Experiences from international entrepreneurs

HiiL The Netherlands

“Growing is hard. You have an idea, a dream, a goal. To make it a reality you need to build a solid organisation around it. You also need to build yourself, as a person, around it. It’s particularly challenging in the phase just after the first idea. When your team of 10 needs to become a team of 50. When doing it once or twice must become doing it 100 times. When complexity increases, distractions endanger focus, personalities rub off against each other, and the hunger for financing becomes bigger. This is hard. You need all the help you can get to do it. Ellen is such help. I have seen it first hand. She has an amazing ability to quickly understand an organisation, to distill the core from complexity, to stay calm, and to cut to the core without becoming personal. Not only has she helped HiiL grow, she also helped many of the justice start-ups that we have in our Justice Accelerator. If anyone can garden for impact, it is Ellen.”

Sam Muller

RangSutra India

Ellen’s active presence on our Board kept us conscious and aware of our primary goal – that of ensuring regular work for our rural artisan shareholders and taking concrete steps towards the economic empowerment of women. She encouraged us to scale up, and work in other parts of the country, where there was both : a need and an opportunity. Coming from a business background and with a commitment to women’s empowerment she encouraged us to take steps to strengthen the social part of our DNA. Along with her colleagues she conducted workshops for our team on different aspects of our work – from production, to communication, and marketing. We miss her presence in RangSutra.

Sumita Ghose

Seva Mandir India

Ellen is a truly exceptional professional and human being. She combines focus and perspective, result-orientation and compassion, humour and passion – with an ease and naturalness that is indeed rare. We first worked together on strengthening a women’s enterprise, and Ellen quickly steered us all to focus on key outcomes and durable impact, without losing sight of the softer process dimensions of a women’s empowerment effort. What was also impressive was to witness the ease with which Ellen slipped into another culture and could connect with everyone. And since then, I have seen Ellen repeatedly bring these same winning attributes into other contexts and show equally strong results. Indeed a joy and honour to have worked with her!

Neelima Khetan

Creative Contracts South-Africa

I want to strongly recommend Ellen Tacoma for her work in guiding and mentoring social entrepreneurship. It’s a privilege to be guided by someone who has actually walked the social enterprise path and done so successfully. It also makes a huge difference when that someone really cares about what you do. Our social enterprise – Creative Contracts / Comic Contracts – would not have been were it is today without Ellen’s experience, skill, passion, and discipline.

Robert de Rooy

Barefoot Law Uganda

As an organisation transitioning to a scale-up, we welcome any opportunity for guidance in that direction. Ellen has been very instrumental in walking this journey with us. While she worked with Hiil, she supported us to think vastly about sustainability as we grow. With her, we developed BFL 2.0 and now at BFL 3.0 she remains our friend. We definitely recommend nourishing your team with Ellen’s experience!

Gerald Abila