The Deep Dive is a six-day offsite in nature. Its purpose is to shake off stereotypes, forge a deep bond and take initiative. The outcome is a group of change makers with start-up ideas in the field of eco-tourism or sustainable agriculture.
The Deep Dive is a transformational change experience. People camp out in rugged nature. They follow an intensive program of physical activities, individual assessment and joint problem solving. They learn about local cultural traditions and the natural ecosystem. They feel responsible for protecting these and understand its potential for revitalizing their own community. They work on the challenges these ecosystems face and develop start-up ideas.
These ideas are reworked into a set of business propositions, using lean start-up methodology. These propositions are interlinked to form a business cluster. A cluster of connected start-ups is more resilient and is more likely to survive the critical first years. All propositions are embedded in the local community.
After the Deep Dive, participants return home and join the Springboard for the duration of two months. The Springboard is the business development phase. The objective is to prototype and improve the propositions. The start-up teams help each other and look for maximum synergy between their business operations. The focus is on low-tech, low-investment solutions that make smart use of available community resources.
The working principles of the Springboard are action learning, cooperation and self-governance. Classroom teaching is limited to elementary guidelines. The overall group performance takes precedence over individual performance. Coaches provide feedback and monitor group dynamics. Industry experts and entrepreneurs provide mentoring support.
The two-month incubation concludes with an open-air community dinner. The inspiring dinner setting and the broad audience rekindle a common identity shaped by local geography, intertwined fortunes and cultural traditions.
At the dinner, the group presents the proposals. Their goal is to win community-wide backing in terms of emotional and financial support, manpower and political endorsement.
An expert jury evaluates the proposals and awards a grant to cover start-up costs. The grant will be bestowed on the condition that all proposals together constitute a viable cluster.
Four months after launch, we help stage a trade event where the start-ups meet representatives from the international tourism, agriculture and hospitality industry with a vested interest in the sustainable development.
After one year, a new round of programs will start in adjacent areas to develop new clusters, with the participants of the first program now in a mentoring role. The clusters will together form a regional entrepreneurial network and broaden the impact. An online platform will be introduced to facilitate knowledge exchange and collaboration.
The goal of climbing big mountains should be to attain some sort of spiritual and personal growth, but this won’t happen if you compromise away the entire process.
Yvon Chouinard, Founder Patagonia
We truly think your money is well spent here. And if your grant is substantial, your are welcome to witness how it works.
“Food, at the moment, seems to be the only unifying force in this highly fractured place” Ottolenghi