High in the Andes is a group of people who epitomize the concept of symbiosis.
They live at various altitudes and grow crops and raise livestock that can only survive at their own particular heights. This community of people, know as the Ayllu, frequently gathers to trade crops, livestock, and other goods in a completely collaborative, mutually beneficial system.
In fact, “Ayllu” is an indigenous Andean word that means “community.”
The Ayllu Initiative is a non-profit that is introducing and coordinating social enterprise and microfinancing programs throughout the developing world.
Ayllu’s social enterprise database tracks organizations that are creating jobs for people in developing countries. These jobs are in industries that address social problems such as medical care, education, the environment, and nutrition.
In this way, the database is improving the livelihood of a country at both the individual and community levels. Ayllu restricts its attention to enterprises that are scalable and can be deployed on large scales.
Although still in development, Ayllu hopes to soon release tools that will analyze the data, track trends, and offer possible solutions.
II. Market Introduction
What good is a social enterprise if it can’t reach its targeted people? Ayllu’s market introduction program analyzes market conditions and assists franchises in deploying their projects.
Ayllu has partnered with Brazil’s Alianca Empreendedora to roll out microfranchising opportunities in the country’s southern city of Curitiba.
No matter how well intentioned a social enterprise might be, in order to have an impact it must target the right people. To that end, Allyu provides consulting services to help social enterprises optimize their business models, help investors make better business decisions, and provide institutions with up-to-date information.
In March, The Ayllu Initiative’s partnership with Alianca was named a finalist for the World Bank Development Marketplace in Latin America.
Earlier this month, Ayllu was named a finalist for the 2010 Echoing Green Fellowship. This award provides support and money to innovative social entrepreneurs who are seeking to make a major societal impact. Ayllu is currently part of an elite group of 25 finalists; up to 16 will be chosen for recognition, assistance, and funding.
Last December, Artemesia International signed on as an Ayllu funder. Partnered together, Artemesia will match donations (each up to $10,000) for a total of $20,000 to help deploy microfranchising in Brazil. In 2009, Ayllu conducted a feasibility study of Brazil’s market conditions, identified the best worldwide microfranchise models, and formed local partnerships within Brazil.
This year, Ayllu plans to put this information and research into action by introducing three microfranchise models.
If you’d like to help, you can read more about the matching program here.