This past Summer, we got together and lifted 1000+ people out of extreme poverty, forever transforming a community through the power of entrepreneurship, in a way that will have a ripple effect for generations to come by building the Vision Village.
The Vision Village trains and funds 150 entrepreneurs, in 50 funded micro-enterprises in East Africa, which collectively lifts a community of 1000+ people out of extreme poverty.
How did we do it? Who is WE? And how can you be part of bringing such impact forward in your own entrepreneurial path?
First, let me answer the question, who is WE?
The biggest player in this movement is Village Enterprise, a non-profit organization with three decades of on-the-ground experience in transforming poverty stricken communities through the power of entrepreneurship with micro-enterprises.
To date Village Enterprise has trained over 150,000 Africans how to become successful entrepreneurs who can support their families, leading to the creation of nearly 40,000 new businesses, and ultimately transforming the lives of over 850,000 people.
This is serious impact.
These individuals are visionary entrepreneurs who contributed to this movement by purchasing a custom personal brand site during our Vision Village promotion, where we offered 25 Influex personal brand sites as a huge discount while contributing $1000 per website to the Vision Village project.
Our ambitious goal with Influex is to revolutionize personal brand websites by creating new software for business owners to easily design their own pages. For this product to be of exceptional quality, our first step was to create the right sample size of branded sites.
That’s where the idea for this entire win-win-win campaign materialized. By taking on 25 new clients at a reduced rate, each client wins. From there, we get a large enough sample size to successfully develop Influex (we win). Lastly, 1000+ entrepreneurs in Africa are empowered to escape extreme poverty (the world wins).
This synergy of business and social good is something I have strived to achieve for quite some time, and I’m happy that it has finally taken shape.
I was first exposed to Village Enterprise while consulting on the Evolved Enterprise launch this past March, where we contributed $25 per book package sale to building the Evolved Village, and successfully raised the $25,000 to build the village. Our campaign got our promotional partners behind a cause, helping us reach a lot more people with our message, and lifting 1000+ people out of extreme poverty, while also exposing the Village Enterprise model to thousands of entrepreneurs (one of them – a key promotional partner for the launch – Anik Singal, went on to continuing support Village Enterprise with his own contributions and building another village, and is an Influex customer and therefore contributor to the Vision Village).
Sitting at the Maverick Multiplier Retreat in May, I was contemplating how to start to make the leap from just custom services with Vision Tech Team to building a platform for personal brand sites. We were also low on cash flow, and didn’t necessarily want to take on more retainer clients at the time before starting to make this shift, so we wouldn’t get distracted from our next steps. Simultaneously, I was watching the Village Enterprise impact update presentation (Mavericks previously supported Village Enterprise in addition to the Evolved Village project), and felt called to find a way to personally build another village.
Then it hit me: 25 sites. Each site donates $500. Once we reach 25 by a certain date, we personally match the contribution, totaling $25,000 to build a village, while still having the additional revenue to cover the hard costs of building these custom personal brand sites, while leap frogging us (through the nature of the fast exposure, expanded portfolio, movement marketing, and operational fine-tuning from building so many sites at once) into the personal brand site industry, helping us to develop both a better custom service (and reputation) and a product for personal brand sites.
And we did just that. Through the month of July and a little bit into August, we sold 25 sites at a highly discounted rate, and raised $25,000 to build the Vision Village.
*We’ve since brought our pricing closer to retail value at a $12,000+ minimum (though still discounted, considering we used to build these for our Visionary clients at $15k – $30k+ each before we came out with Influex)
Beyond being a strong “movement marketing” play and a major contribution, this campaign did far more for our company.
It aligned us with the right clients.
After doing an initial facebook push for the Influex launch, I found that the majority of the people who showed an interest in these new sites happened to be consciously minded visionaries.
Literally, our company was creating the platforms for these leaders to empower their respective communities to make the world a better place.
I also believe that through the campaign itself, we remind our visionary entrepreneur clients – many of whom are very financially successful – of how important it is to consider impacting the lives of those less fortunate around the planet, and raise awareness of what’s going on in our world and how we can help.
Even this article – talking about how this movement impacted our company for the better – can hopefully inspire entrepreneurs (like you) reading it to put something similar into practice. To bring a stronger cause behind your next campaign, in a way that both makes a significant difference in the world and also sustainably supports your company’s growth and evolution.
I believe this is the future of business, which is the reason why I’ve spent over a year of my life dedicated to launching and building the Evolved Enterprise movement with Yanik Silver. Yanik is not alone, as other clients like Pedram Shojai (who created the new Prosperity Film) have stepped up, spreading the message of a new emerging economy that cares about people, purpose and planet along with profits.
I implore you to leverage your own entrepreneurial gifts and help this planet.
Even one seemingly small action can one day ripple into huge impact.
Dmitriy Kozlov is the co-founder of Influex and Vision Tech Team, a serial entrepreneur, and a spoken word artist passionate about accelerating the evolution of love through inspiring and empowering influencers.