The eye of the storm

Since November, we have been busy with school papers and exams, and have had little time to work with our blog. The lack of updates and posts does not imply that nothing is happening – quite the opposite!

We have entered several competitions and applied for seed funding, and in this time, improvements and modifications of our business plan have taken place. We have also implemented parts of our business plan as case studies for school subjects. One of which is the subject called student enterprise.

The duration for this subject was August to December 2012, and we rounded of with a student competition in February. Three student-entrepreneurial groups where picked as winners and qualified for the Norwegian National Championship in Student Entrepreneurship. Not only were we one of the student groups to qualify, but we also won the price for best business plan. Both prices yield a pecuniary gift, however being qualified for the National Championship is what is worth mentioning.

The National Competition will be launched the first week of June and lasts for two days. The mentors and jury from our university have provided us with key advice on what to work on prior to the competition. To manufacture bag samples that can be displayed for the jury and audience will be of significant importance. The samples will need to demonstrate the look and quality we are aiming for, together with the design of the brand elements.

The preparations for the samples are in progress, and we have already had meetings with designers. I (Iris) am back in Zambia, and have started the dialog with leather suppliers and handbag manufacturers. It is worth mentioning that our workshop is not up and running, and we will need to outsource for the bag samples. It is a target for us to get in touch with people of interest at this competition. Hopefully we will expand our network and get closer to relevant funding opportunities.

Birgit and Merete are in Norway, and as part of their work with WayaWaya they are writing their masters thesis on consumer behaviour in relation to social products. My thesis focuses on the women we will employ, where I inquire into the opportunities and threats they meet in the aftermath of the sewing courses they attended. In short we are exploring what the motivation is, both regarding to the consumers desires and to our future employees requirements. In this way we will be able to create a product that supports a need on both side of the value chain.

Here are the links to the Norwegian articles about the competition we won:

http://ue.no/Akershus/Nyheter/UMB-Mesterskap-i-Studentbedrift

http://www.umb.no/forsiden/artikkel/her-er-umbs-kandidater-til-nm-i-studentbedrift

When entering the competitions and applications we found we had no pictures of us as a team. My brother and very talented photographer, Eivind Andreas Hansen, took the opportunity and invited us to his studio. Thank you so much!

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– Iris

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