If you were to ask Zab Vilayil what his hometown is, he’d probably respond by saying, “It’s complicated”. Not to dismiss the question or to be ironic, but to let you know it’s not an easy question for him to answer. In the last 28 years he’s lived in a variety of places including Kuwait, India, Kenya and Lethbridge. Each place being pivotal in carving who he is as a person. Each land taking captive a piece of his heart.
Whether it is standing on a stage at Google headquarters giving a presentation on “Conflict Prevention and Early Warning Systems” or serving the country of Kenya on behalf of the UN or teaching the importance of social engagement to his Grade 5 class; Zab is determined to make the world a better place one adventure at a time. Currently, his heart is set on an idea called “Kernelo”. I recently got a chance to interview Zab about this idea. He’s banking that once you know more about this idea that you’ll spread it.
Ordinarystrange: In a few sentences, what is Kernelo?
Zab: Kernelo is an online platform that connects potential in new social entrepreneurs and those seeking to contribute to the power of innovation and enterprise. We want to be the website that is the staging ground for people with ideas towards social justice. Kernelo is a crowd-funding (meaning you) platform that connects entrepreneurs to organizations and partners for providing a relationship to enrich innovation.
O: What exactly is “crowd-funding”?
Zab: Think of it as a just another way to say ‘paid for’, ‘contributed by’, and ‘financially supported by’ – you the people. We often see things we like, initiatives we love to see succeed but we keep our fingers crossed with hope that this end is met. With ‘crowd-funding’ – picture active participation in the launch of an initiative by small financial contributions to an idea. If an idea has successfully been able to interest you then the initiative ‘gets funded’ to continue to the next phase of becoming a reality. Currently, laws prohibit you from getting a financial pay out for investing into a successful idea, instead- you may be given something of esteem like an honourable mention, a product sample.
O: What sort of initiatives and enterprises do you see approaching Kernelo?
Zab: We want to target those initiatives that have application towards the betterment of quality of life in the areas of healthcare, education, and environmental sustainability. These enterprises may take the form of project initiatives or innovation.
O: In the current global landscape, why do you feel Kernelo is so important?
Zab: Most of the market trends that we see today are based on cravings of the people who have disposable income; these cravings take the form of food, clothing, gadgets, entertainment and luxury. Many of these are important cravings but lack the gumption to level the playing field of opportunity.
In recent years tapping into the global community for trends has become seamless with the ‘real time’ keystrokes in social media and an increasingly engaged virtual community. While these have increased the participation in market trends, questions have essentially remained unchanged like- ‘how can I make money from what many want?’ Kernelo seeks to join a growing movement of those asking a different question ‘how can we be a part of what you are doing?’- this question reaches to provide opportunity to benefit community and level the playing field.
O: How can we be a part of Kernelo?
Zab: Kernelo would love to stay true in the model it believes in, where contributions of the populace are what generate us as a start up. Instead of us going to get bank loans for our start up we would like to be independent of the traditional system of raising capital by being solely crowd funded. Our incentives for you may be the opportunity to risk with us while we launch and opportunities to journey with us as we engage communities with fun-raisers to raise Kernelo to its potential. Visit our blog at http://kernelo.blogspot.ca/.
For people living in Edmonton, be sure to check out this event: