Why does Guatemala need more Social Entrepreneurs?
Social entrepreneurship is a trending topic in the international community, but the concept of creating sustainable impact has been around for thousands of years. The well-known Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” perhaps defines the issue best: in order to create a lasting solution, individuals must be empowered to innovate solutions to pressing issues in their communities. Real transformation must come from the experts in the problem—those living it on the ground—and the solutions to those problems must be sustained by those same experts.
Social entrepreneurs have the potential do exactly that. They are individuals who build businesses designed to solve problems and create sustainable solutions through the product or services they provide. They aim to create an impact through the business model itself; an impact that doesn’t sustain itself through external funding, international development organizations or experts that come from the outside. Social entrepreneurs are also not only experts in a local problem, but by building solutions directly into their business models, they make problem solving practical and profitable. These make them the perfect candidates for identifying, enacting and maintaining solutions to social problems throughout many years.
But in order to create the next generation of social entrepreneurs, we must first provide them with ample access to resources that empower them to blend processes of business with the values of the social sector.
The majority of Guatemalan entrepreneurs face enormous boundaries when it comes to accessing services that allow them to build, grow and scale their businesses beyond the local context. Whether it is a lack of access to financing, higher education, social services or simply a lack of time due to other commitments, we do know that there is a great need for support structures that allow social entrepreneurs to do what they do best—solve and innovate.
Alterna was founded in Quetzaltenango to breach those gaps for all entrepreneurs—to create a place where any and all entrepreneurs who want to have an impact are welcome, and can access strategic consulting services in the form of our Cultivation Program, designed for any person who wants to create a business with a social impact. Through a tested methodology that accompanies entrepreneurs in three stages of business development—idea stage, operational stage, and financing stage—we aim provide individuals with the accompaniment and resources along every step of the way as they create, grow and scale their businesses.
With 327 entrepreneurs cultivated at the moment, we’ve seen our entrepreneurs start from just an idea and grow their businesses to not only create a local impact, but to scale their businesses and create an impact in Guatemala. And through making these services accessible to all through our Entrepreneur Cultivation Program, Alterna aims to create the next generation of changemakers by catalyzing transformative entrepreneurship from the ground up.