News & Insights
Accelerating Social Entrepreneurship in Latin America
by Amelia Merritt, marketing and communications intern, Global Partnerships
Earlier this year we had the pleasure of meeting Agora Partnerships, an organization committed to solving social and environmental challenges in Latin America through business-based solutions, and we wanted to take a moment to highlight what they do. We wanted to spotlight Agora because of our ongoing interest in organizations that support new social/impact enterprises* that show promise in expanding opportunity for people living in poverty. Agora does this by catalyzing the development and growth of up-and-coming “impact enterprises” through its six-month Impact Accelerator program.
The nine year-old organization recognizes that early-stage impact entrepreneurs who are willing to create businesses that meet a double bottom line often lack the financial resources and technical skills needed to succeed. That’s where Agora’s Impact Accelerator Program comes into play: early stage “impact entrepreneurs” are connected with the necessary start-up capital, mentoring, and technical assistance needed to build a sustainable business model to generate the maximum social impact. In Agora’s own words: “human potential + capital = impact”; Agora contributes the “capital” by tapping into its network of investors, experienced entrepreneurs, and knowledgeable mentors.
The Impact Accelerator Program helped María Rodríguez of Guatemala develop her natural fertilizer business, ByoEarth. To create an alternative to local farmers’ use of harmful, chemical fertilizers, ByoEarth produces a natural, sustainable fertilizer by utilizing the digestive power of worms. What's more, the creation of this eco-friendly fertilizer generates jobs for women living in and around Guatemala City. María’s organization is one of the 45 impact enterprises Agora Partnerships is serving to better leverage business for good.
To participate in Agora’s Impact Accelerator Program, impact entrepreneurs must submit a competitive application describing your business model and the impact it creates by solving problem in your community. Agora Partnerships is currently searching for 30 Latin American companies to be part of their class of 2014. The program consists of four components:
- A retreat in Central America where participants will aid in building the Agora community and network
- Strategy consulting and investment readiness services
- Attendance at the Impact Investing in Action conference in the United States
- Deal closing services to help entrepreneurs connect with the right investor
If you know of Latin American impact entrepreneurs that could benefit from Agora’s program, please contact Sara Cordero at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the program’s website. The deadline to apply is September 13, 2013.
*Impact Entrepreneur: An impact entrepreneur is a person who is intentionally using his/her business to solve a social, economic, or environmental problem in his/her community. Impact entrepreneurs run companies that are managed with the intent of creating shared value and consider the long-term effects of daily business decisions.