Over the years students from Chalmers School of Entrepreneurship and the School of Intellectual Capital Management have conducted several projects all around the globe. In the year of 2009, the Seaweed Center Project was founded by the students of CSE'10. Since January 2010 the students of ICM'11 will take over the task of further develop the project. This blog has the purpose of giving you the opportunity to follow the development of the project.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Final Day - Time to Summarize and Reflect

Yesterday I tried to explain how I felt watching the fantastic soap production work shop with the seaweed ladies like this;

Imagine as you just have won the world cup in football, you are sitting in the locker room after the final, you have the shiny buckle in your hand, and you feel warm, happy, exhausted and just extremely satisfied at the same time. In that moment, you feel that you have everything you need in live”

Actually, that feeling pretty summarizes how I feel now, the last night of this fantastic week. However, enough with feelings hit and dit. In this blogpost I will (1)try to tell you a little bit about our last working day at the Seaweed Center, (2)then evaluate the oucome of the week compared to the objectives in our project plan and at last (3) present to you the Top 5 List of the ICM School Project Week.

(1) The 5th of November started extremely early for a large part of the project group. The alarm clock rang already 4:30 and Viktor, Annika, Ida, Sebastian, Marcus Gave and Sebastian headed of to swim with dolphines before breakfast. After our second last breakfast at Zanzibar, half of the project group went to a well deserved time on the beach as the same Viktor and Daniel went to clean the factory, and also to have some quality time with the engineers and the machines a final time. Also, these two lovely students (one in the Business Arena and one in the Judicial Arena) made a plan how the factory will look like when the process is up and running. Of course, this factory plan is according to all the fantastic theories as an industrial engineer can mention in one breath (Lean, TQM, Kaizen etc etc.)

After lunch, the beach group had some quality time with the Seaweed Center stamp in order to finalize the last soaps before they were carefully packed in boxes yo bring to Sweden. Consequently, the quality of the soaps will be as high as possible on the ZanziBar Soap party on the 3rd of December. At last, the fourth and last workshop with the Seaweed ladies was performed. The theme of today was “English teaching”, and the fantastic teachers Ida and Annika performed almost the whole workshop wearing the Zanzibar traditional “Kanga”.

At the moment, myself is blogging in our mobile office (ak.a. the restaurant at the Blue Lagoon Hotel) while the rest of the group is working on a Seaweed Dance that will be perfomed on the Zanzibar Soap Party.

(2) Now, I will try to evaluate the performance of the project group by linking all our outcomes to the objectives of the ICM'11 school project.

  1. Establish a market and create sales channels

    - 20 sales meeting with hotels has been performed. In a clear majority of these, the marketing team has got an extremly positive response, and it is obvious that the Seaweed Center has a hole on the market to fill.

    - A meeting with ZATI has been performed, with a number of praises as outcome along with promises of helping us with marketing in the future.

    2. Development of the Operations
    - Sebastian and Daniel has had hours and hours of quality time with the engineers, and today two of three machines are ready to be used.

    - Four computers with management control systems has been donated to the Seaweed Center and is ready to be used.

    - A lot has been perfomed, both before and during the ICM'11 School Project week regarding packing and design of the soap. Today, the Seaweed Center has a product porfolio of protoypes that has been quality assured by input from the market.
    3. Creation of legal and company structures
    - The structure of the company has been done since months ago, and at the moment, the Seaweed Center are close to be registred as a company in Zanzibar.
    4. Establish the Seaweed center as a knowledge center

    - Today, the Seaweed Center is used every friday as a lecture hall during english classes offered to the local people of the paje village

    - During the project week an “English Workshop” were performed together with the ladies.

(3)As you can see, the project week has been a success. Still, there is a lot of work before the Seaweed Center will be up and running to 100 %, but we are today one step closer than yesterday. The week has been filled with activities and experiences that I will remember for all my live. Therefore, I will try to summarize the week in this fantastic Top 5 List;

5. the Seaweed ladies tour, when we got the opportunity to go with the ladies to their farm.

4. Ana of Zanzibar, a fantastic sales meeting at a fantastic hotel, that served a fantastic mango/passion juice

3. Sean Kingston - Fire Burning, the theme song of the week

2. Jamal, (boy to the left on the picture) one of the sons of the seaweed ladies. He charmed us all and also, at the age of 10, outcompeted Sebastian Palmgren in math skills.

1. The machine workshop with the Seaweed ladies, as I sais just like winning world cup in football.

At last, sorry for making this blog post too long, but it is hard to summarize a such fantastic week in less than 800 words. The plane to Sweden leaves in 17 hours. See you in school on Monday!

Best Regards


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Good feelings - Thursday 21th of November - Sebastian

As Annika said in a spontanous speach earlier today, “it's been a great day” here in Paje.

But before I tell you more about that, I'll tell you about last night's cliffhanger that Annika left us with in yesterday's blogpost; the party at Teddy's place. To put it short, it was a great experience dancing on the sandy outdoor dancefloor with a good mix of masais, tourists and social entrepreneurs.

“The marketing team” (Anders, Marcus, Viktor and Harish) was today in Stone Town so now everyone in the team has experienced the vibrant feeling of the exciting capital on Zanzibar. The prime reason was a scheduled meeting with ZATI (Zanzibar Association of Tourism Investors) but they also had some time for running errands buying stuff for the seaweed center. Marcus three spontanous key take-outs are:

  • A lot of people in general and a lot of very nice people in particular

  • Beautiful city

  • Poor air quality

Annika and Ida spent the morning doing a lot of things with the most important one being carving a wooden sign with the ICM logo which will be put together with the CSE logo on one of the walls of the seaweed center. We promise a photo of these once they are up! Both Ida and Annika have been working incredibly hard the last couple of days so they definitely deserved the break on the beach that they managed to take today (even though they prepared for our english class that will take place tomorrow during this short “break”).

Coming back to what made this day, at least for me, great. It all started two days ago with two amazing engineers arriving to Paje from University of Dar Es Salaam. Since then, me and Daniel have been working hard and well side by side with them in the soap factory, not leaving the cave until the sun set. They taught me a lot; everything from the nitty gritty details of soap production to how you eat the coconuts standing on the seaweed center garden.

So today, we organized a workshop for the seaweed ladies and 21 one of them showed up in the factory in the late afternoon. Me, Daniel and the engineers (translating to Swahili) demonstrated the whole process of how to make soap; from caustic soda and palm oil to extruded uniform soap bars. The women were very enthusiastic, took a lot of notes and asked a lot of questions. So what was so great about this day? We could officially say that the seaweed center's machines finally works!!!

After the workshop, we all went upstairs together with the women (I plan to introduce the descriptive term “the platform” for this place) and they thanked us all that have been working with the seaweed center (this goes especially to all of you guys at home) and gave us some delicous food containing seaweed.

Tomorrow is our last full day here in Paje. In order to make it a bit special we will do an excursion before breakfeast. We just got our fins and cyclops for tomorrow's tour as we are going swimming with dolphins at sunrise meaning that we leave from our beach house at 5:00 in the morning. We are all really excited but more about that in tomorrow's blogpost!

Take care and see you all soon!


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Another amazing day at the Seaweed Center

Wednesday November 3rd

What a day!

We started off in the morning before breakfast by following some of the seaweed ladies out to see how they harvested and worked with re-cultivating the seaweed. It was a fantastic morning and we all got test to disbud seaweed from the already growing strings, put down new sticks in the sand and tie the seaweed to the new string. We also had the opportunity to ask the women all about their seaweed farming!

The only one who did not participate in the seaweed tour was Daniel. He went up early to meet with the engineers at the Seaweed Center at 8, but when the engineers finally arrived the time was already 8.30 and they decided that they better eat breakfast before starting off with fixing the machines. So, Daniel concluded that his first 2 hours in the morning was for no use. :)

Hakuna Matata! This is Africa!

After breakfast we all splitted up in our different teams. Anders, Marcus, Viktor and Harish went to the nearby village Jambiani (or Jambalaya if you ask Viktor) to continue the selling and marketing work. There they got the recommendation to go north of Paje to the smaller luxury hotels, which seems to have been a great success according to the happy faces that came back! Ida and I (Annika) spent the day by fixing a lot of small things, like documenting everything we have learnt about soap production and raw material prices, started to make the ICM signboard that we will put on the wall of the seaweed center and running after Abel to get information about everything we needed to know. Sebastian and Daniel has worked really hard the whole day together with the engineers to get the machines to function. It took 3 hours to get a generator to drive the machines (all generators were already rented out due to all partying to celebrate the election!) but after that they started to run the blending machine with at least some success! There is some fixing needed before it will work properly, but we do at least have produced a first batch of soap mass!

Tonight there will be a party in Paje! It will start of at Paje Blue Lagoon where we eat all meal, and continue at a place called Teddy's place, and we are all looking forward to it! More about how it went in tomorrow's blogpost! :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tuesday Nov 2

Hakuna Matata – Hakuna Matiti – Hakuna Matako!

We woke up all excited about the second workshop with the ladies, this time taking place in the Seaweedcenter. At 9am everything was prepared and the ladies started to drop in, except for Monaisha – the only one who speaks English. After 45 minutes we were mentally prepared on doing the whole thing in body language and Swahili and we struggeled with explaining our thoughts based on our three page dictionary in Lonley planet. It was hard to know if the women were nodding politely or if they understood anything of what we were trying to say. When Annika showed the sign boards they got super excited about seeing themselves on the pictures and they wanted to bring them home. After some turbulent minutes Monaisha arrived and we could finally start a two way communication. We demonstrated the soap machines and what the shop will look like and then it was time to go upstairs to package the soap that was prepared this Sunday. Inspired from kids club arts and crafts sessions I tried to make a pedagogic work flow with different stations and the women took on the task with enthusiasm. After 1,5 intens hours we ended up with 350 soaps (that will be sold on the “ZanziBar Soap Party at Yaki-Da” Dec.3.) – SUCCESS!

We showed our appreciation with a few applause and eating watermelon. We also made plans for having an English class on Friday and we will join the ladies tomorrow morning to harvest seaweed. During the workshop Sebastian found a new friend who outcompeted him in advanced subtraction.

There was no time to waste and despite yesterdays success it was time to go for another shopping trip in Stonetown. This time it was a girls´shopping trip and our new friend Monaisha came with us.Annika and I found ourselves bargaining oil prices in a small office in the suburbs and buying clove scent from a hole in the wall in narrow allyes. And I totally agree with Sparre “It´s not like the market in Nossebro”

Back at the hotel we were exhausted and there was only one thing to do – AW on the beach!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Stonetown shopping, 1/11 – 10 part 2/2

We all survived! Today we split up in two teams. Me, Sebastian, Annika and Ida made some adventureous shopping in Stonetown while Gamme, Viktor, Harish and Anders went marketing. It is election time on Zanzibar and the results were planned to be announced in the afternoon. Rumours say that the locals use to meet during the election, be together and throw some stones on each other. Therefore the name of the city. Chased by the election announcement we headed off in the morning in order to be out of town at noon. Stonetown was dirty and cosy in its African way. We met with Dr. Flower at her university office and discussed machines and soap ingredient purchase when we suddenly had to evacuate the university office. Since we did not want to take part of any potential stone throwing we had to skip visiting the print shop in central town. Instead we fixed our errands in the outskirts of town where everything was nice and calm. On the way out we passed a sports arena containing a whole army, standing by.

We bought a wheelbarrow for the women to carry seaweed from the ocean to the Seaweed Center. It had the guaranteed quality of carrying a hotel manager. Down in the deep and dirty allies we managed to find some caustic soda. Other purchases was grease and ”5-56”, which me and Sebastian used for making a face lift of the machines, while Annika, Ida and Tomas had a seaweed store design competition.

Other day to day amusements are Sebastian's fear of falling coconuts, why he takes detours, and Harish's immense fear of rats and lizards, why he sleeps in jeans.



By: Anders Sparlund

Disclaimer: Open Office does not include a spelling interface.

Weather wise, Monday morning was nice and sunny compared to Sunday's intense raining.

Breakfast is served at 8.30 at the The Blue Lagoon hotel. This day, it consisted of bread, omelett and fruits, among these some of the most delicous passion fruits that my eyes ever have witnessed. Being a loyal and faitful customer to the fruit- and vegetable range of Netto Odinsgatan, I must however retreat for the Zanzibarian fruit capabilities. Simply astonishing. Even the banans are kicking here.

At 9, the working day was initiated. For the Marketing Team, Monday was the day for taking first contacts with hotels in the close Paje area, seeing whetheer they were willing of becoming a collaboration partner to the Seaweed Center. The plan was to visit/attack the hotels in teams of two; Viktor/Harish and Sparren/Gamme.

We started the day by practising through the meeting scenario a final time, Sparren/Gamme being the critical hotel owner and Viktor/Harish being social entrepreneurs. After this session and evaluation, we were ready and eager to throw ourselves out in the blue ocean that is the hotel cluster of Paje.

Sitting in the car (driven by a local taxi driver holding valuable knowledge both in Paje geography and zanzibarian folkway) we probably all felt a bit nervous for a potential “belly-flop”. How would the hotel managers react on us showing up from the middle of nowhere? Would we be ignored like teenagers selling Omega 3 pills at Drottningtorget on a cold November morning?

We were about to realise, that our anxious feelings were truly unjustified.

The first hotel was owned by an Austrain, a veteran from the Dubai hotel business. He greeted us with a smile and we sat down. As we pitched the project and its different parts for him, we got to understand that he actually had already bought 100 packages of seaweed soap from the local women. He was very enthusiastic, both over the social sides of the Seaweed Center as well as the positive branding effect that the soap would have on his hotel.

For the marketing team, the rest of the day was a king's tour, confirming our hopes for a genuine demand of the services that the Seaweed Center has to offer. They were ALL interested in taking part in some way! True hapiness! We received all their contact information and a lot of good input on how the collaborations were to be constructed.

Apart from these prosperities, travelling from hotel to hotel the group atmosphere was both merry and pleasant, inviting to worthwile discussions. Harish for example gave some useful input about the tiger/panther situation of India.

At five o'clock, we were back at the “office” (the cousy and elevated bar of the Blue Lagoon Hotel). After creating a database and compiling the information from the day, we met up with the rest of the group in our “casual office lobby”; the Indian Ocean. We actually had the recapitulation out among the seaweed cultivations. Most supersonic.

Now we've had dinner. Everyting is calm. Everything is nice.

Best regards,
Anders Sparlund