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Nest Connects Artisan Accelerator Businesses Wakami and Sidai with Duke Fuqua School of Business’ Case Start Learning Hub

This year, the Nest programming team flew around the world to meet with all ten artisan enterprises participating in Nest’s Artisan Accelerator, an in-depth business development program promising year-long pro bono consulting and 360-degree mentorship to a select group of artisan businesses on the cusp of growth. From these visits, the Nest team was able to compile customized Strategic Growth Plans for each artisan business, mapping out a detailed plan for development initiatives, both remote and onsite, aimed at tackling each business’ primary obstacles to growth.

For both Wakami, an artisan business handcrafting fashion accessories in Guatemala, and Tanzania-based Sidai who creates handmade jewelry, common needs emerged for increased training on raising capital and mapping out a business plan supportive of each business’ goals as a social-enterprise structured operation. More specifically, Wakami and Sidai shared with Nest expedited needs for business model planning, financial modeling, budgeting, analyzing P&L statements, and making a case to impact investors.

To address these needs, Nest looked outside its immediate network to consult with The Cordes Foundation, a long-time Nest supporter, surrounding tools available from the academic community. These conversations were furthered at The Opportunity Collaboration’s forum on social impact, hosted by the Foundation, which helped direct Nest to Duke Fuqua School of Business’ Case Start impact portal, a learning hub developed by the business school to help guide social enterprises through the capital raising process.

Leveraging the School’s superior knowledge on the topic, Nest has provided both Wakami and Sidai with a 6-month pass to the hub, where they are free to login at any time to access the portal’s wealth of webinars and in-depth guides into tricky-to-tackle topics such as “How to Define Your Funding Ask”, “Understanding Supply and Demand of Impact Capital”, and “Articulating Your Funding Strategy to Donors.”

Says Rebecca Olivia Moore of Sidai: “I worked through several of the portal’s models, which have been extremely useful in understand social impact investing, how to articulate our strategy to investors as well as creating realistic projections for financial forecasting to identify funding gaps. It is a comprehensive resource with a lot of information to absorb and understand, especially if you have no formal business training, which I do not and have learnt everything by trial and error on the job. There has been some good exercises to do and it definitely will be useful once we have finalised our plan for where Sidai is going and looking at a growth strategy.”

Nest extends a special thanks to Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and The Cordes Foundation for linking us up with the Case Study Resources. A special thanks goes to the Winn Family Foundation and Swarovski Foundation for making the Nest Artisan Accelerator Program possible.