Written by Zainab Habib
SoJo has a great team of staff members. We have brought people on board because we identified their potential and fit with the organization and the roles at hand. Our passion for SoJo’s vision and our commitment to use our skills towards that vision are the fuel necessary to keep SoJo moving as we continue to grow.
However, we were able to recognize instances where some team members were "underperforming". Goals were not being met, and deliverables and deadlines were falling through the cracks.
By taking the time to understand their strengths and limitations, we were able to adjust responsibilities and roles where they could take ownership and
that were better aligned with their capabilities and interests. These minor changes included focussing one team member exclusively on one project and entrusting another with organizational work that had to get done in a different area. We then noticed visible differences as we watched the transformation from “underperformance” to full potential and flourishing in these tasks and roles.
I later came across this article on hearing too many questions
on the site. One of the main reasons leaders hear too many questions from their team about their work is because they might have “delegated tasks rather than results, vision, and resources”. We let team members take charge of the tasks by letting them know what we were expecting at the end (vision and results), while ensuring they had the know-how and resources to get the work done.
Here is what I learned from that experience:
#1. We constantly have to re-evaluate and identify when changes need to happen, and to recognize that we cannot be shy to act on the changes necessary to keep SoJo moving forward.
#2. We want to move away from delegating tasks to owning the vision of what those tasks should lead to. In our case, we couldn’t have done this without Step #1.
Rather than working harder, I work smarter with the limited time I do get with each of our part-time staff. Working with staff on things they take ownership of is what helps develop them and SoJo to their fullest potential.
Today is my first day back at the office since our team meeting at the beginning of the month. I've been travelling overseas, for the past 2 weeks, but consciously decided to disconnected entirely from the Internet for most of my travels. While my hectic travel schedule did not feel like a vacation, being disconnecting from the daily inflow of work communications was desperately needed. My last Internet detox occurred 7 months ago.
The difference between this detox and last detox -- was last year I created detailed workplans for every team member before leaving. Aware that the team required guidance and direction, I took it upon myself to pre-orchestrate operations and team outputs.
I left the office a few weeks ago with a different type of confidence. While I had high-level discussions of expectations of deliverables with some of the team members, I really left it up to everyone to see what they were able to accomplish without my guidance. This laid-back approach happened for two reasons: (1) I didn't have the mental capacity or time to micro-manage everyone's schedules, as I could hardly keep up with my responsibilities (2) I wanted to see how the team managed without my direct involvement in the day-to-day operations of SoJo.
My phone number was given to our key team members to get in touch if emergencies arose. Never once while I was away did I doubt our team's abilities to handle whatever came their way -- giving me piece of mind that I haven't yet experienced. It was great.
I'm now slowly catching up with the team to check-in on their status and progress. I was pleased (but not surprised) to discover that most things continued to move forward. Albeit I identified inefficiencies and know that some outputs would have increased had I been there to catch the bottlenecks, but all in all, the team did very well. Rather than get caught up on the things that didn't go well, I focused most of my feedback on what was learned and how things can be done differently next time.
My hands-off approach over the past few weeks is proof that the team is equipped to handle daily operations, providing me with the space needed to scale and grow SoJo.
AJ and Kanika at the start of the event
Written by AJ Tibando
Last night Kanika and I went to the International Start-Up Festival, held at the CN Tower. It was one of my first ‘tech’ events, as most of the networking events we go to fit more on the ‘social innovation’ side of SoJo. It was a great event. While we were just there for the networking, many of the start-ups were taking part in the Elevator Pitch contest - where they had to make their pitch to investors literally inside the CN Tower elevator and they only had the length of the trip from the bottom to the top to win over the crowd. What a great idea!
It was interesting to see the difference in the crowd and the type of ideas and projects they were starting, and to compare the worlds.
Usually when I’m talking to people in the social innovation world, I find myself listening to their ideas and thinking in the back of my head, ‘Ok, but HOW?’ People have incredible ideas for changing the world and making an impact, but sometimes I’m skeptical about how they’re going to actually execute their idea. This time I found myself asking the exact opposite. People would describe an app they were developing and to make it easier to decide where to go for dinner or make online shopping more intuitive – interesting ideas but I could hear that voice in the back of my head saying, ‘Ok, by WHY?’ Some were trying to make a difference, but most were just trying to make a profit.
I realized that one of SoJo’s greatest strengths as an organization is that we’ve focussed every step of the way on making sure we could answer both of those questions. For us, WHY we do things determines HOW we do things – and our strategic business decisions have always followed that thinking. Last night was a great reminder that what we’re doing really is new and unique, and it reinforced to me how important it is that we get this model right because it could hopefully change how people think about launching a new start-up in the future.
Rebecca working on SoJo's website
In September SoJo welcomed two high school co-op students. A risky decision that paid off with great rewards. Today is one of our high school students' last day with SoJo. Rebecca was responsible for publishing 100s of articles online, writing unique content, research activities and following our daily news feeds. We got accustomed to seeing her in the office everyday, with a bright smiling face and great work ethic. We're happy to know that SoJo was a formative experience for Rebecca, as she begins her career as a writer. Read her thoughts and reflections on her experience working as a junior editor with SoJo:
Before coming to SoJo, I had no idea how booming the startup world was, or what social innovation really meant. I was just your average high school student, harbouring unrealistic hopes of doing my co-op internship at a fabulous magazine.
But when the idea of SoJo was brought to me, I was definitely intrigued. And now, after four months of writing, editing and learning, I’m really glad I took this opportunity.
Working as a junior editor at SoJo, I learned a lot. My supervisor was Zainab, SoJo Editorial Coordinator. She was smart and supportive, someone I’m really glad I got to work with. I was inspired by Kanika’s work ethic; seeing how much travelling and work she does. Her commitment to SoJo is outstanding. Jesse, the Product Lead who manages the website, was also helpful, fixing bugs and helping me navigate through technical issues as I learned how to publish content online. Everyone else on the team in general was really friendly, and welcomed me with open arms.
I’ve had so many highlights during my time here. The team meeting in November was fun, eating chocolate, discussing SoJo’s next steps, and meeting new people. Writing my book review was also a highlight for me, it being the first real, professional piece of writing I’ve published. Working with Robleh Jama of Busy Building Things was interesting, being able to collaborate with him and get my feet wet doing real journalism. It was definitely a learning experience.
I also really loved working from SoJo's office in the Digital Media Zone (DMZ) ! The DMZ is a multidisciplinary workspace for research and learning, home to many startups in downtown Toronto. It’s such a bright, open workspace with fun, smart people. It was not what I expected from an office, which I thought would be cubicles and deadlines. Everyone is working on something cutting edge and new, and everyone is supportive of each other. Working in a space with forty other companies seemed daunting at first, but it’s been fun meeting new entrepreneurs and learning about what they’re working on. I’m also definitely going to miss the food! Around the DMZ, there’s always cake, snacks, pizza and other assorted foods. We’re always celebrating and encouraging!
As for the future, I’ve recently applied for a teen editor position at an online magazine. The gig entails writing content/blog posts, making playlists, writing book reviews, etc. With my new experience at SoJo, I think it will really give me an edge over the other applicants. Digital publishing is obviously a big part of online magazines, so I’m glad I got some real life experience with it through SoJo. Wish me luck!
I feel really lucky to have been able to do my co-op placement somewhere as unique and new as SoJo. Even though it wasn’t a trendy magazine, SoJo was even better, providing me with new skills and new experience in the world of startups. It’s been a long ride, but I’ve definitely made enough memories, friendships, and experiences to last a lifetime. Written by Rebecca Mangra
About an hour ago I submitted SoJo's application to the Future Fund. This was the fifth and final step of a long, tiring and very competitive process. SoJo is among the finalists and we have a really good chance of securing the funding needed to grow our organization. This is a great opportunity (especially in light of our recent funding challenges), so I prioritized extra effort on this task.
While this was my first time writing a grant proposal and my learning curve was fairly steep, it wasn't my first time writing a proposal. Last year started with SoJo's application to a prestigious Fellowship
, I assisted Jesse writing our first research fellowship (which he received), and despite everyone's doubts - I miraculously completed an intense 89-page proposal for a Research Grant
in the Fall.
Similarly, SoJo has been through 4 product launches: a closed Beta
, open Beta
, official launch
and finally a cross-platform
mobile version. All of those launches resulted in working around the clock, all-hands-on-deck attitude, intense focus and endless details. Many parallels can be shared with the experience of writing major proposals and product launches, however my attitude is different towards both of them: Saying what you're going to do vs. Just doing it
SoJo has been action-oriented since its inception. Innovation is not knowing all the answers, so we trusted the process and consistently received gratification as we learned and progressed. On the other hand, telling people exactly what you plan to do and how you're going to do it is quite tiring. To me, it feels contrived, and in some ways an inefficient use of time to write out a master plan- as it is rare that things go according to plan. Control over timelines
All of our product launch dates were self-imposed. We decided when we wanted to complete them, and held ourselves accountable to ensuring all launches occurred on time. Application deadlines are not in our control, and often force us to work at times when we do not want to work: ie over the Holidays or during key strategic business planning times. Control over outcomes
The win from a product launch is clear: our product advances and is better. The win from a proposal isn't so clear. If you are successful - awesome. Team SoJo has collectively invested over 100 hours into this recent application. If we're unsuccessful, there will be great disappointment for not succeeding and frustration for all the time that was invested with little to show. I'm learning to lower my expectations on outcomes and seek value from the process instead.
While its clear that product launches are a lot more exciting for our team while we're in them, writing applications for external support are just as important to grow the organization. I must treat them both with great importance and while the outcomes are different, the time dedicated to each one is equally valuable.
The last day of the year is always a very reflective day for me. Reflecting on all that was accomplished and learned -- and how that will influence behaviour and decisions in the coming year.
2011 was a highly experimental exploratory year. While there was great confidence in the need for a resource like SoJo, we didn't know exactly HOW it would come to life. With100s of exploratory meetings and discussions, and an incredible amount of hard work the year ended with our first beta product launch.
2012 can be summarized as the year of fighting.
With a product under our belt an increased clarity on how SoJo fits into the world, we were:
- Fighting to prove our legitimacy to prospective partners
- Fighting to explain the value of SoJo to people who just weren't listening
- Fighting to establish and defend our legal structure (which we're still figuring out)
- Fighting to convince funders of the impact created by SoJo
- Fighting to get the attention of people who blatantly dismiss and ignore us
- Fighting against a system and sector that operates fundamentally in contradiction to our values
- Fighting to show the world that we are capable of doing the intangible and achieving excellence
Demand for SoJo's resources are higher than ever. At the same time, our team is more stretched than ever before. I need to be cautious of how we allocate our resources and energy. Mental energy expended on fighting is wasted resources that serve no value to SoJo. I'm done fighting. I'm done with the associated negativity. I'm done with trying to prove myself or SoJo to others.
Most of my talks this year were centered on struggle, adversity and overcoming the naysayers. SoJo is in a beautiful position to invent the future. It is so much more powerful to inspire through a vision, instilling values of an ideal of what the world should look like, rather than focus on its shortcomings.
I started this year with a resolution not to drive myself into the ground
. Fighting (or the perceived need to fight) was exhausting, and in many ways brought out the worst in me. It took a toll on me mentally and can be attributed to an unpleasant burnout
. Since I'm not really good at keeping resolutions, I've now decided to end the year with leaving behind Fighting.
SoJo is a moving train. We will gladly welcome onboard anyone who shares our vision and commitment to seeing it a reality -- but the train will not stop or slow down for the those who don't make it to the platform on time. They can catch us at another station, but for now, SoJo needs to value itself more and trust that it has all the support it needs to push forward.
While I let go of fighting, I hope to liberate this chip on my shoulder which has only been growing deeper with time. The ecosystem was not very kind to me in the early days of SoJo, and continues to act in ways that I don't agree with. As a response to these frustrations, I've been sub-conscientiously trying to prove everyone wrong. Instead of wanting to prove people wrong, I need to stop reacting and focus on proactively building the future. Over the past couple of months, SoJo has achieved phenomenal success, recognition and we have the strongest team ever.
The best way to end 2012 is to let go of the negative energy and celebrate what makes us awesome.
The Ontario Trillium Foundation launched a Future Fund -- a fund to support ideas that will strengthen the infrastructure for young social entrepreneurs in Ontario. This fund has SoJo's name written all over it, as SoJo already meets all of the Fund's stated desired outcomes. Yesterday I was invited to pitch to the committee allocating the funds from the Future Fund, in addition to other investors, funders and stakeholders.
While I've spoken dozens of times on stage about SoJo and "pitched" SoJo hundreds of times informally to prospective partners and supporters, a pitch to an investor -- with a clear expectation of money on the other end -- was a whole other story. Reflecting in hindsight; I placed a greater deal of pressure on myself this time, as the stakes were higher considering the uniqueness and potential of this opportunity meeting some of our financing needs.
Many hours went into the presentation. Some team members helped to frame the story of SoJo in a concise and engaging format. An advisor who has successfully raised many rounds of venture capital financing, and someone who has been on the other side of 100s of pitches shared additional thoughts on the storyline. One of our very talented designers successfully interpreted that story into hand-drawn cartoon-like representations. SoJo's brand and identity is built on a do-it-yourself theme, and my pitch to an investor needed to represent that as well. A corporate-like presentation wouldn't do justice.
Having never been a fan of powerpoint presentations, I was forced to step out of my comfort-zone of picture only slides, to add text and numbers to the presentation. For the first time, I had to get myself out of the "delivering a workshop" mindset to a "selling your vision mindset."
Despite being down with influenza for more than a week (and almost voiceless the night before), I woke up yesterday morning pumped and excited. All of the nerves left me, as I was excited for the opportunity to share SoJo's good work to an audience who had the power to help us in a very meaningful way. While I do wish I had a little more life into my presentation, I am very pleased with my pitch and left feeling confident in how I represented SoJo.
This Fund is highly competitive, so we'll see if SoJo is something the Fund sees value to invest in. Regardless, this process has thought me a lot about communication and understanding your audience, skills that I will undoubtedly use and refine in the near future.
It's a word that I have a twisted obsession with: the more I hate hearing myself say it, the more I use it. It comes out of my mouth without a second thought, and I've become so comfortable with this word that I've lost consciousness of using it. My lack of self-control has forced me to outright ban this word from my vocabulary. The B-word being BUSY. Here is why: Busy is relative
While there is always a need to improve my time management skills and my ability to create more space in my life for non-work related activities or personal down-time, at the end of the day, BUSY is my new normal. I will never get through my inbox or complete the entire to-do list. Busy is a relative term. What is busier than busy? I've over-used this word to the point that it has lost its relevance. I must accept the fact that the demands for my time will always outweigh the amount of time that I actually have. As such I must be smarter about how I choose to allocate my time, and not let BUSY be my excuse for putting the effort to actually change my behaviour. Being busy is being rude
Everyone has a lot going on in their lives. When someone asks me to meet this week and I tell them, "I can't, I'm busy", I'm making the assumption that my time is worth more than theirs. If I make a commitment to participate in an advisory role and do not attend the meetings, I'm in fact using BUSY as a cover-up and am indirectly telling everyone I don't actually respect the other advisors' time, because if I did, I would honour my commitment. Being BUSY is fairly presumptuous and outright rude, actually. If I legitimately do not have time in my schedule, instead of saying that I'm BUSY, I should tell people when my earliest availability is and also reconsider ongoing commitments. Lacks articulation
When people ask me how I'm doing, my gut response is to say "I've been really busy." I've started to catch myself get too comfortable using the B-word as a catch-all-phrase. Using BUSY as a catch-all phrase belittles myself, as this word really doesn't mean anything. It is not concrete or tangible. Rather, I'm hoping the B-word Challenge will force me to be more articulate, and list out the actual activities that have been occupying my time. Perceived loss of control
As alluded to above, BUSY doesn't actually mean anything. If I cannot articulate the things that keep me BUSY, then am I really
that BUSY? Saying that I'm BUSY is most often followed with a sigh, anxious tone or frazzled look. BUSY is most often said in lieu of "I've consciously decided to allocate my time this way, and I'm in full control." If I'm consistently using the B-word, then it can be perceived as my inability to control my time. Busy is not synonymous for confidence. In my role, I must always sell SoJo and my ability to deliver on our vision. Always telling people that I'm BUSY doesn't emanate confidence or control. Not a badge of pride
A recent NY Times essay
states compelling arguments about society's obsession with self-imposed busyness. The writer refers to the 'Busy' Trap as "a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness." I would like to be seen as someone who achieves results, not as someone who is always BUSY. In fact, I'm on personal mission to prove that it is possible to achieve success without driving yourself into ground, and with grace. BUSY is not graceful. By constantly telling people I'm BUSY, instead of the work that gets done, I'm essentially feeding into this vicious cycle of the busyness trap.
It's going to be difficult to go cold-turkey and omit a word entirely from my vocabulary that I use multiple times a day; hence my public documentation of this challenge. To help hold me accountable, everytime someone from my team (the individuals who interact with me most consistently) catch me using the B-word in context, I will have to buy them a gift. If anything above resonates with you, then I encourage you to take on The B-word Challenge with me.
Trevor working on SoJo from Latin America
This post was written by founding team member, Trevor Gair.
Although not my idea, SoJo became my baby. I am so grateful to have played a role in its early stage creation. From the outset, my primary role evolved into building SoJo’s community. This was appropriate. I love to connect people, learn about new media and own a licence to experiment.
From Guatemala, on March 8, 2011 I sent SoJo’s first tweet
. From there I tackled Facebook and LinkedIn with a goal of spreading word of SoJo’s mission to make new friends and inspire action. Later my duties would include the monthly SoJo e-Journal newsletter and several rounds of feedback solicitation from early adopters.
Building an online community is the underestimated pillar of successful internet business today. Inspiring individuals to believe in and actively support an avant-garde concept is challenging. Engaging them deeply enough so that they become advocate users even more so. I am so pleased to acknowledge that already thousands of changemakers are making good on their passions through SoJo and that the budding community is one of the contributing elements.
I have never lived in Toronto and so always worked with the growing SoJo team remotely. In fact, it was eight months working with Kanika virtually before we actually met in person. This had a profound effect on my relationship with and outlook on the venture. I believe it helped me to think like a typical SoJo user – somewhat isolated, dreaming big and working hard
. In essence, I have lived one of the core pillars of what SoJo seeks to foster – that there are no barriers to building what you are passionate about seeing exist.
This October I made the decision to pass forward my responsibilities
within the SoJo team and embark on an international voyage that I have been dreaming about for years. My decision to depart bears no reflection on my belief in SoJo’s mission or direction. Since our public beta launch in November 2011, the venture’s momentum has continued consistently in a positive direction - oscillating only intensity during different periods. I believe the future brings with it accelerated growth and success for SoJo. The world is ready for what we envision and the SoJo team will deliver.
As I left home for new adventures on November 1st, I was able to route my flight itinerary to the Middle East through Toronto. A brief 22 hour window enabled me to share laughs and engage in constructive team building without the need for a virtual Google Hangouts. It was special and truly brought to life the quality of individuals that Kanika has assembled to help make SoJo a reality.
I wish the SoJo team all the best going forward. I will be following closely. I can’t wait to see my baby all grown up!Follow Trevor's international adventures through Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and India at www.trevortravels.weebly.com
This is Part 1of a multi-part series of SoJo's journey of seeking the funding needed to scale its operations and bring it to a point of financial self-sustainability.
Up until now funding has not been an issue for SoJo, as the focus has been on proving the value of our product and the need that SoJo is filling in the market. I believed and continue to believe that if you deliver a valuable service or product, then there will be the resources or market to support that product. Rather than focus our time on securing funds, we were busy building, serving our community and validating the consumer-facing product.
SoJo's product has been validated many times over. With an endorsement from the Canadian Commission for UNESCO as a leading educational platform, an active community of over 2,000 individuals without marketing or outreach efforts, and over 65,000 pages viewed online, and incredible press coverage around the world, it’s safe to say a resource like SoJo is needed by early-stage social innovators.
Over the past 2 years, I've been monitoring the resources and funding options that are available, as I knew we'd eventually need to tap into them and also feed onto our platform. Here is a highly simplified overview of the funding landscape in Canada:
· A not-for-profit with a proven track record of managing funds or a charitable organization that has been through the hoops of receiving CRA charitable status and delivered on projects already are normally eligible for non-refundable grant money from private foundations or government agencies.
· Traditional for-profit organizations with a proven business model, built prototype and validated proof of concept and normally eligible for debt or equity financing to scale growth or build out the product further.
· The most common form of support comes from friends and family of the founders who invest in the founder and their ideas, because they want to support the individual or believe in their ideas.
SoJo is an early-stage social innovation project and when speaking with my peers we all share the same rant: there's big talk, but early-stage social innovation financing is virtually non-existent in Canada
. Yes, there are many competitions and awards (which dominate the airwaves leading us to believe that this funding exists). However, the probability of getting them is less than 1%, based on the ever-growing demand for these funds and often allocated based on the bias of the grantors. SoJo was a semi-finalist in the one of the largest awards for social entrepreneurs and we gave it our all -- but were unsuccessful. Grants route:
Innovation by definition is the act of making what already exists better or starting something new
. Although "social innovation" funds are starting to pop up among foundations, applicants must still be either a registered charity or have a proven track record of financial management to show accountability. Although I understand the funding constraints found within these organizations, I will be honest when I say it's contradictory (and counter-intuitive) to demand applicants fit into traditional organizational structures, when innovation is all about starting something new. With no charitable number and only a few dollars in our bank account, this makes us ineligible for many of the opportunities available. We've since built strong relationships with some of the larger funding agencies and I will continue to explore and create opportunities. Umbrella organizations exist to support innovative projects, acting as a financial and legal fiduciary but they take a 10% overhead charge on all incoming funds (which is a lot of money for a tiny nimble organization such as ours) and only work with unincorporated projects - further making SoJo ineligible.
SoJo is still eligible for traditional non-refundable grants if we find our own fiduciary sponsor. SoJo partners with over 50 nonprofits and charities. I personally reached out to everyone who is eligible and not a single organization was able to help us out. Either they are applying to the same funds themselves or their Boards are not comfortable assuming the risk that comes with the added legal responsibilities. Conversations come to a dead-end, and I end up feeling like I'm 'begging', when I know that SoJo has nothing but value to add. I've spent nearly 2 months seeking out a fiduciary sponsor and have since realized it’s no longer worth my time to actively pursue this route. Equity investments:
SoJo has a brilliant vision for its revenue model, and it will come from its B2B Whitelabel product. This product has been anecdotally validated by various HR professionals and staff from prospective clients. However, rule #1 of business is that until you have a paying customer, your product has not been validated
. Without a validation, it’s difficult to seek mainstream debt and equity funding.
This B2B product will create a market that does not yet exist. SoJo has no competitors right now on its public-facing site, and our market research shows that there are no competitors in the B2B market that SoJo will create. The price of this product can only be dictated by the market. With a market that does not yet exist, the return on investment is so speculative at this point it won't be even worth anyone's time to discuss those numbers or create a business plan. The plan is to get our pilot customer to share in the development costs, serving as validation, which will allow us to seek the appropriate funds (or generate our own revenue) to build out this product. Until then, equity or "impact investing" types of funding are not an option for SoJo.
In the interim, I've been advised to take the time to create a competitive analysis for this product which can help convince prospective investors of the potential that lies in this market; however it’s still going to be long stretch. SoJo has since hired a Business Development intern who will help with these activities.
Although the B2B has great potential, from our strategic planning emerged the importance of focusing on the consumer-facing (B2C) product. With B2B on hold for the next year, these funding options seem ever distant. Friends and family:
Between the volunteer hours, in-kind support from partners and financial investments from the founding members (and our families) over 13,000 hours and $500,000 have already been invested into SoJo. Albeit most of this money is in-kind, it does not dismiss the significance of the investment and risk already taken by those involved in SoJo. It’s fair to say, we've exhausted friends and family and this is no longer an option.
Why does SoJo need money?
As alluded to in my previous blog post
, a part-time unpaid team cannot fuel the growth that is needed to make SoJo the universal ubiquitous resource for early-stage social innovators. We have taken this as far as we could without external support, and have come very far may I add; however, we are quickly running out of steam. SoJo needs money so it can build http://theSoJo.net
to the point where it can sustain itself (aka bridge funding).
I've read enough reports and heard enough people talking about the importance of supporting social innovation. Social innovation starts somewhere, and for those of us in the trenches, in our early stages and without all of the answers, the outlook does not look bright.
SoJo's vision is to be the
starting point, to provide social innovators with the knowledge and emotional support needed to get started and stay motivated in the early days of their journey of creating positive social impact. With a world of ever-increasing social, environmental and political challenges, no one will deny the importance of getting more people and fresh minds involved in building and acting on creative solutions to these challenges. For social innovation to thrive, all of us in the ecosystem need to provide more support to the early-stagers. SoJo is doing its part through education and emotional support, however its time for the rest of the ecosystem to step up and invest in early-stage social innovation. Otherwise this thriving ecosystem will continue to leave brilliant ideas and incredible potential to the curbside; a shame, especially when I know the resources exist. As I navigate through the challenges and frustrations of seeking bridge funding to bring SoJo to the point where it can be financially self-sustaining, I plan to candidly document this journey on http://SocialJournal.net, with the goal of welcoming more suggestions and the hopes of attracting more attention to this important, but overlooked issue.