Last month in November 2014, I was lucky to be one of the selected 5 Social Entrepreneurs from Indonesia that got a chance to go to Seattle joining “Project Catalyst” program by JOLKONA and US Embassy.

2014-11-10 13.34.06

I said we are lucky because they only have 2 batch (each batch consist of 5 Social Entrepreneurs) from Indonesia! The next batch in 2015 will be from Bangladesh! We are selected from around 70 applicants that submitting the application online -> interview by Jolkona Co-Founder and teams with the US Embassy. I bring Wanderlust Indonesia, my social business started 1 year ago in creating a unique & responsible traveling experience by connecting traveler and local through volunteering activity. The other 4 social entrepreneurs are :

1. Alfatih Timur – Founder of
2. Nancy Margried – Founder of Batik Fractal
3. Alfi Irfan – Founder of AgriSocio
4. Candra Cahyani Gani – Founder of Bedah Kampus

To me, These amazing 4 people is now feel like part of my family after spending the very cold weeks for us together in Seattle 🙂  You can also read our story here :

For your reference, these are the social entrepreneurs that selected in the 1st batch of Project Catalyst :

1. Mirah Mahaswari – Founder of Pack Your Spirit
2. Nadine Zamira – Founder of LeafPlus
3. Hendriyadi Bachtiar – Founder of healthy Shredded fish project (Abon Ikan)
4. Nadya Saib – Founder of Wangsa Jelita
5. Dino Lefty – Founder of Vertesac

What is actually this program all about? Project Catalyst designed to escalate social business from developing country and leverage the impact of social entrepreneurship by bringing social entrepreneur from developing country to Seattle, to learn about social business, meet prospective investors, and network. They put us through two weeks of intensive training, mentoring, and networking to bring our social mission driven startup to the next level. We attend workshops to refine our business, met the Seattle Start-up community, visit some successful company like Google, Microsoft and learnt to pitch to investors.

Our 2 weeks in Seattle curriculum basically led to this final event that they call “Showcase Event” which we have 5 minutes to pitch our social business in front of the audience in Seattle —>

1st Week – Build Business Plan
We have a very packed schedule during the 1st week to understand our business deeply, defining our vision and mission statement again, explaining it in elevator pitch so many times to different people and the most important thing, meet a lot of amazing people as our workshop lectures, pitch coaches, and lovely MENTOR!

Here are the workshops that we got during the 1st week :

1. Value workshop by Barri Rind
2. Elevator pitch coaching by Ajit Banerjee
3. Workshop #1: Define your Mission, Value Prop, and Strategy by Peter Blomquist
4. Fireside Chat with Sam Chughtai
5. Workshop #2: Execution and Scale by Emer Dooley
6. Workshop #3: Problem solving & overcoming challenges by Cole Hoover
7. Workshop #4: Culture and Leadership by Kyle Kesterson
8. Workshop #5: Tell Your Story by Susan Bloch
9. Office Hour (individual) with Brandon Fleming, Anita Sulaiman, Linsey Battan and Bob Ness


And here are the list of places that we visit in the 1st week :
1. Farestart Restaurant
3. The Seattle Foundation
4. University of Washington
5. Start Up Hall


While this one is the Networking Event / Session that we got :
1. Techstars Demo Day
2. Techstars Launch Party
3. University of Washington Networking Event with MBA Students
4. Dinner with Barri Rind

PC - Networking Session

Above all those activities, we also got chance of MENTOR MEETING twice in that 1st week. My mentor is Maryann Ness – used to be Kak Hendriyadi’s mentor in batch 1 and wife of other mentor, Bob Ness – who is mentor to Nancy Margried! Maryann has over 30 years of experience in all aspects of financial management, particularly for local governments and non-profits.  Background includes Finance Director for a suburban city and a mid-sized international non-profit, and CPA for large public accounting firm.  Major responsibilities have included grant-writing, compilation of annual budget and supervision of accounting, human resources and IT functions.Recently retired and taking classes at the University of Washington in Asian history and culture, including history of Indonesian.  Volunteer activities include Woodland Park Zoo and Washington Community Alliance for Self Help (CASH).  Washington CASH trains and advises financially disadvantaged people in King County in how to operate their own businesses and offers small loans to those who qualify.



The 2nd Week is the Week of CRAFTING OUR PITCH!

This week, we get more intense training and workshop that focus on preparing our 5 minutes pitch. Yes, you have to tell about your social business in only 5 minutes. This is a really big learning for all of us to TELL WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART in our business that we we want people know. Telling our story.

During the 2nd week, we got chance to learn :

1. Workshop #6: Financial Analysis and Modeling by Nawsheen Sharfuddin – our “Mama” Project Catalyst because Nawsheen is the 1st contact communication between us and Jolkona & the Coordinator for Project Catalyst Cohort 2 program! She is AMAZING buddy also for all of us 🙂

2. Workshop #7: Design thinking by Nancy Xu

3. Workshop #8: Prioritization, Focus, Impact & Transparency by Adnan Mahmud – The CoFounder of Jolkona who also CEO of Live Stories, his enterpise that become one of 10 company which selected to participate in intense Techstars program in 2014.

4. PITCH COACHING SESSIONS!!!! Here are our amazing pitch coaches :

Steve Schwartz
Archie Gupta
George Economy
Dan Kranzler
Irene Yamamoto
Ben Friedman
Martina Welke
Ajit Banerjee
Brandon Fleming
Anita Sulaiman

5. Inspiring sharing from Ben Friedman – young social entrepreneur of Homegrown, sustainable sandwich shop!

We also have opportunity to visit :
1. Microsoft
2. Theo’s Chocolate
3. Seattle Tilth
4. Seattle Urban Farm
5. Homegrown
6. Impact Hub
7. Google

And the most important thing is that we have our 5 minutes PITCH session finally on Thursday, 13 November 2014 at WeWork – Yale Avenue, Seattle.



Watch our pitch video here : 

a. Candra Cahyani Gani :
b. Dini Hajarrahmah :
c. Alfatih Timur :
For Alfi & Nancy, they still work on it. 

During 2 weeks, we also have our own homestay host who open their home, heart and kindness for all of us! I have a fabulous host who hosted Mirah from last batch. My host named is Kim Wright and she work as a Director of Philanthropy at The Seattle Foundation. We have great time staying together, have our tea night in front of the TV while talk on some topics, Indonesian-American dinner, pitch practice, and lots of laughs! Thank you Kim for everything!!! I hope to see you soon in Indonesia and have our Wanderlust trip 🙂


Jolkona Super Team!

All of these event & ideas arranged by a Foundation based in Seattle called Jolkona who is Founded by 2 awesome husband & wife; Adnan Mahmud & Nadia Mahmud. Adnan is also a Founder of Livestories, a social enterprise envision to make data for non-data people! During 2 weeks, we are hosted by most of Jolkona team and they are all awesome! Thank you Nawsheen, Monica, Nancy, Adnan, and Nadia! 🙂

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Seattle Ecotourism / Community-Based Tourism 

One of my objective joining this program is to partner, find the network with Ecotourism enterprise in Seattle that might be interested to have the destination & project in Indonesia. So, I met 3 of Ecotourism founder in Seattle that inspire me to improve Wanderlust & bring it to the next level. Hopefully, we can make a partnership with them and more International travel company. 3 of them are :

1. Crookedtrails – Chris


2. Meaningful Trip – Joe 


3. Red Lantern Journeys – Ambrose & Irine


Seattle Exploration!
Even though we have only 2 weeks and our program is very packed & full, I dont want to miss any traveling part to see the city and surrounding! As Seattle famous with a very grunge city, The 1st Starbucks Store, Space Needles, and the beauty of its nature – we found sometime to  explore the city by our own. Kim also bring us to Brainbridge Island in my last day in Seattle before I continue the journey to Vancouver.

Seattle City 2

Seattle City

Thank you Project Catalyst JOLKONA, Thank you US Embassy for supporting this program & Thank you all the mentor, coach, speaker, entrepreneurs. Thank you for all the awesome host, thank you for all Seattle people!!! You are all awesome!! 🙂

In February, we gonna have chance to present about our social business only in 2.5 minutes in @America – Pacific Place in front of US Embassy & some investors. Lets wish Wanderlust & all the social enterprise the best of luck! 🙂


Keep Wandering,

4 thoughts on “Project Catalyst by Jolkona & US Embassy – Learning from Seattle

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