On an otherwise reasonable evening in July, over 1000 people packed an auditorium in Boulder Colorado for the culmination of the Unreasonable Institute. They came to watch 12 ventures, tackling some of the world’s greatest challenges, take the stage and share their plans to help define progress in our time. This is one of those talks.
The entrepreneur in this video is Gabriela Enrigue of Prospera. Prospera trains women entrepreneurs in Mexico (predominantly in the food industry) with the designing and branding of their products. Then Prospera connect these micro-enterprises with markets to sell their goods so these women can move out of poverty. So far, they’ve increased sales by 300% for 3,000 micro-enterprises and provided training and mentoring through their 200 volunteer mentors.
What is the urgent social or environmental need you’re addressing?
In Mexico, micro-enterprises employ an average of 10 people with annual sales of $100,000 MX. They provide 7 out of 10 jobs in the country, and on average live for less than a year. 85% of them are not profitable, and nearly all operate in urban areas of the country. Their products fail to reach consumers because of inadequate sales and communication channels. As a result, 48 percent of Mexico’s GDP is generated by .2 percent of businesses turning Mexico into one of the most unequal countries in Latin America. Inequality, as we all know, drives all sorts of resentment and social unrest.
What is your solution to this need? Describe your business strategy.
To drive innovation and civic engagement, Prospera deploys the collective power of hundreds of urban citizens and consumers to help solve microenterprises’ challenges in product development and access to market. Prospera designs and launches its own social and consumer movements using entrepreneurship for civic engagement while working with organizations and progressive companies; this helps them mobilize large-scale purposeful action to bring about a more dynamic, productive and equitable society.
Prospera uses the best practices of digital mass participation to engage citizens in the development of products and microenterprises’ growth. This organization is leading significant new efforts to transform traditional corporate volunteerism programs like those implemented by IBM, Intel or HP into social leadership programs for productive civic engagement. These efforts are currently taking place in Guadalajara, the second most populous city in Mexico.