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Sonvela Progress Update

Q4 2020

· Social Impact Invest

This is the second update about the progress of the Social Impact Investing project of Sonvela. These updates, published for anyone to read, are written to inform you about everything that's happening around this unique concept. I'll be writing one every quarter so you can read about the project's development, and how I'm working towards the goals I have.

In Q3 the project started to come to life with the connections I made, and the many conversations and interviews I had with various Cabo Verdean entrepreneurs. It's always exiting to think about how a (future) project can start as something in your mind and eventually see it evolve into something real.

After a few months of hard thinking and studying new subjects, Q3 was also the quarter in which I first started to communicate my ideas and goals around the project. Taking that first step can be a little scary, but I have always felt it's good to share your goals with the world. The more I do that, the more real things become and the better I have to envision what it is that I want to reach in the long term.

These updates are a part of that as well. It forces me to think as if I'm already working with many commited partners, people who read their quarterly updates with a lot of interest to see how the investments they made have been progressing. It also helps with connecting what I'm doing on a daily basis to the project. If something I'm doing could be part of an update I write, it tells me that I'm working on the right things daily.

As for everything I've written so far, it will be very interesting to look back at it in a couple of years. Writing and publishing much of your thinking gives you a lot more to evaluate. It will help me on future days when I feel stuck, as if I'm not making enough progress. Sometimes you need a reminder of how far you've come, without thinking about how far you still need to go.

2020 will always be the year of the transformation of Sonvela for me. We've been able to do some great work in these last 10 years, of course with Sonvela Arte as the biggest and most impactful project. These experiences have thought me a lot, and that has changed me. It was clear Sonvela had to change with me, in order for me to keep believing in what we do.

The world as changed. Cabo Verde has changed. There is a new generation in the country that will have opportunities that other generations could only dream of. But to take advantage of the opportunities of the Digital Age, we need to invest time and money into existing businesses, creating new businesses ánd talent development. The future has never looked better for our country.

I really hope you'll join me somewhere along the road in these next 20 years.

Communication

I did less interviews in Q4 compared to Q3, so there was more time to write about other stories and ideas. A very important one is Tech is the new Tourism. As a (diaspora) community, we've missed the opportunity to invest in the tourism boom of our country. It has left us as outsiders, often criticizing something we unfortunately have no influence in other than perhaps a vote once in a couple of years.

I truly believe the opportunities of the Digital Age can be as big as those in tourism back in the early 2000's. Read more here:

A Twitter thread about Miguel, the man who saved the Sonvela Arte project, saw some very cool responses. I wrote the thread to explain why I want to invest in more than tech. I turned the thread into a blogpost, explaining how Miguel saved Sonvela Arte, and why I believe we need to invest in people like him as well.

The story of Miguel

Published in Dutch: (will translate soon)

  • Sonvela's Investment thesis
  • How investing can change your life
  • How a neighborhood economy works in Cabo Verde

You can also read these English versions:

New Interviews

As expected, I had a hard time finding tech entrepreneurs on islands like Maio and Sal. I felt it was very important to speak to founders on these islands, even if they work in other sectors. The interviews were a great way to understand the challenges of working in a small market (Maio) and in the middle of a pandemic that saw thousands of people loose their job (Sal).

I've created an interview overview so you can easily search for the interview you wish to read, along with a short intro. I will be adding the next series of interviews to this oveview as well.

Read more here:

Media

NosAgenda invited me for an Instagram live with host Elga. A great conversation with a very well prepared host. Unfortunately I was having some internet connection issues, which caused problems repeatedly. Although it could have gone a lot better, I'm still happy with the opportunity and the attention and engagement of the followers.

Hopefully I'll be able to do another interview with NosAgenda soon, so I can update viewers and followers about our progress.

Fari Magazine interview:

Fari Magazine is a new initiative from The Netherland focused on Black Lifestyle. I was interviewed by Sulimar about my adventures and the future of the Social Impact Investing project.

Read it here: (Dutch)

Meetings/Network

I had two follow up meetings scheduled with entrepreneurs I have interviewed:

– Alvinio Gomes, founder of Alvis Fotovoltaico

– Erico Pinheiro, founder of Prime Botics

Both meetings helped me to better understand the businesses these founders are trying to build. Unlike with the interviews, which focuses on their stories, these meetings allow me to dive into the business models, certain metrics and future plans.

Since the meetings, I've been sending Alvinio some marketing tips so he can grow his online audience. Erico and I plan to meet when I return to Mindelo. I'll stay in touch with both founders, updating them when I have news about the progress of the project.

Learning/Education

Pioneer

A lot of my learning takes place on platform such as Twitter and YouTube. As a way to get some more accountability I decided to try something new. I participated in an online Pioneer contest where I had to submit weekly updates. These updates were then judged by other participants.

A great way to make sure you follow up on things you say you need to do, but also fun to watch what Pioneer has developed and see if it's a concept that could be useful for our ecosystem.

Pacers

A Twitter friend from the Cabo Verdean community suggested I take a look at a learning program called Planethon Pacers. They accepted my application, and I participated in 4 online sessions discussing several very interesting subjects. My favorite part of the program was about Storytelling, and involved creating The Story of Me and The Story of Us (will publish these soon).

Thank you so much for reading the second quarterly update of the Sonvela Social Impact Investing project. Please subscribe below if you would like to receive these updates directly in your inbox.

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