From an idea to Clinton Global Initiative University: Andrew Crawford’s Reflection
Founder of Loy Loy, Andrew Crawford, attended the 10th annual CGI U
After Loy Loy’s official release into the market, founder Andrew Crawford was invited to attend the annual Clinton Global Initiative University, a conference where leaders across the country share and develop innovative solutions to tackle global issues such as poverty alleviation, climate change and public health. This past October, CGI U exclusively invited 1,000 students and experts to develop their ideas further or network for potential partners. I interviewed Andrew Crawford for a personal account on the unique experience and his advice for aspiring social entrepreneurs.
Andrew, founder of Loy Loy a financial savings game for alternative economies, found a gap in financial literacy, particularly in women factory workers from Cambodia. Having studied micro-financing for 7 years, Andrew was attentive to the unique method of saving called a ROSCA, or a Rotating Savings and Credit Association, amongst groups of low-wage Cambodian women. Loy Loy the board game, primarily focuses on financial inclusion and its main objective is to shift perspectives towards a sharing economy and expose the realities of living beneath the poverty line. Especially in developing nations where few banking institutions exist, Crawford and his team believe ROSCA groups act as supportive insurance for one another. Loy Loy is a universal educational tool that teaches people how to spend, save and borrow when resources are scarce.
Crawford recounts his experience at CGI University as inspiring, collaborative and successful. Over the span of 3 days, the Clinton Global Initiative conference hosted a series of workshops, networking events and panel discussions with successful social entrepreneurs, and even former President Bill Clinton. Through this, Andrew was given the invaluable opportunity to exchange ideas with like-minded peers and receive feedback for improving Loy Loy. One of the most rewarding experiences, however, were the “office-hour” type sessions in which attendees were given one-on-one time with successful entrepreneurs to receive insight and advice on how to progress their unique social impact idea. Crawford states that the networking events gave Loy Loy better exposure and increased potential markets for the board game. While Loy Loy was one of the most developed ideas at CGI U, it was still important for Andrew to gain confidence and motivation to continue improving Loy Loy. In other words, by working with individuals who share similar passions in alleviating poverty, Crawford felt inspired and rejuvenated.
Moving forward, the next milestones for Loy Loy include exploring potential markets, finding investors, and engaging public interest for the game. With Loy Loy officially in production (the purchasing link can be found here), Crawford is shifting his efforts to expanding Loy Loy’s exposure. At CGI U, many professionals enthusiastically supported game’s revolutionary objective and suggested several routes such as NGOs like the Peace Corps, local banks, or entrepreneurship centers. By aligning Loy Loy with similar non-profit organizations, the game can begin to attract target populations in developing countries. Andrew stated that one of the most important takeaways from CGI U was that start-up social enterprises require dedication and passion; successful people don’t just get viral out of nowhere. With that being said, he leaves aspiring social entrepreneurs with these words of wisdom: “Get out there! Make sure to hear other ideas in order to further develop your own and create personal connections rather than individual promotion. Also make sure to network and regularly connect with everyone either through email or LinkedIn. Nobody can be successful alone”.
Interested in following Andrew Crawford’s path to success with Loy Loy? Consider entering the 2017 Beall New Venture Competition- Social Impact Solutions Competition Track.
For those who are interested in creating a social impact start-up, check out the 2017 Beall New Venture Competition. The UCI Blum Center is proud to sponsor the “Social Impact Solutions” competition track and has awarded more than $10,000 in prize money!
On November 15, 2017- The Paul Merage School of Business, ANTepreneur Center, and UCI Blum Center are hosting ANTSgiving: Building Social Enterprises that Make a Difference, in which a panel of non-profit entrepreneurs will speak on their endeavors and advise students on their business plans. We encourage you bring in your social impact ideas for the New Ventures competition for review!
The event will take place at the Merage School Auditorium, Room 1200 from 6:00pm — 8:00pm.