Solving the world's most challenging problems by empowering social entrepreneurs
It’s no news that our world is in pain. Poverty, hunger, bad mental and physical health, lack of education, social inequalities and let’s not forget the state of our planet in general (now, let’s not get ourselves too depressed with more details).
We all know this. But what can we really do at an individual scale? Not much.
The answer to this problem lies in the concept of collectivity. And Hatch CoLab really understood that.
This nonprofit created an entire and impressive ecosystem that gathers more than 200 organizations such as international organizations, universities, foundations, corporates, investors, associations and NGOs.
Lorenzo Niola, Head of Ecosystem development, presented Hatch CoLab at the Good Brand Summit at the Beau Rivage Palace in Lausanne. A few weeks later, I was able to interview him over the phone to get more insights.
Read about other Good Brand Summit 2019 participants :
Clean Water For Each And Every Person - Starting With Refugees
Hope For The Babies – Knitting For Equality
Social and environmental impact through plastic recycling in Cambodia
Giving Children's Clothes a Second Chance
So what’s their story?
It all started when the co-founders Tyler, and David Rychlewski, were in South Africa. Tyler worked at hospitals and she saw how much the resources were poor and limited. They faced daily problems like mixed up tools and bad communication systems. So with David, an entrepreneur leading investments in emerging markets, they started to search for solutions. Surely there was something tech and innovation could do.
That’s when they met the 3rd co-founder, Sal Matteis (entrepreneur, mentor, investor, and executive in the technology sector). They analyzed what were the main challenges and what solutions already existed. And they found some. Thanks to their technology, medical and venture capital background, they were able to connect the dots in those different fields and discovered many great entrepreneurs out there that were able to help. So why stop there?
Hatch CoLab was born because its co-founders realized there was a huge problem. There was a gap. A gap between tech ventures and the humanitarian sector.
“We are solving the missing ring in the value chain between impact tech entrepreneurs and humanity grand challenges.” - Lorenzo Niola, Head of Ecosystem development
It’s by being this missing ring, that they have for mission to solve humanity’s grand challenges and drive sustainable change.
How does it work?
Short way: it’s an accelerator. They accompany entrepreneurs to help them develop successful ventures. But actually, they quite differentiate themselves.
Some of Hatch CoLab’s team members, including Lorenzo Niola, had tons of experiences working at different acceleration and incubation programs around the world (San Francisco, London, Milan, Kuwait, Kazakhstan among others). So we can say they know what works and what doesn’t. Their program is more practical than an accelerator’s one and it’s a go-to-market solution. And thus, they describe themselves as “enablers”.
They enable entrepreneurs to build and scale social ventures by connecting them with what they need: partners, stakeholders, investors, and so on. It’s the reason they are based in Geneva which they consider to be “the capital of the humanitarian and impact projects”.
During the 12 months program, “Hatchers” (their participants) have access to workshops, coaching and skill-building sessions on all the topics they need among other events. They also get the support of 30+ mentors as well as Hatch CoLab’s huge ecosystem (their network of 200+ organizations that I mentioned earlier).
When asked “what drives you to do all that?”, Lorenzo responded :
“We know that there are a lot of technologies out there. But they are not used for good purposes nor in a proper way to support ongoing projects in the sustainable development or humanitarian sector. So what drives us the most is to find great teams that we can support in order to allow them to succeed. We succeed when they succeed, and our success is their success.”
What are their goals?
With their “Fellows” (entrepreneurs who went through their program) they are already impacting different fields such as health, education, environment, clean energy, social inclusion and financial inclusion, which are all part of the Sustainable Development Goals.
They are invited to a lot of events. Besides the Good Brand Summit, they participated in AI for Good, Global Summit, Startup Days and E-commerce Week to give a few examples. They had 8 entrepreneurs in their first batch. They have almost 40 mentors and their ecosystem of 200+ organizations just keeps growing.
With those achievements in mind, their next goals are :
- Having 10 entrepreneurs in their next batch and find the right partners to support them
- Creating the most stable investment framework possible to support startups in their fundraising
- Establishing more and more meaningful relationships with and between the organizations, mentors, fellows and the next batches of hatchers
And finally, as they measure their success by how much people benefit from their Hatcher’s and Fellow’s projects, Hatch CoLab’s biggest goal is to impact 2 billion individuals all over the world.