A Social Business is a sustainable business whose main objective is not the generation of profit, but the resolution of a social problem. Any profits are used to expand the scope of the company and improve the product or service.
The Social Business is an enterprise which combines social and environmental objectives, typical of the public sector and third sector organizations, with the efficiency and economic sustainability of traditional enterprise.
The resources invested in social business, unlike those used in aid projects or charities, continue to generate social and environmental benefits through self-sustainability of the Social Business and can be recovered by the investor.
I am an italian sociologist living in Colombia since 3 years and I started to work alone helped by the desire to help and encourage the work of the women artisans of indigenous communities. I started this adventure of social business in 2011 and I formalized my foundation in January of this year.
The direct beneficiares of the foundation’s projects are women living in indigenous community, living in a state of poverty.
The indirect beneficiares of the foundations’s projects are indigenous community of Wayuu.
This foundation works to enhance and preserve the culture and tradition of indigenous people in Colombia by creating a sustainble social business where women are enabled to produce hand made products based on their traditional practicies.
They are also supported in marketing and selling their products, which contributes to generate their own resources. Aside from providing an income for the women, any profits are fedback into the community and the school (where attend more than 200 children from different ethnic groups).
The Wayúu are among the few Latin American ethnic groups that have been able to avoid European acculturation over the centuries. They speak Wayunaiki. They inhabit the Guajira Peninsula.
– designing and implementing programs to improve the quality of life of indigenous communities, respecting their autonomy and cultural heritage.
– conservation and enhancement of traditional textile handicraft.
– development of skills to respond to new demands of the market.
– acquisition and strengthening of identity and social role of women.
– medical and nutrition, pre-school and primary to the new generations of indigenous children.
Supporting women artisans:
– activating small workshops of tailoring with women.
– activating small workshops of Arts & recovery of the ancient ancestral drawings, with children.
– looking for new lines of products according with local culture
– involving companies, designers and stylists who want to produce responsible products
– affording thread “shop window” where the women can buy the thread, at low cost, by avoiding the cost of the trip to the next town.
– building of a “great bohío” (housing) consistent with the traditions of the community, where women can meet, sew, teach and transmit on their culture and tradition.
Prof. Yunus has written seven principles that every social business should follow:
1) The objective of the company is to overcome poverty, or find solutions to problems (such as education, health, access to technology, the environment) which threat people and society.
2) Is financially and economically viable;
3) Investors only recover the amount invested. No dividends is paid after the recovery of the amount invested;
4) When the investment has been repaid, the profit generated by the remains is used to finance the expanding and enhancing;
5) The company is sustainable from the environmental point of view and is committed to respecting the environment;
6) The workers have market levels salaries and better working conditions;
7) “Do it with joy!”
The seventh point is what inspires me every day! Working in difficult situations need a lot of patience and strong spirit of adaptation.
Working with joy … to give and receive joy!
Sabrina and Wayuu Indigenous Community