Charlotte and her projectteam entered the We build this city contest in 2019 with their social project ‘de andere zeep’. In the end, they didn’t win, but fortunately that didn’t matter. Read more about their ambitions and how the contest helped them along!
Who are you?
Hello, my name is Charlotte Ognibene and I am a third year European Studies Bachelor student at Maastricht University. I am 20 years old and I am passionated by creating human relations and meeting new people. My hobbies: Tennis, Windsurf, meeting up with friends especially around an aperitivo. 😉
How is Enactus involved with De andere zeep project?
Enactus is a social entrepreneurship international association which is located in 36 different countries. Enactus’ purpose is to enable progress through entrepreneurial action. Enactus Maastricht made it possible to create De andere zeep. It is by pitching my idea at our first Enactus GMA, that I found highly motivated people, willing to join the team and build the Other. Moreover, Enactus organises amazing conferences where we improve our necessary skill to make a good start-up. In these conferences we were able to meet other Enactus members, which came from different universities.
What is your role in this project?
I am the project coordinator of De andere zeep. My main tasks are to define concrete goals in our weekly meetings to achieve to make De andere zeep grow. Moreover I keep track of the tasks that have been done and that have to be done.Additionally, I believe that it is extremely important to support my team in their tasks, that is why I work in all the fields and spend most time on the sector that needs it in a specific week. Lastly, keeping your team motivated, especially in Cornoatimes is important to guarantee a good group dynamic. We are planning to make more teambuildings to enhance our team spirit.
How did you get involved with this project?
I have always been really concerned by Climate Change and the Refugee crisis. I read a lot of articles and books about these problems, and had to analyse lots of texts on these subjects in my studies. I even participated in some debates about this. But last year I wanted to put actions on my words and thought to create a project that would combine both problematics: organic soaps to reduce water pollution due to the non-use of chemicals which can be found in normal soaps, that we create together in a collaboration with the refugees in Maastricht.
Could you explain more about your project, what you hope to achieve and for who it is?
Last year was mainly dedicated to see how feasible the project can be by dealing with administration, logistics, legal concerns on how to commercialize a soap, and search for a good soap-making recipe. For this second year of De andere zeepp we really want to enhance our collaboration with the Refugee Project Maastricht. Our collaboration consists in having 8 refugees together in our team to co-lead the main functions. De andere zeep’s vision is that “we are not there to teach them” we are here to collaborate with them. Meaning, that every function will be co-leaded by a refugee and student (member of De andere zeep) to make a good social and economic integration for those 8 refugees possible. During workshops, other students, refugees, or Maastricht citizens are able to join, however the main 8 functions will be co-leaded. We hope that this year we will generate lots of benefits and that in 1-2 years the start-up will be entirely led by those 8 refugees who are co-leading it with us for the moment when we won’t be in Maastricht anymore. This is what we would name success; that after our time in Maastricht these 8 refugees can see De andere zeep as a money generating job for them.
What is something you have done so far with this project that you’re very proud of?
In the end of 2019, you entered the We built this city competition.
What was your main motivation to enter the competition?
We participated at the “We built this city” competition at the very start of our project. The team still didn’t know each other well and we thought that doing this competition would bond us a little more. Additionally, we were able to win 4000€ which would have represented an enormous amount of money to start our start-up. Lastly, we were convinced by the idea that this competition would unconsciously make us work more for the project to present new results at every competition round.
How did the ‘We Built This City’ competition help your project?
This competition helped us in many ways.
First, to give ourselves and the project concrete deadlines for new accomplishments to come up with a new element in the different competition rounds. Second, to see the project’s strengths and weaknesses. Third, to build a real teamspirit. Fourth, to handle a failure and stay motivated (because the fact that we did not win was the first “failure” for the project). And fifth, to meet new interesting people.
In the end you didn’t win but you submitted the plan to our website, how is that going?
We were a little disappointed not winning the competition, but Code043 directly offered us the possibility to submit a plan for other funding. We submitted the plan in March and had to change some elements. Now we resubmitted a plan and are waiting for a response.
Suddenly in 2020 Covid showed up, what impact did this have?
Our first sale on the market was planned for the 18th of March . Everything was ready, we had worked and wished for that moment since October. And one week before, the news came: lock down. We were all extremely disappointed. It was a real challenge for the whole team to stay motivated and continue our weekly meetings, but this time online. During lockdown we created our instagram page: @deanderezeep go follow us 😉 And developed in June online soap shopping via instagram, where we delivered the soaps with our bikes.
If your project-team had a million euros what would you do with it?
We would buy an office to make our meetings/workshops there, so that we can work independently from the Inbetween. Invest in Research & Development to expand our products (ex. Shampoo/deodorant). Make a trip with the whole team. Use money to help more refugees.
Don’t know where to start or want to find out if we also think it is a dope idea?
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