Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Back home - the traveller returns

After almost two months of travelling, 7 countries, four continents, ten major cities, 23 flights, endless taxis, the weary traveller returns to Aberdeen, Scotland.

It has been an exhausting journey full of enormous potential. A great deal has been learned, many new contacts made and new relationships begun. Dreamaid has not received a single negative comment in all the discussions held, from government departments, to large corporate sponsors; from artisan communes of the very poor to a very famous musician I met in an airport.

I have just fed myself on home cooking (beans on toast - pure luxury)! Hotel and restaurant food for two months is enough for a lifetime. My first cup of tea was a relish to savour but it has to be said that my mind is on the massive amount of work I have drummed up.

All in all it is the most taxing, exhilerating, thought provoking, enjoyable, emotional and fabulous business trip I have ever made.

Thank you to everyone at UKTI for ther wonderful dedication, talent and support throughout my journey. Thank you also to everyone I met from the companies and government departments around the world. Thank you to Tom and Eve (my son and daughter support team) for their wonderful companionship and good humour and to Cenira without whose understanding and talent so much less would have been achieved. To friends and family for tolerating me; but we absent minded Dreamers require the occasional state of contemplation :)

So now to the mountain of emails that have amassed to circa 700 whilst on the trail.

I was sure before I left on this Round the World trip that Dreamaid would be a success. I am much more sure of it now... but now I think it has the potential to be massive on a truly global scale.

But we need people to buy these wonderful handmade products and to show their loved ones that they care. We cannot help anyone unless the business is successfully growing and that needs people to buy the products.

I'm sure that the buyers will come in large volumes over time and as they do we will be able to expand our support to those that need it.

Finally thank you for reading this and for following our exploits and sharing our Dream,

Peter McAteer

Brazil – Rio de Janeiro - BP

In our last visit to Brazil we had identified a potential project with the photographers that BP has trained in the Associacao Nova Brasiia within the Favela Complexo do Alemao. The project is named Foco no Futuro (Focus on the Future).
BP Castrol has trained 85 photographers from the favela ranging in age from their late teens to mid fifties with the main group being in the late teens and early twenties.

The training project has recently finished and the focus of the project organiser (Altayr – a lecturer from a local University - UNISUAM) is now upon turning the Association’s students in to monitors so that they can train other photographers. Also they are looking in to ways that the students can become professionals and support themselves by making a living out of their new found skills.

Dreamaid offers these people a market place in which to sell their prints. We explained how Dreamaid works and also discussed whether or not further support would be required from the Dreamaid Charity (for PC purchases / cameras / internet access). The project coordinator from BP is planning to consider this offer but thanked us for what we are doing already.

Our meeting was held at the Association offices on the edge of the favela and we took the opportunity to get some pictures which will be shown on the site shortly. It was a wonderful experience to see how a little support can go a long way and BP is to be congratulated on this outstanding example of community support.

There is further work to be done on the legal aspects of the Association’s agreements with the artists and between themselves. We will also need to review how cash can be received and distributed appropriately but these are hopefully small steps that can be accomplished within the next couple of months. An interim measure was offered by Altayr which may see these prints on sale very soon…

Thank you to Cris, Samara, Uanderson, Ana Carolina and Altayr for your hospitality! We are looking forward to our first project in Brazil within a favela and bringing your amazing photographs to the wider public attention of the world.

Best regards,

Peter McAteer

Brazil – Sao Paulo Press Conference

An announcement was made on the UKTI website and published in the influential daily newspaper for Sao Paulo (the Brazilian main city for commerce) O Estado de São Paulo on the 7th of August within the section Caderno 2 column Direto Da Fonte (Direct from the Source).

A highly respected national television company TV Cultura were also planning to follow us in Embu Das Artes but unfortunately were unable to attend due to a strike on the day. We agreed to advise TV Cultura and O Globo when we are back in Brazil and working on projects for them to show nationwide on TV. (O Globo the main TV channel had also expressed an interest in following our progress).

The Press Conference was a little disappointing in some respects with only 3 of the 12 reporters attending that had confirmed. However, those that did attend covered the key areas of tourism, sustainability / environment and house and home. The reporters will be publishing articles in their respective publications, Jornal Tourismo, National Geographic and “Casa&” a supplement of a major newspaper for Sao Paulo and the whole nation of Brazil “O Estado de S. Paulo”.

Another reporter from “Vida Simples” magazine conducted an interview by email which we hope will be published in the near future. His questions got to the heart of the matter of both the business and Charity of Dreamaid and I look forward to seeing his report.

Working with the media is new to me and I have much to learn but would like to thank those that attended and have assisted us thus far. There is much to do but this is a good start.

Best regards,

Peter McAteer

Brazil – Sao Paulo Embu Das Artes

We spent Friday evening with a small group of artisans discussing their difficulties accessing the internet and using Dreamaid. We invited them to our Press Conference in Sao Paulo and set up a plan to discuss with an Association set up to help them. We also arranged to see if we could obtain further banking support to help them receive payments by credit card in the same way in which this had been given in Benedito Calixto.

A subsequent meeting with the Association revealed potential to work together to provide the resources necessary to assist the artists and artisans to access the internet and to get their products online. However, this may make take some time and could be quite complex as this level of support doesn’t fall under the objectives of the Dreamaid Charity (as the people are not sufficiently poor) and is a significant cost for the Dreamaid business. However, we would like to help if possible and will continue to explore ways to assist as best we can.

Best regards,
Peter McAteer

Brazil – Rio de Janeiro - Statoil

An encouraging meeting was held with the head of CSR in Brazil in which we outlined the objectives of Dreamaid. Most oil and gas companies only perform CSR projects when they have a budget which is linked to a license to produce or explore for oil. However, Statoil takes a more proactive approach and embarks upon such projects in advance of being awarded licenses. We agreed to keep in touch and to see if we could work together on any potential projects with Statoil and also to see if we could liase with the head office in Norway.

Best regards,

Peter McAteer

Brazil – Rio de Janeiro - El Paso

An introductory meeting was held with the person responsible for HR on the subject of consulting services for Allomax in which Dreamaid was also discussed. The response on Dreamaid was positive and we agreed to keep in contact for future potential projects.

Best regards,

Peter McAteer

Brazil – Rio de Janeiro - Total

A meeting was held with the head of Finance, HR and Administration in which Dreamaid was discussed. He was very impressed with the idea and agreed to mention Dreamaid in the Paris head office and to help us develop a relationship with this very impressive French oil company which has operations all over the world and much of Western Africa. However, he felt that Dreamaid was potentially applicable within Brazil and we would maintain contact.

Best regards,

Peter McAteer

Brazil – Rio de Janeiro - Valor Economico

As a result of UKTI promotion an appointment was set with the highly respected reporter Claudia Schuffner to discuss the Dreamaid business and Charity for a possible article to be published nationwide in this financial ‘heavy’ equivalent to the Financial Times in the UK.

A wide ranging discussion was held on the subject of Dreamaid and Claudia expressed her enthusiasm for what we were doing. She stated that she wanted to buy an elephant from Thailand that she had seen and how much she enjoyed the site.

A very impressive article has appeared in the newspaper on Friday the 14th of August across Brazil in which a photo of myself appears on the leading edge of the supplement on “Valor Empresas & Tecnologia” – Companies and Technologies. Her article is very well written and captures what Dreamaid is about and our great potential to simultaneously help people whilst building a sustainable business.

The article is shown below.

Best regards,

Peter McAteer

Cláudia Schüffner, do Rio
Texto: A- A+

Léo Pinheiro/Valor

McAtter, engenheiro de perfuração de petróleo, criou o dreamaid.com para que seja um canal de vendas de artesãos
O inglês Peter McAtter criou um portal na internet que oferece objetos feitos por artesãos de vários países que podem ser vendidos por preços mais justos do que se tivessem intermediários. O "dreamaid.com" traz um modelo onde McAtter reúne negócios e caridade. O que ele quer ver prosperar na internet são as compras justas através do portal, onde o artesão pede o preço que quiser e se responsabiliza pela entrega do produto. Se uma venda for realizada, 10% do valor fica com o portal.
O artista também é incentivado a doar qualquer quantia que esteja a seu alcance para a Dreamaid Caridade, que promove ações sociais como a compra de computadores e equipamentos de fotografia para jovens sem acesso a esse tipo de tecnologia, que pode ajudá-los a ter uma profissão sustentável e vender seus trabalhos através da internet.
É um negócio diferente porque inverte o costume de se pagar um valor ínfimo para o artista, com o intermediário ficando com a maior parte, afirma o executivo. McAteer conta que descobriu na Indonésia árvores cortadas e compradas por US$ 1 que eram então revendidas na China por US$ 9 mil. Ali, a experiência mostrou que o melhor negócio era comprar um pouco mais caro a árvore e ensinar a população a fabricar móveis.
"Queremos fazer isso no Brasil", explica o britânico, que é engenheiro de perfuração e lida com uma das áreas mais complexas da indústria de petróleo. "É bom para o meio ambiente e ajuda o artesão a melhorar o produto a ser vendido". No Brasil a empresa já tem um projeto em potencial com a petroleira BP dentro e fora do Reino Unido. Trata-se de um projeto para capacitar fotógrafos moradores de favelas. "Responsabilidade social e preços justos são coisas que fazem sentido para empresas que têm ações em bolsa", observa.
O portal DreamAid levou dois anos para ser desenvolvido, com financiamento de outra empresa de McAteer, a Sysmax, uma consultoria especializada em gerenciamento de risco no setor de petróleo e gás criada pelo executivo. "Mas os recursos da minha própria empresa têm limites".
Lançado recentemente, o portal já tem 5 mil produtos oferecidos por artistas da Tailândia, México, China, India, França, Espanha e até do Brasil, que mostra o potencial do negócio. Entre os artistas brasileiros está o pintor Jaime Trindade, com quadros retratando populações indígenas. Mas também são oferecidas tecidos fabricados no Laos e cerâmica tailandesa.
"Esperamos que o negócio cresça, e que mais pessoas possam oferecer produtos para quem quer comprar", afirma McAteer, dizendo que espera um faturamento de US$ 20 milhões em dois ou três anos. Na semana passada o empresário visitou artesãos no Embu das Artes, em São Paulo.

Copyright Valor Econômico S.A. Todos os direitos reservados. É proibida a reprodução do conteúdo desta página em qualquer meio de comunicação, eletrônico ou impresso, sem autorização escrita do Valor Econômico S.A.

Brazil – Rio de Janeiro - Chevron

A series of meetings were held with Chevron on various topics in which the potential for working with Dreamaid was raised. As a result of these conversations we were passed to the person responsible for CSR within the company.

A meeting was held and in which the lady concerned said that she had researched the Dreamaid website and in 28 years of working in Brazil in this area she had not seen what Dreamaid was offering. It was the first time she had seen a company and a charity working in unison to support and market their products.

Such was her enthusiasm that she has given us several key contacts to develop our relationship with and encouraged to apply for Chevron sponsorship formally in the next two weeks for a substantial sum of money. This will be part of a Corporate wide initiative and we are delighted to be invited to participate.

We have some work cut out to bring this to a satisfactory conclusion for all concerned but it is wonderful to have the opportunity to do so.

Peter McAteer

Brazil - Rio de Janeiro

OGX Petróleo e Gás Ltda & EBX

Following a meeting discussing personnel supply by Allomax the subject of Dreamaid was raised with the manager of HR and she was so impressed with the idea that she brought the person responsible for Social Responsibility in to the room.

A follow up meeting was organised with the head of Social Responsibility and Sustainability for the overall parent company EBX. Each meeting was full of enthusiasm and in the latter meeting it was decided to hold a group wide CSR meeting with all of the heads of the individual businesses (mining, energy, oil and gas) to see if there were projects which could work with Dreamaid in the immediate future.

An EBX meeting will be held this coming week and we will liase to discuss possible ways forward. It was recognised that the potential for a tie in with the sustainable production of arts and crafts from wood and the area of the North East of Brazil held particular interest.

Overall a great set of meetings with some great people who shared a vision.

Peter McAteer

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Mexico City - Pemex

Pemex is the Mexican national oil company and a huge corporation with activities covering wide areas of Mexico onshore and offshore.

As part of Allomax and Sysmax (Dreamaid sponsors) efforts to expand overseas Dreamaid was discussed in a meeting with a Sub-Director of Pemex. He agreed to pass the details on to the person dealing with Corporate Social Responsibility and said how much he liked the Dreamaid concept.

Best regards,

Peter McAteer

Mexico City - IMP

As part of Allomax and Sysmax (Dreamaid sponsors) efforts to expand overseas Dreamaid was discussed in a meeting with a Director of IMP (the technical and research entity associated with the National Oil Company). The Director agreed to pass the details on to the person dealing with Corporate Social Responsibility and said how much he appreciated our efforts to help the Mexican people attain self sustainability.

Best regards,

Peter McAteer

Mexico City - British Chamber of Commerce

A meeting with Chris Sladen (President) was held in which Chris outlined some of the issues of dealing with the Mexican market and some of the companies that Dreamaid was targeting. Chris is a real gentleman and was appreciative of our efforts in Mexico. It was a pleasure to talk to Chris about some of the wider issues facing Mexico and the market place we are active in.

Dreamaid joined the Chamber and we will be keen to see if we can work with some of the larger corporations which are active in Mexico from the UK. We received the offer to communicate using the monthly newsletter with over 5000 members, including many household corporate names.

Our plan is announce over a period of time our progress in Mexico and to seek the support of the companies that are members. It would be good to have the support of both international and Mexican companies in the country and especially good if some of these were leading UK companies.

Best regards,

Peter McAteer

Mexico - Press Conference UK Embassy Mexico City

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With the assistance of the UK Embassy (UKTI) a press conference was held within the Embassy on the 29th of July.

I was at pains to stress that Dreamaid is a commercial entity leading a Charity and that to be successful in our attempts to support the poorer artisans we needed to be first a successful business. The larger the company becomes the more it can support and help those needing access to the internet and the marketplace.

I also stressed that we are seeking the support of the media to help us to help others and how powerful it would be if we could get famous artists and artisans on board to support us by selling their products and art on Dreamaid.

A TV crew from Projecto Cuarenta (Project / Channel 40) attended and performed an interview to be shown on national TV. This was a key result for the global tour and hopefully a real breakthrough for Dreamaid.

The presenter and the producer were highly impressed by Dreamaid and assured me that they would be keen to follow up the progress of Dreamaid in Mexico with further coverage. Projecto Cuarenta also has a Foundation which they said would probably be keen to work with Dreamaid. The team also said they would join our Dreamers and I look forward to welcoming them aboard.

The Public Relations part of the Lala Group (Mexico’s largest dairy producer) attended which was testimony to their support and greatly appreciated. I gave a presentation in which I outlined the wonderful reception we had from Cemex (the world’s third largest cement company) and Soriana (Mexico’s largest supermarket chain) too; outlining the potential projects that we were exploring with all three of these great corporations.

The editor of the Mexican equivalent of the Financial Times (El Financiero) also attended and performed an independent interview following the press conference. They have since put out a very encouraging Press Release which has been picked up by NotiSureste a news agency in the South East of Mexico. Their reaction was very favourable, demonstrating a clear understanding of the need for the Dreamaid commercial drive to pull people above the poverty line whilst the Dreamaid Charity could push from below by supporting them.

Two Mexican government departments also attended representing the area responsible for Indigenous People and Culture. They were very enthusiastic about Dreamaid and follow up meetings were scheduled.

The Press Conference was a resounding success with a small but highly focused group of people from key areas of the Mexican media, government and corporations. Although this proved an effective communications tool the follow up is critical and there is much work to be done in keeping the momentum going.

With special thanks to the team at UKTI.

Peter McAteer