This is a part of an article I’m writing for the Center for Social Value Creation’s quarterly newsletter, which will come out on February 4th.
(…) This new generation of Peruvians wants to add onto the accomplishments of earlier generations by combining entrepreneurial spirit with a commitment to social impact, to change the face of poverty and environmental degradation in Peru. Since working with the Center for Social Value Creation, I’ve been able to take a new perspective on the power and role of business in creating social value, and from this vantage point have been able to identify the beginning of a new wave of Peruvian social enterprises. These social enterprises are represented by passionate leaders who strive to solve diverse problems, using a variety of different business models.
Just a sample of some of these enterprises includes an organization called Ruwasunchis (Quechua for ‘Let’s do it together’) that aims to improve the lives of Peruvian families displaced by terrorism by, among other things, empowering women with entrepreneurship skills. Ruwasunchis also creates access to market networks for these budding entrepreneurs through one of their projects, Ayllu Ruwasunchis, which enables them to sell knit products at high-end boutiques and restaurants in Lima, a prospect that prior to Ruwa would have simply been a dream.
Another example is Yaqua, a social enterprise that sells bottled water and invests its profits in nonprofit groups dedicated to establishing access to clean drinking water and sanitation in impoverished areas of Peru. With stealthy marketing tactics like clever videos of people getting into situations that direly required a drink of water rotating in social media and product placements in a popular TV show for teenagers, Yaqua started gaining traction, and most importantly, their first project to provide drinking water and sanitation to the town of La Libertad in the Huancavelica region of the Peruvian Andes is underway.
But it’s not only young Peruvians who are part of this new generation of change agents. People like Albina Ruiz, Ashoka Fellow and Skoll Foundation Entrepreneur, have been making strides for a long time. Albina’s organization Ciudad Saludable has been dedicated to waste management in Lima since 2001. Having established a waste management system that is more dependable and less expensive than that of municipal governments, Ciudad Saludable is now a viable organization offering income-generating micro-enterprises at every stage of the waste management cycle. These offerings are now benefiting the health and well-being of more than 6 million people living in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, and India. Not yet satisfied, Mrs. Ruiz has also launched Peru Waste Innovation, a for-profit spin-off of Ciudad Saludable that does social responsibility, environmental, and waste management consulting for corporations working on the mining, petroleum, energy, construction, transport, and agriculture sectors in Peru.
These are just a few social enterprises among many organizations working for social impact in Peru, be it through nonprofit efforts, sustainable business practices or just generating awareness. They are a reflection of the Peruvian entrepreneurial spirit combined with social concern. They are a promise of a better future where we will reach real progress by balancing economic growth with social development in my country.
More to come soon, I’ll add the link to our newsletter once it’s published.