Hub Spotlight is a column hosted by HUB Islington, an incubation space for socially driven entrepreneurs. Every once in a while we catch up with the people leading change.
We know Tim Loonen as an Impact Hub Islington member through Tripbod, an innovative service which lets locals help plan original travel experiences, but in his other life Tim is also co-founder of My Name Is Kumar, a social enterprise that supports the Care Foundation to provide education to former begging children in the South of India.
Impact Hub Islington: Hi Tim, tell me about ‘My Name is Kumar‘ in a nutshell.
My Name Is Kumar is a foundation set up by my girlfriend and me after volunteering at an Indian organisation for half a year. We raised money here in the Netherlands and the UK to fund the education of 30 begging children who are rescued from the streets by the Indian organisation that we support. Now we have a collaboration where My Name Is Kumar provides support through both financial and business advice.
Impact Hub Islington: How does the collaboration work?
We were looking for ways that we could incentivize the Indian organisation to create things that we could sell here, but we also wanted to show them the worth of the money that we sent them. We didn’t want to just be a tap that they could open when they needed funds, but we wanted to enable them to become self-sustaining. So by using one of the assets (rice bags) they already had in a different way, we can enable that organisation and the local economy.
The product we came up with were these rice bag pillow cases. They had these beautifully printed, colourful rice bags that they were using as cleaning cloths, or throwing away. Through a simple tweak, we’re now supporting their local tailor and showing them a viable business model for upcycling rice bags.
Impact Hub Islington: Proudest moment so far?
Proudest moment was last summer when we went back to see how the project had developed and we sent two young boys, aged two and three, to school for the first time. One of them was Kumar, whom the organisation is named after.
Impact Hub Islington: What’s going to happen next?
We’ll be exploring different routes for the Indian organisation to be self-sustaining. That translates into what we can do with the rice bags, other ways to raise money, and strengthening the Indian base and connecting them with more people and surrounding organisations.
A big thank you to Tim Loonen and My Name Is Kumar for donating their first test production run of rice bag pillowcases to Impact Hub Islington – you can see them dotted all over our cozy space!