Over 146o young people from over 119 countries applied, and 20 were chosen. Joi M. Sears, the Creative Director of Free People International is one of the 20 social entrepreneurs who has been offered a prestigious one-year fellowship to the DO SCHOOL, more specifically the "Green Store Challenge" (by H&M) in Hamburg, Germany. The DO SCHOOL is an innovative educational institution providing learning that creates real impact. It is designed to train, mentor, and empower outstanding emerging social entrepreneurs from all around the world to kickstart their own social ventures in their home countries.
The program allows an opportunity for fellows to learn from passionate peers, engage with current leaders and experts, and create change by implementing their social start-ups around the world. The year long program takes place in two phases. For the Green Store Challenge, the ten-week incubation phase will take place at the DO SCHOOL's Hamburg campus from the 27 of April 2014 till the 6th of July 2014. This phase will be followed by the ten-month Implementation Phase to be conducted in the Fellows' home countries.
Through the Green Store Challenge, Fellows will connect with leading experts on a variety of topics including the environmental impact of construction materials and recycling systems, as well as sustainable interior design and retail operation. Fellows will conduct research to identify and understand the status quo of H&M, and its vision of sustainability, in the context of available best-practices regarding sustainable design and operation. Based on these learning experiences, the Fellows will brainstorm, identify and test ideas for a Green Store prototype and put them to a real life test for a week in a German H&M store. Focus will lie on finding a viable solution that is innovative, scalable, economical and one that fits within the existing H&M Germany framework by focusing on the aspects of idea generation, interior concept & design, communication and operation in store, as well as training of the staff and evaluation of the prototype.
We are very excited about this opportunity, and the potential growth of Free People International through this outlet. We invite your participation throughout the various phases of this initiative so please check back often for updates, better yet - join our mailing list!
In the meantime, here are a few ways you can get involved:
1. The DO SCHOOL Start-up Lab
Free Online Course: Do you have a plan for changing the world? It's time to learn how to DO it! The DO School has partnered with iversity to provide a free online course for social entrepreneurs around the globe. The Start-Up Lab helps you stop dreaming and start DOing, introducing you to the crucial steps necessary to get moving. This course is designed for people who have a concrete start-up idea as the course supports the actual implementation of relevant first steps. This course will help you focus your idea to have broader social relevance. It provides resources and knowledge from inspiring leaders in the start-up community and offers insight into the learning experiences of other emerging social entrepreneurs. It challenges you with questions that every entrepreneur has to answer in the early phase of starting up and gives you key opportunities to exchange and discuss your ideas with other course participants who are also implementing their social ventures. This course is focused on helping you maximize on the impact you can create with your start-up. Click here to enroll.
2. Green is the New Gangsta Open Call for Artistic Work + Innovative Projects:
We have several projects in the works to go along with our Green is the New Gangsta campaign including: a digital magazine, documentary film, crowdfunding platform, e-commerce platform, events, exhibitions etc. If you have a creative project that addresses environmental justice, eco-friendly fashion, ethical entrepreneurship etc. be sure to drop us a line and let us know what you're up to! You can also, sign up on our mailing list for updates.
3. Support this Project!!
We are currently accepting donations and sponsorships (monetary + products) to fuel this initiative and there are several ways that you can give!
We will be launching a crowdfunding campaign to support this project, on our new crowdfunding platform, "Crowdfunding for the Free People". Be sure to sign up on our mailing list to be the first to know when the campaign goes live!
Can't wait? You can also make a donation immediately via paypal: firstname.lastname@example.org | You will be eligible for the same perks as those who support via the crowdfunding platform including a variety of eco-friendly swag. (If you have any questions about this please feel free to e-mail: Joi@freepeopleinternational.com)
Do you have a brand that produces eco-friendly/ethical products and are interested in our sponsorship packages? Please feel free to e-mail: Joi@freepeopleinternational.com for current opportunities, including (but not limited) features in our upcoming Free People International digital magazine. We also have various corporate sponsorship opportunities available.