More than 2000 years ago, Archimedes established the principles regarding levers (a rigid bar that oscillates on a support point and that is capable of lifting any weight). Today, this physical principle is the driving force behind hundreds of initiatives that rely on technology to empower, develop partnerships, combine wills, and underpin projects that generate employment for the new generations. This physical principle is what has encouraged a handful of young South Americans to boost their business projects by adding a strong social element. We have described some below:
Darío González – Cultivando futuro
For the Colombian, Darío González, trust is built step by step, and there are no short cuts. For this reason, this young agronomist, along with two university colleagues, took to the roads, travelled thousands of kilometres, and talked to hundreds of country people to teach them about Cultivating the future (Cultivando futuro), a platform that connects farmers with consumers, supermarkets, associations, and institutions.
After two years of field work, listening to farmers, designing, developing and testing the platform; Cultivating the Future saw the light in January, a pioneering initiative that focuses on small-scale farmers, the real pillars of the primary sector.
Thanks to the platform developed by González, Colombian farmers will be able to reduce costs related to seeking customers or products, making it easier for buyers to reach the various territories and thus take advantage of the diversity of agricultural products the country has to offer with just a few clicks. In addition, young farmers will be preparing themselves for the business model that is coming by opening up new domestic and international markets for their family businesses.
Mariana Costa – Laboratoria
The Peruvian, Mariana Costa is the founder of Laboratoria, a social entrepreneurship project that trains young women with low incomes in Peru, Mexico, and Chile as website development programmers and experts. Costa, who studied International Relations at the London School of Economics and has a Master’s degree in Public Administration and Development from Columbia University in New York, had already worked on several social development programmes in some countries, such as El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, and Kenya.
In 2014, Laboratoria launched the first pilot programme for 15 young people. For six months, the participants received a crash course in learning how to use the main programming languages, in addition to a personal development module to help them acquire entrepreneurship skills. Last year, Laboratoria doubled its number of students and trained 300 young people and, by the end of 2017, they hope to have helped 600. The aim is to empower women who have not had access to quality education to find employment in the technology sector, regardless of their gender and their economic situation.
Andrés Barreto – CodeRise
When he was 18, while studying first year of engineering at the University of Florida, the Colombian, Andrés Barreto founded Grooveshark, an on-demand music playback platform that reached more than 30 million users worldwide with a catalogue of over 15 million songs, until it closed in 2015 after an exhausting legal battle with the leading record companies in the United States.
Mariana Andrea Nallim – ReciclArg Recycling Technology
The Argentinean, Mariana Andrea Nallim established ReciclArg Recycling Technology in 2010. This is a company dedicated to processing and recovering electronic waste. ReciclArg provides a comprehensive recycling service for companies and factories that generate technological waste.
The process is divided into four phases: collection, reuse, recycling and awareness. The latter is possible thanks to the fact that ReciclArg has several clean points in the city of Mendoza (project headquarters), where citizens can deposit devices that they no longer use and learn what can become of their “junk”.
ReciclArg employees are part of a programme of the Ministry of Labour of Argentina, in which young people aged 18 to 24 who have not completed their studies are trained and given jobs for six months, and eventually become permanent employees.
Natalia Ca – incluyeme.com
The Argentinean, Natalia Ca is the director of incluyeme.com, a portal for people with disabilities. Three years ago, Ca and her two partners got together to develop this idea based on success stories in Europe and the United States. Their goal was to mediate between companies and individuals to create and seize job opportunities.
The project, which started with 10 individuals and three companies, currently involves more than 35,000 candidates and close to 300 small and large businesses, making it the largest database of people with disabilities in search of employment in Latin America.