We are continuing our Journey beyond the Bucket List as we uncover the social enterprise movement around the world. Next stop – Peru.
A region of mystery, Peru’s past seems to whisper its secrets as you travel through the mountainous terrain. From picture perfect Machu Picchu to the eerie complexities that surround the Nasca Lines, the marvels of the Inca’s engineering have made Peru a destination associated with innovation from another time.
Yet Peru is on the verge of another era, marked with a new type of innovation: the rebirth of social-entrepreneurs.
A new time for social entrepreneurship in Peru
Peru currently is home to eight million people living below the poverty line. And although the country has had a dramatic decrease in its poverty levels over the past decade, the dire need remains in need of further answers.
The Peruvian government has acknowledged that private social businesses are the key to lifting the base of the pyramid up through the creativity and resourcefulness of the poor. In 2011, the government created a Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion. Head of this Ministry, Carolina Trivelli, recently acknowledged that “the government is a poor innovator. There are no better innovations than those that come from the private sector.”
The country has since then hosted the first Social Innovation Summit at the World Economic Forum on Latin America and launched Start-Up Peru in November 2013. The Start-Up Peru initiative is expected to provide support to 200 startups over the next five years.
And, they are on the right track as seen by their massive current list of participants, helping both “innovative entrepreneurs” to validate and fund their business models, and to “dynamic, high-impact startups” to launch early-stage products to reach the market place at scale.
What is even more exciting is growth through private institutions, happening under the supportive entrepreneurial environment that the government has set the stage for.
One example is 10,000 Women, a global initiative by GoldmanSachs. Let’s hear from two women in Peru who share their start-up stories with 10,000 Women:
10,000 women is a one-direction support system, but even more power lies in collaborative networks. The massive and growing community of Lima Valley is an almost viral network of social entrepreneurs who focus on internet-based solutions. This is perhaps the most exciting area of social enterprise development because their solutions are built on powerful dynamic platforms unlike traditional industries that require huge physical and geographical barriers. Lima Valley has over 10,000 members throughout the country who all give and receive resources and knowledge from a group of voluntary sponsors and collaborators at various events.
The Important Role of the Traveler in Peru
Although barriers do exist for the growth of social enterprise in Peru, the traveler can be a key support system to Peruvian entrepreneurs. As you travel to the main tourist sites of Machu Picchu, Cusco, Lake Titicaca, Trujillo, Lima and beyond, you have the unique opportunity to engage with locals and to support grassroots initiatives on the ground. In this way, you are supporting the local people and deepening your travel experience at the same time.
Over the next few weeks, we will explore the social enterprises that exist around these tourist zones so that you can Journey beyond the Bucket List in Peru.
Come back next week as we introduce the top places for social enterprise-supporting travel around Peru!
Feature Photo: by Glenn Shepard, thegaurdian.com
Macchu Picchu – Flickr, ckmck, Attribution 2.0 Generic License
Nazca Lines from above – Flickr, funkz, Attribution 2.0 Generic License
Click Asi – Flickr, Amelia Wells, Attribution 2.0 Generic License
Peru Travel: Crossing the Plaza – Flickr, Latin America for Less, Attribution 2.0 Generic License
Lonely boat Lake Titicaca, Peru – Flickr, Boris G, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
Peru Weavers – Fickr, pamelacarol, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic