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The idea itself was obviously not enough. Ivana and Julius decided to sign up to Idea Camp (Impact Incubator). A stable team is being created. During the Idea Camp (Impact Incubator), several people presented their Social Business or Technology for Good ideas and then formed teams. This is when Gabriela Bezáková, experiences in the financial field could join the team, which two people in the purely artistic sphere were in the need of. Together with the last member – Rado Mark for Marketing, the team called “ECOBAG”.
“For two months, we have been working hard in the Impact Incubator to improve our idea based on mentoring and workshops, creating a business plan, creating a marketing strategy, running a market analysis through a questionnaire, stitching the first sample of the school backpack.” remembers Gabriela
The name is creating a brand with the meaning. Gabriela is additionally is explaining to us how the name was created. “We’ve improved our presentation skills and spent countless hours adjusting every detail. In the end, the name has changed from the original “ECOBAG” to “NOŠA” somehow naturally. This name comes from Slovak tradition – older people can remember classical “noša” for sure, used by our ancestors to wear wood on the back. “Noša” has the basic meaning of “wearing”.
What makes the project exceptional?
Gabriela thinks that it is its originality. “It is the first school backpack of its kind in our country and abroad. There is a number of manufacturers who are starting to bring natural materials and items to their backpacks, but none of them has ever made a purely natural and light school bag.”
In fact, primary school pupils have the most vulnerable backs as they are still in the process of growing. When going to school every day, they suffer under the weight of textbooks and school supplies, though the child should carry up to 10% of own weight.
In addition, imagine the tons of plastic waste that are generated by regular replacements of school backpacks, for some pupils even 1 or 2 times a year. NOŠA aims to prevent such an inexorable overwhelming of our environment by plastic, following the slogan:
“When our backpack serves out, bury it in the woods or bring it to us and we compose it.” ?
NOŠA wants to support the traditional textile production in Slovakia, which, unfortunately, has fallen sharply in recent years, but they decided to be working with a textile factory in Veľký Šariš in the Eastern Slovakia. The materials and components are exclusively from Slovak and Czech producers.
Beginnings can be difficult.
“At first you have to think about a lot of things … write a good business plan, raise the money to start, arrange a hill of “paper mill” (start up a company, set up a bank account, get a good accountant, ideally also a lawyer, regularly write a cashbook …), consult with experienced experts and experts in various areas of business (accounting, marketing, production, finance, in our case also with a physiotherapist, etc.).” agrees the team of NOŠA.
“In other words, it is necessary to improve the product according to the reactions of customers and the public, to solve social networks, to write articles and contributions to them, to analyse the market and to seek external financing” adds Gabriela.
What kind of advice would you like to give to young people who want to run their own social business?
Not to give up –go through all the obstacles and without compromise! Keep in mind what you want to achieve in your projects. Even little help is help.
(by Ivana Krištofíková, Mgr., Julian Tupta, Gabriela Bezáková, noša s. r. o.)