My journey as a social entrepreneur: from survival to becoming unstoppable
In 2016, Sidharta Runganaikaloo Gannoo, a passionate activist, and her husband Shanil Rao Gannoo conceptualised Sustainable Idea Development Store (SIDS). Together they introduced SIDS, an Eco shop in Beau Bassin in 2021. Their mission? Show people the alternative ways to shift to environmentally sustainable consumption by creating a store in Beau Bassin, which acts as a platform where entrepreneurs producing affordable, ecological, and biodegradable products can make these available to consumers.
SIDS has been selected to participate in Trampoline’s Impact Accelerator Programme in January 2022, and after several months of training and mentoring, we conducted a mid-programme review and the results are quite … mind-blowing! Here’s the full, uncut & unedited interview of Sidharta Runganaikaloo Gannoo.
How was your journey so far as a young social entrepreneur? Was it what you expected?Nobody told me I needed courage. In these past months, I learned that the decision to become a social entrepreneur is an act of courage. Like all social entrepreneurs, I am motivated by a cause and driven to make a difference in my country, through my work. I had a vision in my mind and I thought that was enough to succeed. However, after a few months of participating in Trampoline’s Impact Accelerator Programme, I realised that reality was a different story.
How did the Impact Accelerator Programme change your perspectives on social entrepreneurship?We were seeking advice, resources, and networking when we applied for the Impact Accelerator Impact. Trampoline exceeded all our expectations and really went deep with our journey. ALL our assumptions were challenged. We learned about business model canvas and how to visually represent a business model, highlighting all key strategic factors, among many training. The first stage in the entrepreneurial journey is primarily survival and is characterised by a lot of experimentation and tasks. This whole transition process was quite intense as we needed to refocus, rethink our whole positioning, and how to structure our enterprise. I know now that this is the only way to find a success pattern that will allow any enterprise to survive and, ideally, prosper.
Did you ever think that you were not up for the challenge?At first, all these processes are quite overwhelming. This is when you really need to ask yourself the question; am I up for this challenge? The journey has been intense on many levels, especially emotionally as my husband, who is my only business partner, also works a full-time job. We were taken aback to find out, after doing proper market research, that our user persona was different from what we imagined initially. Even though I could relate to this new user persona, I took some time to accept it. We were also happy to find that we were right about the need for affordable, bio and local produce. The learning process is phenomenal.
How did your mentors and advisors help in the journey?First of all, by telling you things you don’t want to hear (laugh). It was not easy to process all the information, but extremely valuable. They have put timetables in place and different milestones to reach. I am very proud to have managed to achieve a big milestone for me, which is to do a tabulation of expenses. Finances are my weakness and they really encouraged me in achieving this task. They have been extremely supportive and their energy is inspiring. They have played (and are still playing) a crucial role in helping us understand the real challenges we will encounter and how to address them.
A few words to conclude?I have discovered myself during this journey. I have reached breaking point and got up again as I firmly believe in my project. With the structure and support I am getting from Trampoline, I am convinced that I am going in the right direction. Keep your eyes open for SIDS! The adventure has begun!
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