Copacabana or Ramsey – The Final Beach Walking Video?

Farewell for now Brazil. It was a wonderful journey.  I hope you enjoyed following the adventures, and the inspiring stories from the social entrepreneurs.  Have you been inspired to take your own Inspiring Adventure?  I hope so!

Together with you, I visited all five regions of the fifth largest country in the world in just over five weeks.  I feel very lucky to have been able to meet and share the stories of more than 15 social entrepreneurs with you.

Inspiring Adventures is now has more 2600 followers. My fun YouTube videos have been viewed more than 50,000 times, and my articles are starting to be published on major online content providers. Thank you for your interest and support!

I feel very grateful that my stories will continue to spread, and I am happy to be part of a positive journalistic movement.  I strongly believe that we can all find amazing people doing inspiring work where ever we look.  From exotic locations on the other side of the world, to right in our own local neighbourhood.

As you can tell from the video, I’m now back in the UK. I will continue to share fun adventures, along with stories to inspire you to start your own adventures.

The journey is the reward

Join The Hub Crawl – A Co-working Co-walking Adventure!

  • Want a fun adventures around three of London’s coolest social innovation coworking spaces?
  • Want to have a drink and a walk with socially minded people who are working on interesting projects?  

Then the Hub Crawl is for you! 

It is a 4 hour guided group journey around all three Hubs in London, on a Friday evening. It’s been running for more than a year, and we’ve taken more than 100 people on Hub Crawls.

Eventbrite - Hub Crawl! The Social Innovation Adventure

Why attend?

  • Enjoy a fun night of adventure around London! It just so happens to coincides with the weekly Friday night members drinks at each Hub…
  • Learn about social enterprise and coworking. If you didn’t already know, coworking growing rapidly, and the Hub is a global network of these spaces and a community of social entrepreneurs.
  • Connect with interesting, like minded people. The best feedback is that people have a fun night with great people.

What is the Hub?

The Hub is a global network of  more than 35 coworking spaces and a community of social entrepreneurs.

The Hub Crawl London takes you from the very first Hub in Islington, through to the beautifully designed Kings Cross (with its own bar), to one of the very latest Hubs in the global network in Westminster.

Eventbrite - Hub Crawl! The Social Innovation Adventure


Inspiring Adventures also arranges bespoke tours to meet your needs. If you’d like to request something special, simply fill in the form below.

Parque Das Aves, Part II – Overcoming Adversity

We left the story just after learning how much entrepreneur and founder Dennis Croukamp had risked in setting up a bird park in Latin America, and then sadly, he died.  You can see Part I of this story here.

From Carmel Croukamp:

Overcoming adversity

Anna Croupkamp, who had been a housewife for sixteen years and had never run a business, moved to Brazil. She now says that if she had known about all the obstacles she would face, she would have been too terrified to do it.

The odds have always been stacked heavily against the bird park – everyone from shady businessmen to government authorities have tried to close the bird park down at some point. Nature conservation in Brazil is not easy.

Now, it’s the biggest bird park in Latin America, with over 500 000 visitors a year.

With our profits we’re able to support a number of social and conservation projects in various parts of Brazil (supporting education, scientific research, reintroduction programs, organic agriculture and so on).

Social Entrepreneurship

As for social entrepreneurship, however, the Bird Park project has been about building a business that by nature produces socially positive results.

There are the obvious benefits of giving Brazilians a positive experience of the natural environment by spending rare time in the Atlantic Rainforest and, in our walk-through, flee-fry aviaries that allow people closer contact with wild animals than you’ll find anywhere.

We also educate 35 000 schoolchildren a year in a rapidly expanding environmental education program vital to an area and a culture where deforestation, trafficking and poaching are rampant.

In addition, 47% of the birds in the park are animals rescued from traffickers and maltreatment. 43% have been bred here at the park, and we develop programs to reintroduce birds into the wild (many of these endangered species).

Many of our staff, by the way, are former poachers and loggers, some of whom have now become expert bird handlers. Our staff love what they do with a passion.

Flying High

As Anna goes into retirement, the running of the park is passing over to her daughter, Carmel and son-in-law. There’s still a long road ahead and the sky’s the limit.

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How to set up a Social Enterprise in Iguassu Falls – Parque Das Aves

“One of the most interesting concepts from the bird park story is that, when starting your own enterprise, it’s never possible to correctly assess all the risks or the possibility of success.

Successful enterprise is about just starting something and then going all out, fighting to the death and developing your product as you go along. Most people are far too sensible to start their own business.”

Carmel Croukamp, Park Das Aves

I first met the Croukamps on the Isle of Man.  Every year, hundreds of thousands of people visit their park, but how many of them know and understand what it took to get started?  That is the story I would like them to share with you.

In Carmel’s own words:

The Bird Park

The Bird Park is a social and conservation enterprise in the endangered Atlantic Rainforest. We’re set right next to the Iguassu National Park, home of the magnificent Iguassu Falls. We make our money from tourism, charging entry fees for a unique experience of close contact with native birds in the jungle. This enables us to breed native and endangered species, conduct scientific research and educate locals on the environment.

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The Beginning

Parque das Aves Brazil was started by Dennis and Anna Croukamp in 1993. Dennis was an entrepreneur, Anna a vet. They both fell in love with parrots when a friend gave them a tiny, bald, ugly baby African Grey parrot, which they hand raised and which became a member of the family, flying free outside during the day, eating at the dinner table and going to sleep under a tea towel on Dennis’ lap every evening. Eventually, they had quite a collection of parrots.

When they retired to the Isle of Man, Dennis got very bored. One day, a former manager of his came to visit and told Dennis of this place in Brazil with the most beautiful waterfalls, and that he thought they should build a crocodile farm there together. Dennis said, “I don’t like crocodiles, I like birds”.

Opportunity, and Tragedy

The idea was initially just to put together a project and to raise capital from larger investors. In those days, the Brazilian currency, the Cruzeiro, was still in hyperinflation, and the rule of law, actually only few years after the collapse of the dictatorship, was pretty sparse, especially in the notorious Triple Frontier (Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina) region. The Ernst and Young handbook on how to do business in Brazil said: “Don’t”.

Almost inevitably, the investment deals fell through. Dennis lost his business partner, and he was left with the decision of losing all the capital he had put up so far, or of going all in and risking his entire retirement fund to finance it all himself. Dennis was passionate about this project. He decided to risk everything.

He spoke no Portuguese, he knew nothing about building a zoo or of tourism, in a climate fundamentally uninviting to entrepreneurship. He poured all the money he had left into the park. Dennis and Anna sold their cars, jewelry, everything of value (Richard: In fact, my father bought Dennis Croukamp’s car).

They started building. When they ran out of money, they opened the park to a small trickle of visitors. Then Dennis died.

Continued here…

Social Entrepreneur Profile – Leonardo Letelier and sitawi, Rio De Janeiro

Leonardo Letelier is the founder and CEO of sitawi, the first social enterprise fund in Brazil. He was previously Ashoka’s full economic initiative director in Brazil and a senior engagement manager at McKinsey & Company

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I met Leonardo Letelier when I was working at Oxford Jam – the “unconference” for social entrepreneurship.  Leonardo was attending the Skoll World Forum (SWF) on Social Entrepreneurship happening next door at the Oxford Business School, but like many of the SWF delegates, came to Oxford Jam for the interactive, fun, and lively talks that were taking place long into the evening.  I recently wrote this blog post about the value of the connections that come from attending events like this.

My conversation with Leonardo was engaging, entertaining and also very useful – It was obvious he knew what he was talking about when it came to social enterprise and finance. He told me about sitawi, the social finance not for profit organisation he had set up in Brazil.

He started it with a mission to develop financial infrastructure for the social sector. In pioneering the concept of social finance in Brazil, sitawi created the country’s first Social Fund – multiplying the impact on some of the most vulnerable people, communities, and ecosystems. It wasn’t as easy as that makes it sound, and the story of the first year, and the first few loans really show Leonardo’s entrepreneurial flair.

Since 2009, sitawi has lent over US$1 million to 10 organisations and sitawi won IADB’s beyondBanking award for socially responsible investments in 2011 and was featured in Stanford’s Social Innovation Review magazine. ssireview.org/articles/entry/journey_into_brazils_social_sector

I encourage you to read that article, as it was written by Leonardo and gives an insight into his personal journey through the University of Sao Paulo, an MBA from Harvard Business School, consulting at Mckinsey, director at Ashoka to founding sitawi.