OneLeap aims to bring social entrepreneurs and serious investors together
November 8, 2012
The world is brimming with good ideas, but presenting them to the people who are in a position to make them happen presents a formidable challenge. OneLeap, launched earlier this year, is a web-based networking platform designed to fix this situation by bridging the gap between entrepreneurs, investors, influencers and top-tier executives, while raising money for charity in the process.
OneLeap’s aim is to reduce the six degrees of separation between people to, well, just one leap. Charity is at the core of the concept. Entrepreneurs sign up to use the service and pay a modest sum of money to a contact for advice and other introductions. OneLeap will take a 20 percent commission and the rest goes to the charity of choice of the person contacted.
OneLeap promises that users will hear back within 10 days, or they will get their money back. In order to apply, entrepreneurs use their LinkedIn account and answer a few questions to see if the service is a fit for them. A reply will be sent within 48 hours. Only when accepted will the user be asked to make the donation and then get the chance to write a short introduction letter to their targeted contact.
In order to maintain accessibility, there is a wide range of fees, from as low as US$5 to $250, which, according to co-founder Hamish Forsyth, a former senior adviser in the UK Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, is the highest price paid so far. “But most people are much less expensive,” he told Gizmag.
Dan Berelowitz, the British entrepreneur behind the International Centre for Social Franchising, provides an example of how OneLeap can work. He used the platform to contact several influencers. These included Wim Leereveld at the Access to Medicine Foundation, Eugenie Rives at Google Africa, and Geoff Lye, of SustainAbility, who also introduced him to other influencers. Iain Rawlison, chairman of the Monarch Group, put Dan in touch with Lord Stone, who presented his ideas on social replication to the House of Lords. He also put Dan in contact with the UK’s oldest children’s charity, Coram, with which he is now in talks about a project to scale up their mobile classroom operation.
So far the website has gathered 2000 members from over 30 countries and Forsyth says the total money raised for charity will be disclosed when targets are met.
“Helping charity is important to us – that's why 80% of the contact fees go to charity. However, the most important thing is that we help entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs, regardless of their background or where they are from, to get through to people who can help them develop their venture. That is key to our social mission, as well as our business mission,” he said.
Other OneLeap co-founders include Robyn Scott, who co-founded Mothers for All, a Southern African social enterprise backed by the World Bank, Barclays and the EU, and Damien Scott, who works for Williams F1 as general manager of the Williams Technology Centre in Qatar.