Social Entrepreneurship is part of the growing lexicon of the Impact Investing space that has received much attention across the world but has also been subjected to much misinterpretation. To clear things out upfront, the most accepted definition is that social enterprise is essentially an entity that can balance both people and profits to pursue a double bottom line. The aim to create a financially sustainable entity that has the mission and primary intention to create positive impact on the world.
In my opinion, the magic formula to prevent mission drift (risk of the entity prioritizing short term profits over long term impact) is to have impact embedded into the business model. The more profitable your social enterprise is, the more impact you should create on end beneficiaries - a positive correlation. Entrepreneur Sofia Cruz del Río Castellanos seems to have gotten this right with Mexikatekatl—a company that works directly with artisans to design products that satisfy the needs of the hospitality industry.
Castellanos approached this like any other entrepreneur - identifying the massive market opportunity of growing tourism in Mexico with hotels struggling to maintain cultural authenticity. She acts as a liason between artisans and hotels who need a supply of local handicrafts. The wonderful convergence of culture and toursim makes for a fantastic business model with tremendous potential to integrate rural artisans into the formal economy, giving them a chance at a more sustainable livelihood and a brighter future.
Start your 2016 with Castellanos' story - I hope it inspires you to have an impactful 2016 yourself! For more stories on how Social Entrepreneurship is changing the world, follow my on twitter @NatashaGarcha
“I started my company because there was a market need for artisan goods to improve the experience of tourists,” said Castellanos. “Tourism is very strong in Mexico. Foreigners come to have contact with our culture, but they often don’t get the chance when they stay in hotels. Many Mexicans don’t value traditional artisan goods, and without them, we lose our unique history. It’s become a big problem culturally.”