YSEALI Impact eXL Regional Workshop 2019

Earth Company had the pleasure of co-implementing the US government initiative YSEALI Impact eXL regional workshop in Ubud, Bali – in the “Asian hub of social innovation”, as we’d like to say – in late March 2019.      Launched in 2013 by President Obama, the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) builds the leadership capabilities of youth in the region and promotes cross-border cooperation to solve regional and global challenges.  

This year the US Consulate Surabaya had the opportunity to host the YSEALI regional workshop in Bali, which was designed and implemented by the Hawaii-based East-West Center and Earth Company, in partnership with Elami, Green School and Hubud.   This YSEALI regional workshop in Ubud had a particular focus on “eco-preneurship” (environmental entrepreneurship), serving as a professional development opportunity to existing entrepreneurs from around the region to accelerate their environmental performance and business potential.

For this unique training and networking opportunity, over 140 applicants from 11 countries applied for the 55 available spots. While the participants represented all 11 countries, the biggest groups came from Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam. Their eco-enterprises varied from ethical lifestyle brands to waste management consultancies.   Over the course of 72 hours, the workshop delivered the following sessions:

  • Opening session
  • eXL Learning Journey
  • Expert Mentor Workshops
  • Peer Workshops
  • Impact eXL Peer Investment Gallery
  • Closing ceremony


Learning Journey at Earth Company’s Eco Villa

After the opening event on the first day, the participants traveled to Earth Company’s eco villa in Ubud for the Learning Journey session. The title “learning journey” signals the opportunity to reflect on about their own journeys and to examine the parallels and divergences with others’. Facilitators from four initiatives including Earth Company, Kopernik’s project Pulau Plastik, E.thical, and Five Pillar Foundation were each given one villa for their presentations, and local eco-producers were invited to display and sell their goods. Through this experience, the participants were able to informally learn from and build connections with fellow ecopreneurs  while gaining exposure to the Bali’s startup ecosystem.


Two dozen practical workshops at Green School Bali

On day two, the participants headed to Green School Bali, a K-12 school that provides a natural, holistic and student-centered education, where a total of 25 small group workshops were held throughout the day, including 11 expert mentor workshops and 14 peer-led workshops on topics ranging from basic finance to design thinking. Some of the expert mentors included Bella Galhos, Earth Company’s 2015 Impact Hero and Founder of Leublora Green Village, Maubisse, Dondi Hananto, Partner of Patamar Capital, John Kaaiohelo, CEO of BOD Tech, and William Hendradjaja, Co-founder of Impact Hub Jakarta .


Flipping the investment dynamic at Hubud

The final session, the Peer Investment Gallery, was held at Hubud, Bali’s first co-working space and a leader in the coworking movement in the Asia Pacific.  The Peer Investment Gallery essentially flips the power dynamics of venture investing by giving the decision making power to fellow entrepreneurs rather than to investors. Pioneered by the social accelerator Village Capital, this approach builds on the assumption that entrepreneurs can make successful investment decisions, equally well as or even better than investors who are often removed from the realities of daily operations and end users.   To implement this idea, all the participants were given $50 each to invest in their fellow entrepreneurs. Then, a half of the participants held their own booths while the other half walked around listening to the pitches at each booth and making their investment decisions.  After some time, the two groups switched to complete the process. This experience allowed participants to put themselves in the investors’ perspective and learn more deeply about the innovative initiatives by their peers.


Continuing their own journeys after intensive, inspiring 72 hours

Their three day journey concluded at the beach in Kuta around sunset, where dignitaries joined to hear highlights of the workshop. After dinner and Balinese dancing, certificates were presented to participants to celebrate their contributions and achievements.

Overall the workshop was a huge success. One Malaysian participant found it to be especially effective and beneficial: “The session on how to raise fundings in particular was helpful. On top of that was learning about other entrepreneurs’ best practices, which we can put to our own operations” (Zi Xiang Chan, Langit). Similarly, a Vietnamese participant felt inspired through the network she created through the workshop, “Now I can go home with a lot of ideas from mentors and other entrepreneurs, and I look forward to bring those ideas into reality”(Binh Mi Tran, Nhà Mình Learning Center & Eco-homestay).


“ Impact eXL Bali – YSEALI, East-West Center, Earth Company ”