Interview: Skema

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SkemaInterview date: 8 July 2014

Interviewed by: Tanja

 

 

 

Rakel Solvadottir TEDx


Ísland í dag – Kennir 6 ára börnum að forrita

Introduction

The story:

 “The ironic story of our founder, Rakel Solvadottir, is the learning setback she experienced growing up as a child and young adult, she saw in her own son who, like her, is afflicted with ADHD and, unlike her, dyslexia. The same struggles of acceptance that existed then and now made her, some 30 years later, seek a better way in helping all children find avenues of understanding regardless of characteristic learning differences. She chose not to define individuals by what society calls a disability.

For all the times she was told no, she wants to say yes to the children and young adults of today. For all the times she was told she was not good enough, she wants to tell those told the same, they aren’t just good enough, they are better. In 2011, Skema was founded and since then over 3000 children and 500 educational professionals have joined the reKode revolution.

It is this continuous focus on the positivity of opportunity that defines what we do and allows us the chance to help those that matter most, our leaders of tomorrow.” (Ref: ReKode About)

 

Research Questionnaire

1. Name: Árdís Ármannsdóttir

2. Email address: ardis [at] skema.is

3. Phone number: +345 562 2200

4. Your title in the company: CEO

5. Company Name: Skema Ehf. / www.skema.is / Kt 520711-0310

6. Industry: Education

7. Company years in operation: Founded 2011 / 3 years

8. Type of company: Private Limited companies (“Einkahlutafélag” (ehf)

9. How many employees does your company have:

5 full time employees on a yearly basis

Over the summer: 5 extra teacher full time, and 20 part time (age of part time employees varies from 8-16 years).

10. Annual turnover: 2013: 58M ISK

11. Description of company:

“Skema is skilling the next generation of innovators that will change the world beyond technology. We teach children and young adults from the age of six how to code through a unique and innovative methodology developed by our team of research experts in psychology, education, and technology. Removing the barriers to learning, our methodology is designed to suit the different needs of children, building self-esteem while offering a balanced and motivating environment.” (Ref.  ReKode About)

Rethinking education in respect to technology. Bringing technology into all levels of the education, in line with what is happening in the world today.

12. Company Mission:

To skill the next generation that will change the world beyond technology.

To change how children are taught today by focusing on 1 on 1 teaching, so everyone can fit into the educational system. To focus on rethinking education (levels and ways) where all children are provided with the opportunities and possibilities to educate on their own terms, aiming at their strengths and use technology to do so.

13. Description of social / environmental mission:

As per 12 above.

“We are focusing on each individual and trying to help them to figure out and find their personal strengths that will lead to their right educational path and future employment.. In the long term we are trying to build a high class knowledge society here in Iceland and we know children even with some kind of learning difficulties they can really be effective employees later on, just if there are given the possibility and right tools to educate.”

 14. Would you call yourself a social entrepreneur or social enterprise? Yes, Skema is a social business.

 15. How do you interpret the concept of social enterprises? 

In respect to Skema:

  • The mission of the company has a social core and already today the social impact of the business, its methodology and materials can be seen and valued
  • Technological inspiration to individuals, schools and companies that are in need for technologically advanced individuals as future employees. The whole society profits from the core work of Skema
  • Helping children who don´t fit easily in the school system by providing them a platform to blossom and “find” themselves

 

Questions related to the definition

16. Does your company have a clear social and/or environmental mission set out in their governing documents?

From the start the founders have focused and integrated a social focus in all their products and decisions in the company. As the company is growing the underlying decisional factor in regards to everything concerning the operation of Skema will always relate to the core of the business and that on all levels of the organization.

17. Does your company generate the majority of their income through trade? (51% and above). If not, how much?

Grants:   Income

35%          65%

18. Does your company reinvest the majority of its profits back into the social and/or environmental mission? (51% and above), if not, how much?

The company hasn´t yet been in a stage of profit sharing with the investors as they are still in early stages. Currently all profits are reinvested into the growth of the company, for example their expansion into the US, under ReKode. They foresee this practise to continue as they expand Skema worldwide.

19. Is your company autonomous of state? Yes

20. Is your company majority controlled in the interests of the social and or environmental mission? The board of the company makes decisions according to the social mission of the company.

21. Is your company accountable and transparent? (Transparency – corporate actions are observable by outsiders). Yes in terms of their legal responsibilities. For the most part the focus has been on developing products for the past 3 years. The intention is to have the business accountable and transparent.

The information is available if asked.

22. Who are you clients / focus group?

Children from the age of 6-16.

Tech-girls from the age of 6-16

Elementary schools

Parents and grandparents

23. What KPI’s (key performance indicators) or measurement tools, if any, do you use to access if you are meeting your social impact according to your mission? (e.g. Number of users, number of engaged users. Etc.)

  • Number of students. From 2011: 2.411 students have attended Skema courses
  • Number of teachers. From 2011: 711 teachers have attended Skema courses
  • Number of schools
  • Number of municipalities
  • Retention rate. Since 2011: the children that have taken 3 or more courses is 17, 5%. Accumulated retention rate is: 21% from 2011
  • Customer reviews
  • Gender ration
  • Utilization
  • Interest in technology

Initial pilot research with Reykjavik University, was able to establish the effectiveness of Skema´s teaching mythologies in generating self-esteem with the children who have taken Skema courses. Skema is in the process of applying for a grant, partnering with Reykjavik University, with the intention to measure the impact of the courses on children´s creativity, logical thinking, how they see technology, amongst others.

24. As per 23, what type of social impact have you created through your products/services (e.g. assisted 1,000 people access to health care they won’t have otherwise).

The overall interest in technology has increased during the three years Skema has been in operation. In 2011, 32 children were taught how to code but in 2013 the total number was 1.192. Fifteen teachers attended courses in 2011 in comparison to 470 in 2014. At the same time the retention rate and gender ration indicate a positive development in regards to Skema´s overall mission and goals. The rate of females attending the courses was 12,5% in 2011 but in July 2014, the rate reached 18%. Accumulated retention rate from 2011 is 21% meaning that 21% of the overall children taught has attended 2 or more coding courses. Thereof 17,5% have taken 3 or more courses.

In future Skema has plans on increasing the number of schools where the Skema courses are being run throughout Iceland by teaching the teachers within the schools how to code so they can teach the children. Skema´s focus is also on more active co-operation with Icelandic municipalities on special technological implementation packages for entire communities.

 

Social enterprise sector

25. If a social enterprise umbrella body were formed, would you be interested to know more about it and possibly join as a member? Yes

26. What support do you personally need from such an umbrella body and/or what support do you think the social enterprise sector requires?

1) Access to grants from international and EU sources

2) Finance: special grants made available to early stage social impact ideas

3) A key distinction between ´general´ entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship, as social entrepreneurs have so many more areas to focus on and deliver value.

4) A support package for social enterprise start-ups

27. How would you like to see social enterprise develop in Iceland?

“I would like to see something like The Social Enterprise in UK here in Iceland and organizations and banks that only focus on business ideas with social mission. UK is around 15 year ahead of Iceland in the identification social business and support thereto. Government is one of the key partners, as they can only do so much in areas such as health and education and are in the need of help. Social enterprises can work to help in these areas. Government can assist and support these social enterprise solutions, and possibly offer support in the form of grants, where social enterprises can apply.”

28. Can you recommend a company (NGO) that you may know of that has a social and/or environmental mission?

EcoMals

Össur

Ölgerðin

FESTA

Codland

 

Note: Social Enterprise Iceland does not in any way imply that the interviewed company is a social enterprise. The definition for social enterprise in Iceland is still work in progress through these research interviews. The purpose of sharing these interviews with the public is in alignment with our values of transparency as we share our process of discovery with those who are interested.

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Interview: MindGames

MindGamesInterview date: 25 June 2014

Interviewed by: Tanja

 

Introduction

W.I.L.D.


The story:

MindGames was founded in 2009 when two MIT-trained researchers decided to combine brainwave interfaces and the power of habit learning to produce software which would train users to better observe and regulate their levels of stress and attention.

Research Questionnaire

1. Name: Deepa Iyengar

2. Email address: deepa [at] mindgames.is

3. Your title in the company: Co-founder and CEO

4. Company Name: MindGames Ehf. / www.mindgames.is / kt. 500909-0800

5. Industry: Software / Games / Health and Wellness

6. Company years in operation: 2009

7. Type of company: Private Limited companies (“Einkahlutafélag” (ehf)

8. Description of company:

MindGames designs and creates brainwave-controlled games, apps, and software for personal usage and business applications. Our purpose is to give people technology which they can use to train themselves in important mental skills for life while having fun.

They make games on iPhone and iPad compatible with consumer brainwave headsets (EEG) powered by NeuroSky technology.

They currently have 2 app products on the market:

W.I.L.D.

28 Spoons Later

9. Company Mission: To create a good gaming experience to help people to train their minds.

10. Description of social / environmental mission: Same as 12.

11. Would you call yourself a social entrepreneur or social enterprise? Yes, they are socially motivated entrepreneurs

12. How do you interpret the concept of social enterprises? The term is unfamiliar.

Interpretation: It is an organization that is for profit with a social priority ahead of a profit priority.

Questions related to the definition

13. Does your company have a clear social and/or environmental mission set out in their governing documents?

As set out in our original business plan as well as a general description of the business in the legal documents.

14. Does your company generate the majority of their income through trade? (51% and above). If not, how much?

In the past they received grant income as well as investments from friends and family. Approximately 10M ISK in grants and 5M ISK from investors.

15. Does your company reinvest the majority of its profits back into the social and/or environmental mission? (51% and above), if not, how much?

There have been no discussion to date on how future profits would be distributed.

No specifications in any documentation to date.

16. Is your company autonomous of state? Yes

17. Is your company majority controlled in the interests of the social and or environmental mission?

Yes, and all founders are driven from the social mission.

18. Is your company accountable and transparent? (Transparency – corporate actions are observable by outsiders)

They have nothing in place, but are willing to share information if asked.

19. Who are you clients / focus group?

Therapists and doctors: it’s a tool they can use for patients

The apps need a very specific EEG headset produced from NeuroSky‘s technology (http://www.neurosky.com/) . The market size of these headset is unknown. There are few suppliers of this technology available currently. In the 90’s the virtual reality sphere was gaining momentum, yet still is a new and burgeoning technology (similar to 3D printing, yet still hasn’t gained the popularity in the mainstream as 3D printing).

20. What KPI’s (key performance indicators) or measurement tools, if any, do you use to access if you are meeting your social impact according to your mission? (e.g. Number of users, number of engaged users. Etc.)

We have anecdotal evidence: conversations and emails with children and adults who self-identify with ADD or ADHD, and either say that they think playing our games helps them, or that they would like to play such a game as part of therapy. Some hypnotherapists have also emailed to say that they are using our games with their patients.

Social enterprise sector

21. If a social enterprise umbrella body were formed, would you be interested to know more about it and possibly join as a member? Possibly.

22. How would you like to see social enterprise develop in Iceland?

Differently abled entrepreneurs

Investors

Test bed for the games produced by MindGames for data collection.

23. Can you recommend a company (NGO) that you may know of that has a social and/or environmental mission?

Skema / www.skema.is/

GreenQloud / www.greenqloud.com/

Táknsmiðjan ehf  / www.taknsmidjan.is/

Note: Social Enterprise Iceland does not in any way imply that the interviewed company is a social enterprise. The definition for social enterprise in Iceland is still work in progress through these research interviews. The purpose of sharing these interviews with the public is in alignment with our values of transparency as we share our process of discovery with those who are interested.

 

 

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Interview: Karolina Fund

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Karolina FundInterview date: 13 June 2014

Interviewed by: Tanja and Frantisek

 

Introduction

Karolina Fund Year 1

The story:

“We were a group of guys and girls in post- crash Iceland from diverse backgrounds, from filmmaking, innovation, finance and programming who liked making things happen. We wanted to create a platform and community that would use the web and social media to connect people with ideas with money, skills and resources to make it come to life. Here’s a recent blog post I wrote about how it all came about and where it’s going: Where is Karolina Going?

 

Research Questionnaire

1. Name: Arnar Sigurðsson

2. Email address: arnarfjodur [at] gmail.com

3. Phone number: +345 848 0787

4. Your title in the company: Co-Founder

5. Company Name: Karolina Fund / www.karonlinafund.com / Kt. 460712-1570

6. Industry: Crowd funding and crowd sourcing platform.

7. Company years in operation: 2012

8. Type of company: Private Limited companies (“Einkahlutafélag” (ehf)

9. How many employees does your company have:

½ employee is paid salaries, but 5-10 people contributing

10. Annual turnover:

To date: 5% of pledges. Total pledges Eur222,116, therefore Eur11,105.80 (est. 1.2M ISK) income, with around 70% of the projects getting funding.

11. Description of company:

To help people collaborate on creative projects through providing them with a way to access funding, talent and ideas.

12. Company Mission:

Karolina Fund aims to become a next generation crowd sourcing and crowd funding community. Our mission is to connect ideas, funds and talent to make creative projects possible that individuals can’t do alone.

13. Description of social / environmental mission:

As per 12.

To create social impact through creating change by facilitating new relationships between the creators and investors.

14. Would you call yourself a social entrepreneur or social enterprise?

Yes, but we are new to the concept and have not thought much about it.

15. How do you interpret the concept of social enterprises?

Could be seen as 2 definitions:

1)    Social, as in social media, therefore a company that connects people OR

2)    An organization that is driven by purpose and creates change.

 

Questions related to the definition

16. Does your company have a clear social and/or environmental mission set out in their governing documents?

No, only the legal description required in the founding documents submitted by their accountant.

17. Does your company generate the majority of their income through trade? (51% and above). If not, how much?

They are still in start-up phase and therefore aren’t as yet sustaining their full costs with income. Currently 90% is ‘unpaid’ work, the remaining 10% is monies received. Of the monies received 50% is from trade income and the remaining 50% is from grant income.

90%                                                        10% revenue

Unpaid work                                      Income 50:50 Grants

18. Does your company reinvest the majority of its profits back into the social and/or environmental mission? (51% and above), if not, how much?

Yes currently as they are still in start-up phase

In the future where profits are gained, the investors, 8 in total, haven’t yet discussed how profits would be distributed.

19. Is your company autonomous of state? Yes

20. Is your company majority controlled in the interests of the social and or environmental mission?

More so some individuals within the company function from a social mission.

As a company their description: “solve funding and employment problems but also connect creative people to make projects come to life”, offers the view point that these will remain as part of their ethos and commitment to their social mission.

21. Is your company accountable and transparent? (Transparency – corporate actions are observable by outsiders)

Yes, they clearly show on their front page

Projects Funded

Funding success

Number of participants

Amount received from pledges

Skills of the community

22. Who are you clients / focus group?

Artists, Investors and Entrepreneurs. This creates a dynamic environment for a project for all parties to get involved in the creative project through the crowd funding and crowd sourcing platforms.

23. What KPI’s (key performance indicators) or measurement tools, if any, do you use to access if you are meeting your social impact according to your mission? (eg. Number of users, number of engaged users. Etc.) Yes as per 21.

24. As per 23, what type of social impact have you created through your products/services (e.g. assisted 1,000 people access to health care they won’t have otherwise). Yes

For example 4457 people have been involved to date, 42 projects and Eur222,116 has been pledged.

This is just immediate impact of participation, in addition all future benefactors of the completed projects are not yet taken in to account.

 

Social enterprise sector

25. If a social enterprise umbrella body were formed, would you be interested to know more about it and possibly join as a member?

Yes we would want to know more about it, and possibly join if it seemed suitable to us.

26. What support do you personally need from such an umbrella body and/or what support do you think the social enterprise sector requires?

Again, the concept of social enterprise is new to us so the first support would be to understand the concept better and the benefits behind it.

27. How would you like to see social enterprise develop in Iceland? As per above.

28. Can you recommend a company (NGO) that you may know of that has a social and/or environmental mission?

Alda

Brum

Creative Center Stöðvarfjörður Iceland (inhere.is)

 

Note: Social Enterprise Iceland does not in any way imply that the interviewed company is a social enterprise. The definition for social enterprise in Iceland is still work in progress through these research interviews. The purpose of sharing these interviews with the public is in alignment with our values of transparency as we share our process of discovery with those who are interested.

 

 

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