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Dawlish woman sells house to fund social enterprise start-up

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: August 12, 2014

Jaki Bent, CEO of If Everyone Cares

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A Dawlish-based social enterprise company has been awarded a place at The Summit Dublin, the largest technology conference in Europe.

If Everyone Cares has been selected as one of the most innovative technology start-up companies in the world with its first initiative called Ododow, designed to pinpoint helpful charities and organisations.

It is a boost for founder Jaki Bent, who even sold her house to fund the project.

She said: “When I decided to work on the project I looked at 'what was the worst that could happen?' that was giving up my house. I accepted that.

“So I gave up my job and lived off my credit cards - not something I would advise anyone to do.

“The more I talked to people the more I knew that this was needed. There were days when even I thought I was crazy but I wouldn't be able to sleep at night now that I know what I know and have spoken to so many people who would benefit from it.”

The interactive community map pinpoints all charities, not-for-profit companies and community projects across the UK.

Just over two years ago, the idea for ‘Ododow’ was voted third, by the public, in the Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Unite Challenge to ‘Screw Business as Usual’.

The project was invited to the summit through its Alpha Program.

It offers a limited number of early stage start-up companies to exhibit for free and gives them the opportunity to increase awareness, generate strategic connections and raise financial support.

The company has only had £9,000 official funding including £5,000 from UnLtd and £4,000 from Lloyds Banking Social Entrepreneurs and School for Social Entrepreneurs.

Last year, the summit had 10,000 attendees from 54 counties - this year it is expected to be in the region of 20,000 attendees from 96 countries.

The small team of volunteers have given more than 15,000 hours to launch Ododow.

Instead of finding a fast food outlet, shopping mall, hotel or bar – people can find projects that are running in communities and making a valuable difference in the lives of those who need it.

Jaki said that volunteers have created a business model that will enable the company to be self sustainable within three years and then put money back into communities within five years.

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