Building networks for learning: How can I build a sustainable peer-peer learning community for social entrepreneurs ?


Hope you’re all great. Some of you might know me, i used to work for UNDP in Egypt, ran a social innovation lab. Currently I’m doing my postgrad in London in Service Design and I am focused on social entrepreneurship. My main insight through my research is that there’s a huge need for peer-peer learning and concretising a network of people that could help each other. People are already reliant on their personal networks for help, but it’s very dispersed and informal. A lot of people don’t have access to the “support services” and they’re keen on starting something but they can’t find someone to answer their questions or to “mentor” them one-off. And the concept of meetups is virtually non-existent.There have been a few examples where people help each other without an expectation in return.

Also, I found that a lot of people have amazing experiences and insights but aren’t willing to participate in the “ecosystem” because they don’t see the value or have a negative perception of the ecosystem - but these “silent soldiers” have extremely valuable experiences. So I’m hoping to find a way to get those people to engage and to share.

So the reason why I am here is to see if anyone has any advice/resources on what it takes to build strong sustainable communities of people that help each other out. I’m more interested in the offline (with the digital aspect being a supportive tool). Questions that come to mind are:

  • who would have ownership over this “network”?
  • how will it be sustained?
  • how to motivate people to participate in it?
  • how would it be facilitated? (should there be a toolkit for example)
  • how would you reach people? how to make it spread?

Any help, examples, articles etc. would be appreciated!



ping @soenke, is this relevant to your research?

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@gazbiasorour, also see this:

Play to learn: the play city model for community-based learning spaces for junior citizens

ping @labanita, ping @alessandro_mambelli

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The topic of peer-peer education was a focus of the Edgeryders OpenVillage Festival featured in Egypt:

ping @hegazy

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Hello @gazbiasorour, lovely to hear from you.

Do you refer to anywhere in particular? London? Cairo? Or just in general?

oops! yes in Cairo :slight_smile: where my project is focused

You may like to have a look on my thoughts regarding Global Brain Application

There I describe a formula for integral collaboration which is a real process for active and applied learning and self-organization.

Further more the project I found here, the P2P-incubater can be further developed to direct peers incubating and business or social enterprise accelerator, which is also a real learning process with direct and targeted impact.

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Hi Wael, I had a look at the links. Super interesting. I am particularly interested in your P2P incubator. Would love to know

  1. why you set it uo
  2. what’s been working so far?
  3. what’s the motivation for mentors to become part of your platform?
  4. what value do users see in the platform?
  5. the challenges you’ve been facing and how you could improve them?

I am happy to organise a skype call, maybe that would work better in terms of sharing insight. I am also happy with continuing a virtual conv.

Let me know.

All the best,

Thanks (what is your first name :slight_smile: ) for your interest. How far are you involved with OCI P2P incubator ?
I am having my first call with @zmorda on Friday. Send me your contacts and I ll check if it suits to talk in three or Ill arrange a call with you. This is better than texting now to get to know each other and share insights.


if you guys want we can also set up a zoom room for you at a suitable date where you can meet and potentially also share with more people to join into the discussion as it fits :slight_smile:

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Hey! My name is Gazbia. I’m not involved with the incubator, i’m working on my own graduation project which is about peer-peer learning networks for social entrepreneurs in Egypt so i’m looking for inspiration and lessons learned, that’s why I’m interested in your platform.

I’ll be in transit Friday as I’m travelling…I can do next week Monday - Wednesday.

yeah that sounds good!

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So, our zoom rooms are already take 17:00 to 19:00 Brussels time Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but we can schedule anything else that would work for you.
Just agree on something here :slight_smile:

Hello! am interested to join please keep me update once you schedule the call

Looks like you have a wealth of resources and examples here. Another one that I have been lucky enough to participate in is optiMize at the University of Michigan. ( It has seen explosive growth and success in terms of providing peer-to-peer community to social entrepreneurs at the University of Michigan and getting millions of dollars of funding through donations and university funding. It was started by a student, Jeff Sorenson who was named by Forbes as one of the 30 under 30 for his work with starting optiMize. I guess my main point here is the sky is the limit for you and your endevours. Also, If helpful I would be happy to talk more and/ or connect you with the organizers at optiMize because I can already tell you they would be interested in offering guidance if it would be helpful.

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Hey really sorry for the late reply, the emails get lost in my inbox. I am happy to have a call this week any day between Tuesday and Thurs. Let me know!!!

This looks really cool! Yes, let’s talk. I am available anytime this week between tom and thurs.

I want to create meetups centred on failure and problem-solving challenges. If you have any ideas for activities or something you’ve seen before, do share!


Hello @gazbiasorour, @Abacagames, @zmorda, @WaelAura, how would wednesday 23rd 17:00 Brussels time work for you?

I can swing it!

OptiMize is amazing! Is it open sourced? How can we on EdgerRyders especially the OCI Lab P2P incubator project can customize it to make the incubation process more effective? I am very interested to utilize such tools into bringing business-peers together. This goes in combination with integration of CoFounderLab and CoFoundersClub @zmorda @sohayeb