by Marise Cipriani on September 27th, 2012

Life and the Camino

by Marise Cipriani, Kapoks founder and President

Today is my arrival day at Santiago de Compostela. It is hard to believe that 31 days have passed. I started this journey with very high expectations, probably because of 22 years thinking about embarking on it, planning, imagining....

It has been beyond my expectations.... I loved every day of it. The easy ones, the enjoyable ones AND the challenging ones - physically and emotionally....

And every day the relationship between life and The Camino has become clearer, they are one in the same, if I choose to see so, life is just longer.

At The Camino- as in life - it is an attitude. I get up and I have a choice how to face the walk of the day. It maybe a difficult walk...a boring walk....an easy one....My attitude would actually define how that walk would be. If I would let go of expectations, any preconceived knowledge of the walk, and just be in the moment and concentrate on one step, on my breath....it was a perfect walk.
I had days that at night all my muscles hurt so much. Days that I could not imagine how I would walk the next day, but the body surprises me...and it heals and I go again. There were days that I started the walk and to think of 28/30 km ahead of me was daunting, but it was like an energy stronger than me would move me and soon the day was over and the kilometers were walked, as though with someone else’s legs.

Such is Life. More than ever I believe that there is a force, bigger than all of us, that guides us and all we have to do is listen and follow.

There were so many amazing moments during this journey, moments of being totally connected with my breath, with each step, with the lightness of each step....but as in life, it was not all the time.....I would snap out of it and think how many more kms I have, it is too hot, too cold, too windy, my blisters hurt....and then again I had a choice....and the moment I was aware I chose to feel good....or simply enjoy that moment for what it was....like the day I really enjoyed the cold rain and the wind on my face....even though I was tired from walking more than 20 km in the rain.
And the perceived difficulties are just a big contrast for what I want, so it brings clarity. The last few days have been very intense for me. The thoughts about my life, past and future....What do I want for this next phase of my life? I know very clearly now what I want more in my life and what I don’t want in my life. It became even more clear what I love and how grateful I am for my life. I love life, I love my life.

I am blessed beyond words. I am blessed by my health, I am blessed for having the children I had, I am blessed my having my husband, the parents I had, my friends, my sisters, people that are in my life...my work, people who work with me...

I am eager for my next steps...my next steps with my husband, my children, at Granby Ranch, and my work with Kapoks.

One of the things that became very clear for me is how much "lifting people up" elevate my spirit. With Kapoks I have this opportunity in a very deep way –- an opportunity to really recognize the intelligence and the entrepreneurial spirit within.

I am so grateful for all the support I have received from many of you—all the amazing messages and comments. The donations given to Kapoks from many of you is also heart touching...
Many of you said that were waiting to see how many kilometers or miles I walk, so you could do a donation based on that number. As of today I have walked 766.5 km (476.5 miles). Tomorrow I have 12 km to go (7.45 miles) to arrive at the Cathedral of Santiago. If you are still interested in making a donation please click here

At The Camino, we wish to each other, many times a day: Buen Camino and really mean it.

Wishing to all of you:
Buen Camino - Buena Vida!

Marise Cipriani

by Heath Dewey on September 21st, 2012

Collective Impact

Enterprise Facilitators from two continents joined together last week to hone their skills at the 2012 Enterprise Facilitation Fall Forum in Atchsion, Kansas. The forum was hosted by Northeastern Kansas Enterprise Facilitation program.
 
The Enterprise Facilitation Fall Forum is held annually during the summer. The venue changes each year but is generally held in a central location and is hosted by a local Enterprise Facilitation program. The Forum provides an opportunity for Facilitators to learn more about their profession and gain insights into recent developments in Enterprise Facilitation through fellow Facilitators and Master Facilitators such as Linda McCowan of the Sirolli Institute. 

"This is my favorite time of year, when all the Facilitators share their experiences and their knowledge. They each have different backgrounds and styles but they all help build businesses in their communities," said Linda. 
 
Enterprise Facilitation programs support the development of businesses in the communities they serve. This is accomplished in two primary ways. First, an Enterprise Facilitator provides free and confidential business management coaching. Second, networking capability is enhanced through the development and utilization of a community Resource Board that commits to supporting the development of entrepreneurs by accessing personal and professional contacts. Working together, the Enterprise Facilitator and the Resource Board can dramatically impact clients' business dreams. 
Enterprise Facilitation programs from the United States, Canada and Europe turned out for the event. Facilitators were inspired and reinvigorated by the Forum skill development activities and their interactions with each other.
 
“Meeting and talking with other Enterprise Facilitators from across the country and around the world gave me renewed inspiration and new ideas for my work,” said Enterprise Facilitator Patrick Brower. Brower works for the Granby Enterprise Initiative, a division of Kapoks that’s supporting grass-roots economic development in the Granby, CO area by following the Enterprise Facilitation model.
The presentation by Enterprise Facilitation creator Ernesto Sirolli of the Sirolli Institute was welcome by everyone. Ernesto's lifetime of experience with Enterprise Facilitation and his particularly rousing presentation skills made him a crowd favorite. The above is his presentation from a recent TedX talk.
 
The 2012 Fall Forum was a strong turnout and another positive step forward for Enterprise Facilitation as a methodology that supports community and economic development. The potential for Enterprise Facilitation to impact small business growth in the United States and beyond is enormous. The collective impact of these programs continuing to interact and working together could see the expansion of Enterprise Facilitation to communities across the map.

by Heath Dewey on August 27th, 2012

A spiritual journey and a fundraiser for Kapoks

On August 28, Kapoks founder Marise Cipriani will begin her journey on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. She will start from Saint Jean Pied de Port, in France and cross the 4,964 feet of elevation gain over the Pyrenees into Spain. Thirty-two days and 432 miles later she will arrive in Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain, on the 28th of September.

Walking the Camino is an opportunity for Marise to find a deeper spiritual meaning and to raise awareness of Kapoks and its mission. Kapoks supports the passions of entrepreneurs in communities around the world with business coaching and community development. Kapoks is a combination of three things that are very important to Marise: Compassion, empathy and the entrepreneurial spirit.
Marise has been in business most of her life, starting with helping her Father run his company from the early age of sixteen. The excitement, energy and prides she derives from running her own business is as important to her as the compassion and empathy she feels it is important for all of us to cultivate. She realizes that many friends, mentors and family members who supported and believed in her dreams assisted her business success. In Marise's words, 

"There is not an entrepreneur in the world that can succeed on their own. We all need help to be the best we can be. That is why Kapoks is so important. Think of how many people are sitting in their kitchens dreaming of a business that could prosper if they had a little help to get started."

Marise is sharing her pilgrimage on the Camino with the world on her BLOG and with Kapoks by associating a fundraiser with her journey. She sees the 432 miles as an opportunity to develop her own spirituality and compassion while also raising funds for Kapoks.
Kapoks began its first program this year in Granby, Colorado. Granby is a rural community of 1,500 people in the Colorado Rockies. The program has been in place for only seven months and has already assisted four new businesses and has many more working through stages of development. Kapoks' next program will take place in the town of Lourenço, Amapá – in Brazil. Lourenço is a poor community located in a remote area of the Amazon jungle. Funds raised during her Camino By Marise fundraiser will be used to support both programs.

Four hundred miles is a long way and the physical and spiritual transformation will be a challenge for Marise. A challenge she welcomes, "We must continue to grow spiritually, professionally, personally, or else we are not making the most of the time we were granted on this Earth." I think we all know this is true but it always helpful to be inspired by a person like Marise Cipriani that practices what she preaches.

Funds raised through Camino By Marise will support passionate, energetic entrepreneurs in the development of thriving, sustainable communities around the world. You may enjoy following Marise's progress on her BLOG. If you want to comment on her posts she would love to hear from you. Please learn more about Kapoks by visiting the website kapoks.org.

by Heath Dewey on August 6th, 2012

Granby Enterprise Initiative

Like many communities in the United States, Granby, CO has been impacted by a slow national economy. Despite the challenges of the current economy, Granby has a goal to be the most entrepreneurial community in the Colorado Rockies.

The Granby Enterprise Initiative is the first Enterprise Facilitation program in Colorado. Last month the Granby Enterprise Initiative celebrated its 6-month anniversary. In these six months the Granby Enterprise Initiative has already developed a solid foundation for the growth of local businesses.
The Enterprise Facilitator supports the development of new and existing businesses. As business coach, the Enterprise Facilitator, Patrick Brower, has already assisted one business owner with re-opening their business. Annie’s Angels is a local home cleaning service that now employs over 12 people and boasts 800+ clients. Brower has been introduced to over 500 people in the community and is well known as the guy to talk to if you want to start a business. When we spoke to Patrick he was honest about his development as an Enterprise Facilitator,

“It has taken some work to understand the Enterprise Facilitation methodology but I am much more comfortable now and in a great position to really support my clients. I am excited for each of my clients and their business ideas. I can see how their businesses will change their lives and benefit Granby.”
Believing in the principal that isolation is the death of the entrepreneur, the Granby Enterprise Initiative has already developed a system of support for local business owners. In addition to the Enterprise Facilitator a Resource Board is in place that consists of over 40 community members. The Resource Board uses its network of contacts to connect the Enterprise Facilitator and his business clients to resources
Once a month Patrick presents an overview of his clients and their needs to his Resource Board. He makes specific requests and lets the Resource Board brainstorm through their contacts to address the entrepreneur's needs.

What entrepreneur wouldn’t want to open a business in a community that provides that sort of support? 

Kapoks wants to congratulate the Granby Enterprise Initiative on developing a foundation for achieving their goal of "becoming the most entrepreneurial community in Colorado".

by Heath Dewey on June 25th, 2012

Moe Forouzan is the Enterprise Facilitator helping to build small business in Blaenau Gwent, Wales. We had the opportunity to talk with him about his work in this video.

Six weeks ago Kapoks had the opportunity to visit Blaenau Gwent, Wales and see the impact that one-year-old Enterprise Facilitation program, Blaenau Gwent Effect, has had on local business growth.
In their first year of work Blaenau Gwent Effect has helped start 20 new local businesses, created 24 new jobs and expanded 2 businesses. This is exceptional for any type of economic development program, particularly given the short time of operation. 

Enterprise Facilitation is a community-driven economic development tool that supports the growth of local business. The three key components of Enterprise Facilitation are the Enterprise Facilitator, a Community Resource Board, and a Management team.
"Give man a fish feed him for a day, teach man to fish feed for a lifetime. Lots of people here in the community want to be self sufficient, want to support themselves. They just need a bit of help and encouragement. That is what Enterprise Facilitation is all about." Stephen  - New business owner and Blaenau Gwent Effect Ambassador
The Enterprise Facilitator is a business advisor. She/he helps existing or potential business owners build their businesses around the core principle of the Trinity of Management. The Trinity of Management acknowledges that three key elements must be in place in order for a business to be successful:
  • Product/Service
  • Financial Management
  • Marketing
The Enterprise Facilitator helps each business owner identify their strength among the three key elements of management and to connect the business owner with other people or resources that help them complete their management team. 

This is where the Community Resource Board comes in. The Resource Board is a group of community members that have committed to assisting the Enterprise Facilitator. Their main role is to work as a networking group, opening their network of personal and professional contacts to the Facilitator so that she/he can help clients develop a strong three-pronged management team through local and regional contacts. For instance, a local accountant can quickly become a financial manager for an entrepreneur that is unfamiliar with strategic product pricing.

The Management Team is responsible for ensuring program sustainability. The Management Team is composed of community leaders and concerned stakeholders that believe in the ability of Enterprise Facilitation to create opportunities for existing and potential business owners in their community. In order to ensure program sustainability the Management Team is encouraged to cultivate expertise in the three key areas: product/service; financial management; and marketing. 
"...I know people that previous to Moe (Enterprise Facilitator) didn’t have jobs or any aspirations with regards to business but now are self-employed business people. We will see how that spreads across their families and impacts their families massively so I think it is working extremely well." Louise - New Business Owner and Blaenau Gwent Effect Ambassador
Enterprise Facilitation is a team effort that relies on strong community involvement to succeed. Buy-in and support from the community is an early challenge for programs such as Blaenau Gwent Effect but once it has been achieved new businesses are in a position for growth. Moe Forouzan and Blaenau Gwent Effect have shown how a committed, community-driven, team effort can positively impact job growth.


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