Technology from the bottom up – What started out as a family concern turned into a platform, which then went on to impact the lives of many.
As demonstrated by the #MeToo movement, more and more women are helping society change the way we think about sexual harassment by sharing their experiences.
Brazilian activist, social entrepreneur and nominee of several awards (Forbes 2020 Brazil Under 30) Simony Cesar is turning this movement into concrete action in a place where individuals, especially women, feel most vulnerable - public transportation.
52 million Brazilian women were harassed in public transport in 2016 but only 10% of cases came to police’s attention – Brazilian Public Safety Forum”
Simony grew up in the neighbourhood of Dois Unidos, an underprivileged community in Recife, with a young mother working as a bus collector. She would regularly hear about harassment cases and the difficulty for women to wake up at dawn and return home after dark - living in a constant state of fear. Around her, some women would give up school or their job simply to avoid the fear of public transport.
Simony could not let this frustration go, which led her to begin her own project NINA (tribute to singer and black civil rights activist Nina Simone).
Nina helps victims or witnesses report violence through a simple press of a button (an API which can be integrated into any application – from route planning to ride-hailing). This tool then tracks, standardises and centralises harassment reports occurring in public transport.
Nina helps to protect public transport users by:
In 6 months, NINA has reported 1300 sexual harassment cases, an average of 1 case every 3 hours.
The secret weapon helping Simony achieve her dreams this year is her lead mentor, Thomas Michelbach from MAN Truck & Bus. Besides his day to day job, Thomas helps NINA in various ways, from mitigating risks by identifying red flags, to moderating and aligning discussions between the 30+ experts that will mentor the start-up throughout the accelerator.
Some insights from these discussions include:
We had an interview with Thomas Michelbach and Simony Cesar about their relationship. Here’s what they shared:
Our team at YSB spends considerable time matching experts with social entrepreneurs in order to use the time and expertise where it will do most good. We are delighted in the way that Nina has utilised Thomas’s talent to the fullest. Already we have seen that his strong digital background - specifically the development of emerging technologies, IT strategy and digital transformation - helped NINA in the process of better understanding their current challenges.
“I learnt with my lead mentor to have trust in people, trust in processes and not love my solution but love my problem”
We look forward to seeing the evolution of this mentor-entrepreneur relationship over the next months. While the opportunity for NINA is obvious, equally this mentoring has already inspired Thomas to bring back new mind-sets to MAN.
Along with 7 other social entrepreneurs, Nina is part of the MAN Impact Accelerator’s third batch. Simony Cesar will be traveling to Munich in June to participate in the closing ceremony. Get in contact with Solene to schedule an interview or a meeting.
These have been difficult times for our portfolio companies. They are working hard to protect those they employ and serve. In India, Waste Ventures recycle plastic and improve the lives of waste pickers. As they are dependent on revenues from previous months to meet their expenses, the abrupt pause to their activities has made their ability to pay their workforce much more difficult.
So, here we are. The time for change and personal re-shaping through resolutions is upon us already. But this doesn’t just mean an opportunity for personal improvement, it also means a time for professional self-development too.
Solene, our Communications Manager for the MAN Impact Accelerator speaks about the challenges faced by smallholder farmers and how they should be empowered rather than exploited by intermediaries, looking at examples from across our work at YSB.
Yunus Social Business’s ‘Social Business Accelerators’ help corporates connect to exciting social entrepreneurs and engage their employees in unique mentoring experiences for social change.
The network wave has surged, and many organisations today are following a similar network-centric approach. A popular example is Spotify’s world-famous culture - driven by its organisational structure.
“Only when companies disclose their impact - negative and positive - will we live in a transparent, holistic economy.” - Paul Allard, CEO & Co-Founder, Impak Finance.