Previous Winner – Back to Basics
“Back to Basics” won first place in DUBAI+acumen’s first social entrepreneurship competition in 2012, “Business Acumen 4 Good”. A social venture aimed at addressing the high volume of child injuries across the UAE, it was successfully launched with the support of DUBAI+acumen. Notably, it has been recognized as the first UAE training provider to develop government endorsed community outreach programs with key considerations towards culture, literacy and language. Since launching, Back to Basics has trained thousands of parents and caregivers to increase knowledge on how to prevent an injury, and how to respond if an injury occurs.
Tracy Fountain, the founder of Back to Basics, first became aware of the need to educate home-helpers and child caretakers in the UAE about how to respond in a pediatric emergency during her first pregnancy. A professional trainer by background, Fountain signed up for emergency first aid training with her own domestic helper. With her background in training and development, Fountain immediately saw opportunities for improving the training provided, as well as a clear need for the information.
Her own experience with her helper inspired a book followed by a pilot training program in 2009. By offering a free Arabic-language pilot training at Latifa Hospital, Fountain discovered that 40% of parents in the UAE do not know how to call for help in an emergency. Even more alarming, 85% of the home helpers do not know how to manage in an emergency or how to call an ambulance.
Strong demand existed for the training program, but challenges abounded – including multiple target audiences as well as varying literacy levels and multiple languages. Fountain and her husband invested their own capital developing some multi-lingual materials about pediatric first aid for home helpers and parents, but more money was needed in order to make an impact on a wider scale.
That’s where DUBAI+acumen came in. Fountain heard about the Business Acumen 4 Good competition through her social network in the UAE. . Fountain says, “We knew that in order to have an impact and be successful as a business, we needed to get the government on board.” At that time, she was still the development phase of her social enterprise and needed help taking it to the next level.
“We won the competition and the funding help to kick start the production for the training materials.” Fountain and her husband invested the grant money they received in developing Arabic language training films and other multi-lingual training collateral. They were also able to better access the UAE federal government, which ultimately determined that they wanted to bring Back to Basics in to provide pediatric first aid training across all seven emirates.
Since winning the Business Acumen 4 Change competition, Back to Basics has become a federal program. In 2013, Back to Basics was appointed by the Health Authority Abu Dhabi to deliver a train the trainer programme to 100 practitioners representing private and government hospitals across Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western region. 2013 also marks the year of appointing Injury Prevention Ambassadors across the seven Emirates in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior Child Protection Centre. Fountain is currently training 60 child safety ambassadors who will provide training around the Emirates in Arabic, English, Tagalug and Urdu. She intends for each ambassador to host ten workshops per annum in each Emirate. Campaigns on pediatric first aid are also being rolled out.
When asked how DUBAI+acumen helped Back to Basics succeed, Fountain reflects, “DUBAI+acumen helped us refine our business vision and direction. It gave us the funds to kick start it as well as some business direction.” She adds, “Without it, Back to Basics would have taken a lot longer to succeed.”
Fountain advises aspiring social entrepreneurs that they need to wear ‘two hats’. “You need commercial hat to keep the business going, but at the same time you are focused on the social side of it. When you believe so much in it, that it is so needed – you have to keep finding ways to make it work.” Fountain and her husband identified different revenues streams to keep Back to Basics going. “Thankfully,” she remarks, “in the end it came good.”
To learn more about Back to Basics, visit their website at:
Back to Basics Mission:
“To reduce the high volume of predictable & preventable child injuries in the region by aligning ourselves with government objectives and collaborating towards a change of legislation for all caregivers of children to receive basic first aid training.”
To watch Tracy’s final pitch at Business Acumen 4 Good Competition 2012, visit: