Derk Norde


Spotlight on a social entrepreneur: The story of Derk Norde, social entrepreneur and enabler

Derk is a Dutch social entrepreneur with a passion for connecting people. He is based in Medellin, Colombia and co-founder of MovingWorlds, a Social Purpose Corporation (SPC), headquartered in Seattle, USA.

Derk graduated as an evolutionary biologist but turned entrepreneur in 1999, when during the 1st dotcom wave he launched, an international Room Exchange platform - much like Couchsurfing meets Airbnb ‘avant la lettre’ - they received a serious investment but went broke before people even started to consider doing mainstream online payments.

After co-founding 2 other ventures between 2002 and 2007 (FairVentures and the BiD Network), he moved to South America in 2008. In Buenos Aires Derk met up with Seattle-born Mark Horoszowski, who at the time was traveling the world to donating his marketing skills as to social enterprises. Derk: “A conversation unfolded about our professional experiences, and we realized there are so many people looking to do something meaningful with their skills, while traveling or living abroad. At the same time, most of them have a hard time getting connected to the right organizations and many even end up paying to volunteer. So how great would it be to have a central go-to location that matches them to social enterprises looking for talent and international connections across the globe? That moment MovingWorlds was born.”

Today, MovingWorlds is an operational matching website and community connecting skilled volunteers to social impact organizations around the world, to work together on real, onsite projects. Most projects today are based in Latin America and Africa, but there are also increasing opportunities in Central Asia and Europe. Organizations with a social mission get matched for free, and Experteers pay a membership fee - for which they receive unlimited introductions, training and a guaranteed match they’ll love. If not satisfied, they provide a 100% refund guarantee. Recently a partnership with BENISI and their consortium partner ImpactHub has been made to provide affiliated startups with priority access and services to the platform.

Derk has always been interested by social innovation. “As we continue to scale our operations, we hope MovingWorlds can dramatically democratize the global access to talent for social entrepreneurs/innovators around the world.”

Today, MovingWorlds has connected over 85 ‘experteers’, mostly from the US and Europe, to social entrepreneurs all over the world. Such as Jamie, from Seattle, who normally works as a partnership director for a local NGO. To gain professional experience abroad she contacted MovingWorlds and we linked her to Sistema B in Santiago where she helped to create a partnership and revenue-generating plan with them, and had an amazing time in Chile.

“With MovingWorlds, we reversed the normal logic of other matchmaking or vacancy platforms” Derk says. “Usually, organizations looking for talent are being charged as a customer, as they publish their positions. In the case of MovingWorlds, the initiative starts with the identification of highly motivated smart people willing to give time and resources to social innovators. As many of these organizations are startups that are still bootstrapped for resources, they get involved with strategic decisions from early on, and also play a key role in the definition of the anticipated project results and deliverables - based on their expertise.”

As far as the role of the public penholders is concerned, Derk formulates one wish. “More involvement and resources for entrepreneurs in public policies, such as grants for research projects executed by startups - as they are the most efficient real-world testing grounds around.”

BENISI partners and European stakeholders will soon be able to sign up for MovingWorlds, as they will partner with BENISI to feature and highlight their affiliated organizations who are looking for support - and on the other hand will provide a discount for BENISI-affiliated experteers interested to sign up and go experteering!

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