning and joint resolutions.

We talk a lot about the necessity of sustainable development, but only hands-on implementation accelerates the learning curve for successful adaption and materialising impact for the local community. That is why the Motherland Accelerator is a program with the mission to implement the startups' solutions in a community and not only focuses on the startups.

How will this look like in practice? We have designed a 6-month program that consists of two parallel paths.

  • The first will focus on the startups to solve their most significant challenges to become viable, fundable, and scaleable businesses in Africa to positively impact Africa's sustainable development. We are building a program that brings together global startups know-how by mentors, experts, and our international network of impact investors. The startups are in the stage of pre series A or B.

  • The second will focus on the community and the implementation of the startups' solution. We will work with a dedicated community in a participatory process to systemically understand their challenges and opportunities. We will then select matching startups and their solutions to tackle the community's challenges and unlocking their possibilities. We are currently running a community selection process with our team in South Africa and will select a final community in June. More communities in other African countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Siera Leone, Ethiopia and Kenia are already on our list for future programs.

Both are interwoven with each other and form an integrated program, where startups meet mentors, experts, and other entrepreneurs and meet the communities where they are inducing sustainable change. As implementation is an agile process, we will run three implementation sprints throughout the program. Between each of the sprints, we will bring the startups on-site for joint learning and solution development with the community and the other startups of the batch. Our team on site is in charge of the implementation close to the community members and in liaison with the startups.

At the end of the 6-month program, the first positive effects should become imminent to the community and measurable for our team on site. This outcome will be presented and celebrated at our final event: The Motherland Demo Day!

Please get in touch with Thomas or Sebastian for questions, ideas, discussions or just feedback.

First Principles, First

Moving Into Doing

It is pretty clear by now that we are working towards a big, bold vision with MOTHERLAND. But having a big, bold vision is the easy part. Building it requires knowledge, grit, skills and much more. Most of all, it requires amazing collaborators who together build towards the shared vision bit by bit. Block by block, in concrete and pragmatic ways.

During the initial phase of MOTHERLAND, we established both the foundation for amazing collaborations and an understanding of the first principles that serve as the building blocks. This happened through a series of conversations and conferences in the first quarter of 2020 with more than fifty farmers, changemakers, entrepreneurs and other humans from across the African continent.

Our African partners were successful in this quest and identified the "Post Harvest Value Chain" as this driver. If we rethink and rebuild the path from farm to fork on a local level, this will positively ripple effects upstream and downstream.

As we were searching for, finding and qualifying hundreds of African startups in this field for our database, several things became apparent:

  • Africa has all the knowledge, engineering prowess and technical precision she needs. There is no need to import any of this.

  • There is an abundance of amazing solutions all across the continent

  • BUT these solutions work in a vacuum. They are scattered across the continent, often without connection to any supporting environment, forcing them to focus on building many of their support functions themselves, distracting them from their focus, setting them up for failure.

As we are now approaching Phase 3 of MOTHERLAND, we are working towards providing a way for those startups to focus on what they are good at while solving their market access and scaling problems. And on top of that, supporting a local community on their path towards self-sufficiency and self-reliance.

Photo by Chevanon Photography from Pexels

Impact Measurement: Introducing the GCP – Gross Community Product

Moving into Doing

Underneath the fabric of our culture and society, we know. We, the people, know what a good life is, what needs to be done to get there. But more often than not, we don't allow this knowledge to surface, let alone to turn into action.

This is why we do MOTHERLAND – to help turn this inherent knowledge into action where the people are – with and for the people. We do this by building on the understanding that an economic activity that serves humans and the planet cannot be measured in a single type of unit, but has to be measured in a holistic way, integrating context and subjective wellbeing into a measure of progress.

To do so, we are developing the GCP which we can be outlined as follows:

  1. The Gross Community Product (GCP) measures the total economic activity of a community. In order to do so, the GCP expands the notion of capital to eight forms (as described by Ethan Soloviev). The GCP defines "economic activity" as any activity that supports the ongoing wellbeing of all community members, where wellbeing is measured as the subjective level of fulfilment along the five dimensions of Maslow.

  2. Measurement
    Five of the eight forms of capital are both hard to impossible to measure and abundant. This is why measuring happens on a subjective self-assessment basis by all community members. These five are social, intellectual, spiritual, experiential and cultural capital.

    The three remaining ones are scarce and can be measured in absolute terms: financial, material and living capital. While abundant forms of capital can and should grow continuously, the scarce forms of capital are more complex:

    1. Financial Capital: in the context of GCP we don't measure the accumulation of financial capital, but instead, (1) the velocity of its flows inside of the community and (2) the relative percentage between intracommunity flows and inter-community flows of financial capital

    2. Living Capital: The living capital of the community is also measured in two dimensions (1) can the living capital in the form of plants and animals support the physiological dimensions of needs in the community at present and (2) in the foreseeable future?

    3. Material Capital: Similarly to living capital, material capital is measured in relation to the size and context of the community. It must be sufficient to secure the short and long term physiological needs of the community members but must not exceed carrying necessity.

  3. Interpretation and Calculation

    80% of the GCP are based on the abundant forms of capital. Both the results of the measurement of the current time period and the previous are factored into this in order to represent stagnation, increase or decrease.

    The remaining 20% are based on the scarce forms of capital which are rated relative to the required quantities for short and long term thriving of the community (measured as a high measure of abundant forms of capital).

We clearly are in the early phases of defining the GCP theoretically and will test and improve it as we begin work on the ground.

Do you have any comments, feedback, or ideas on how to make this form of impact measurement feasible please get in touch with us?

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