Nonprofit Enterprise & Self Sustainability Team

NESsT develops sustainable social enterprises that solve critical social problems in emerging market economies.
Mar 11, 2013

Partnerships are Keys to Success

Hello from Santiago, Chile!

Thanks to you, our Levantando Chile Fund supporters, NESsT wrapped up 2012 on a high note and began 2013 with continued progress towards our goal to continue supporting 373 producers and artisans from southern Chile who were severely affected by the 2010 earthquake and tsunami.

Here are some of the latest developments and impact:

  • NESsT’s long-time donor and international partner, the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), completed an evaluation of the implementation and impact of our Levantando Chile Fund program.  The evaluation collected opinions, data, general and specific information about the Fund´s impact, performance and lessons.  The success of the program was positively reflected in the overall evaluation and feedback provided demonstrated the genuine effect the program has had on its beneficiaries.
  • In Chile´s Bio-Bio Region, NESsT, in partnership with Sepade -- a local NGO that tackles poverty and education problems -- held a closing ceremony for the program on December 6, 2012. The ceremony was held in the City of Lota, a historic city that today faces many social problems that originated when the main source of work in the city -- coal mines -- closed its operations. Throughout the ceremony, NESsT and Sepade told the story of their collaboration, common objectives and vision. Both organizations highlighted the strengths and shortcomings of the program and were open to receiving feedback from our beneficiaries. In fact, the ceremony allowed for meaningful exchanges between NESsT, Sepade and the more than 20 beneficiaries that attended. Beatriz Heins from Sepade stated:  ”The program has been a way for Sepade to serve the local community in a way that it hadn´t been able to serve before.” Prior to the ceremony, NESsT and Sepade provided our beneficiaries with an opportunity to participate in a workshop to help participants improve their well-being through psychological and physical self-care techniques. This work was done previously with artisans in Concepcion and beekeepers in San Fernando.
  • NESsT has been a strong advocate of measuring the impact and evaluating the progress of the work done by the organizations and beneficiaries that we serve, allowing  us to improve the quality of our services.. Fortunately, our partners at the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) and Inter-American Foundation (IAF) believe the same, and with their support NESsT conducted a baseline study at the beginning of the program. The study sought to know more about our beneficiaries, their needs and experiences, so that NESsT and its partners could respond with a high-quality program that responded accordingly. Since then, our partners have measured our impact. Recently, with the invaluable support of the MIF, NESsT hired Mr. Ignacio Rivera, a sociologist with experience in the evaluation of non-profit projects. Over the next 3 months, Mr. Rivera will survey every beneficiary in our program and speak to our partner organizations, in order to gather and process information about 23-30 indicators. This information will prove incredibly valuable when assessing the real impact of our program. We look forward to sharing the results with you on a future report.
  • NESsT and CEDESUS, our partner organization in Chile´s O’Higgins Region,  hired Mr. Oscar Rojas Connell, an expert consultant with experience in the region. Mr. Rojas was hired to design and edit billboards and publicity for 10 micro entrepreneurs of our program. These tailored designs support marketing efforts outlined in the business plans that each micro entrepreneur produced with the assistance of expert business development consultants previously hired by NESsT..
  • One of the latest activities that NESsT will coordinate with CET, a local partner in Chile’s Bio-Bio region, is providing support for our beneficiaries to attend commercial fairs throughout the region. Most of our beneficiaries are self-employed individuals that work in agriculture, producing and selling products such as  jams and vegetables, and the fairs are invaluable to their success as producers and sellers.  NESsT will provide financial assistance to cover registration fees, transportation and investment in promotional materials.

Social Enterprise Competition:

Our Social Enterprise Competition in the regions affected by the earthquake continues at a strong pace. Participants are now in the final stage of the planning phase of the competition:  business plan.

The four organizations that remain in the competition have submitted their business plans, which have been reviewed by NESsT’s business development professionals. ..  The business plans are now being reviewed by members of our Business Advisory Network (BAN) and other volunteers with strong experience and knowledge about business development. The four remaining participants of the competition include:

Apiunisexta: A store specialized in providing high-quality products for beekeeping activities. It will sell a range of products, such as health items made from honey, food for bee colonies, machinery, and equipment for beekeepers in the O´Higgins Region, to support the needs of producers and increase the market for their products.

Surmaule: Surmaule developed a new social enterprise idea to provide its services to  government institutions, NGOs and any interested persons about the practice and methodology behind community development initiatives. Ludovico Rutten Foundation:  A business that will develop high-quality welders, providing them with skills and a certification that enables them to better perform their work and ensures the quality of their work. The social enterprise will provide this service locally at very affordable prices.

Manzana Verde:  This social enterprise consists of creating a school for adults who were not able to complete their elementary or high school education. At this school, they can raise their level of general education while also pursuing a technical degree in agro-ecology.

In April, NESsT will announce the Social Enterprise Competition winners who will be receiving venture grants and will enter the NESsT Portfolio for up to 5 years to continue receiving support from NESsT to grow their enterprises and increase their impact.

Dec 11, 2012

Final Stages

Mercado Central de Talca logo
Mercado Central de Talca logo

Hello from Santiago, Chile!

We are once again very glad to communicate with you, our special supporters, to report on our progress. Our continued focus is the recovery and increase of income of 373 producers and artisans from southern Chile whose livelihoods and communities were damaged by the 2010 earthquake and tsunami.

Three months ago, we announced that we were nearing the final stages of our assistance to these 373 producers. However, due to some scheduling challenges, our business development work will continue for a little longer.

Here are some of the latest developments and impacts that NESsT has had:

  • Cristian Avaca, an expert business and marketing consultant hired by NESsT to develop a marketing strategy for the Central Market of Talca, has completed his assistance to the artisans, micro-entrepreneurs and producers in the Market. He worked closely with our beneficiaries and our partner in Talca, ONG Surmaule, to implement a series of activities that provide more visibility and increased sales. As a result, the market today has a thorough business plan and vendors are able to analyze the strengths and weaknesses in the segment of the market they serve. The consultancy and effort from Mr. Avaca, Surmaule and NESsT provided media attention for the market activities, its businesses, and especially to the serious infrastructure problems that they continue to face while the City of Talca decides what will become of the damaged building that was the Central Market of Talca for so many decades. 
  • In Chile´s Bio-Bio Region, NESsT, in partnership with Sepade (a local NGO that tackles poverty and education problems) hired Patricia Yevenes to deliver a series of workshops to help participants improve well-being through self-care psychological and physical techniques. This work was done previously with artisans in Concepcion and beekeepers in San Fernando. Despite the fact that the earthquake happened in 2010, this knowledge and the techniques have been welcomed by our beneficiaries because they complement business knowledge. In areas where self-employment is already difficult due to isolation and natural disasters, this type of assistance strengthens entrepreneurial capacities, as it deals directly with many of the social problems that inhibit personal growth. On Thursday December 6th, Patricia will deliver her workshop and Sepade and NESsT will host an official closing ceremony with local authorities, partners, local media and our committed and exemplary beneficiaries. 
  • Also in Coronel, Lota and San Pedro de la Paz, three towns in the BioBio Region, NESsT and Sepade hired Ms. Carmen Diez. Ms. Diez is a designer with years of experience in the region. She was hired by NESsT to give our micro-entrepreneurs a boost in marketing, an area that is so difficult for them to invest in because of the marginal profits. Carmen has worked hard to design logos, flyers and other essential marketing materials for the businesses of our beneficiaries. NESsT´s plan is for this material to be placed in storefronts and commercialization channels.  Carmen has designed logos, magnets, menus, storefront signs and labels for 20 of our beneficiaries. 
  • In Concepcion, NESsT and TPH Concepcion, a local partner organization, have implemented an action plan designed at the beginning of the project. In these 16 months of work, NESsT helped artisans with business administration workshops; fair trade certification assistance for an artisan´s store called Manos del Bío-Bío; and provided individual business administration and development assistance to 70 people. This one-on-one assistance and business plan development is essential to help our artisans have clear goals and plans for their work. They have welcomed these by actively participating and inquiring about the tools available to them to attract new customers and capital to their small businesses. For NESsT, working with them has been a pleasure, not only because they work hard to support their families despite the hardships, but also because they foster and nurture the unique cultural expressions of the Chilean south.
  • One interesting achievement has been the production of four short videos to strengthen our campaign and to highlight the work of our beneficiaries. Pablo Vergara, an expert film producer from the BioBio region, joined our team to produce these videos. The videos not only showcase our project, but also provide context for an external audience to understand the difficulties faced by small producers and artisans across southern Chile after the earthquake. The videos were showcased 3 times per day during November at a local station in Coronel, and will be showcased all over the internet! We hope you can also join in and help us spread these wonderful testimonies.   Please click on the enclosed links below to see the videos.  
  • The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), our long-time donor and international partner, is finishing the process of conducting a thorough evaluation of NESsT´s Levantando Chile Fund. The evaluation sought to collect opinions, data, general and specific information about the Fund´s impact, performance and lessons. As such, an expert evaluator has been interviewing the NESsT team, local partner organizations, social enterprises, beneficiaries and authorities. Though the process has not finished, we can announce that our beneficiaries have shown high levels of gratitude and satisfaction with the work that you have made possible with your support. More on this report will be available soon at the MIF´s and NESsT´s website.

 

Social Enterprise Competition:

As our Social Enterprise Competition continues and as social enterprise ideas gain strength, NESsT is currently evaluating feasibility studies of the four remaining competitors, which will reviewed by expert members of our Business Advisory Network (BAN).  As announced in our previous report, NESsT held its third and final workshop in the planning stages of the social enterprises we have been mentoring and supporting during 2012. Our business plan workshop is a two-day workshop led by NESsT´s social enterprise experts to assist civil society organizations in the development of their business plans. The work is the culmination of a year-long process, where break-even points are calculated, objectives are set and business projections are calculated.  The workshop was held in Talca on November 22nd and 23rd and brought together four organizations and their social enterprise ideas:  

Apiunisexta: A store specialized in providing high-quality products for beekeeping activities. It will sell a range of products, such as health items made from honey, food for bee colonies, machinery, and equipment for beekeepers in the O´Higgins Region, to support the needs of producers and increase the market for their products.

Surmaule: An educational services firm, which will offer specialized services to improve pedagogical and technical skills of teachers at all levels inside educational institutions. It seeks to improve the administration of educational institutions, as well as improve school environments and test results.  

Ludovico Rutten Foundation:  A business that will develop high-quality welders, providing them with skills and a certification that enables them to better perform their work and ensures the quality of their work. The social enterprise will provide this service locally at very affordable prices.

Manzana Verde:  This social enterprise consists of creating a school for adults who were not able to complete their elementary or high school education. At this school, they can raise their level of general education while also pursuing a technical degree in agroecology.

Our social enterprise teams are now working to complete their business plans with NESsT´s one-on-one assistance. Three of the four remaining competitors will be awarded an invitation to join the NESsT Portfolio in March 2013, where they will receive financial and technical assistance for up to five years.

Closing Ceremony
Closing Ceremony

Links:

Sep 11, 2012

Hello from the field!

NESsT continues to provide financial, capacity-building, and psychological support to 373 small producers and artisans in the O´Higgins, Maule and Bio-Bio regions of Chile to help rebuild the lives, livelihoods, and communities most affected by the 2010 earthquake and tsunami.

NESsT is proud to announce that after 14 months, this part of the project is nearing its final stages, as our assistance to these 373 producers will come to an end by mid-October.

Since June, NESsT has been carrying out different actions that provide new knowledge, skills and support to the social enterprises in our portfolio. Some of our latest important developments with our beneficiaries include:

  • NESsT and ONG Surmaule, our local partner in the City of Talca, have officially closed the project´s intervention. To celebrate the successful implementation of the project in providing financial, commercial and psychological support to 373 small producers and artisans from the O´Higgins, Maule and Bio-Bio Regions, we invited our beneficiaries, local authorities and the general public to come and see what we did together. NESsT and Surmaule accounted for resources and showed the results of the project, while a theater company that was born within this project performed a play that showed the hope and the problems faced by the beneficiaries from Talca´s Central Market which was destroyed by the earthquake. The event was a success! Below you can see a small clip shown in the regional news in Chile´s TVN station:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-bpqw4OTOM&feature=player_detailpage#t=1145s

 

  • Despite the formal closing ceremony, the project in Talca will continue until mid-October.  NESsT hired an expert consultant, to develop a marketing strategy for the Central Market of Talca which seeks to increase visits and sales. The market, a historic landmark, was destroyed by the quake.  The people who worked in it, NESsT’s  81 beneficiaries, were forced to leave and work from a parking lot nearby. The consultant has developed a fantastic strategy, new branding material and logos for the market Alongside NESsT’s work, the consultant’s expertise has resulted in a series of initiatives and events that have provided visibility to the market to increase sales and rebuild this historical and cultural landmark.

 

  • In Pichilemu and surrounding areas, NESsT hired an expert business consultant with a proven commitment to helping small entrepreneurs and producers in the O´Higgins region to grow their livelihoods. The consultant worked on a one-on-one basis with 40 beneficiaries to develop and implement strong business plans. He also helped them apply for seed capital within the economic assistance system of the Ministry of Finance in Chile. So far, eight business ideas have been pre-selected and are expected to keep advancing in the process. His work is crucial in helping our beneficiaries understand their options and seek financial support for their business ideas.  

 

 

  • In Coronel, Lota and San Pedro de la Paz, three towns in the BioBio Region, NESsT and Sepade, another of our local partner organizations, have begun small training sessions for six of our beneficiaries.  Training involves different aspects related to their respective businesses. For instance, NESsT is helping some beneficiaries acquire their driver´s license to be able to deliver their products and finance a complete AutoCAD course for others.

 

  • In San Fernando, NESsT and Apiunisexta, our partner there, hired an expert consultant to help our beneficiaries diversify their honey-based product offer, thus increasing their value and revenues. The consultant provided a series of high-quality trainings to beekeepers from the region teaching them about the benefits and techniques behind developing value-added products from the honey they produce. His trainings included lessons on how to produce products like shampoo, soaps and processed honey-based products.   

 

Social Enterprise Competition:

As our Social Enterprise Competition continues as social enterprise ideas continue to gain strength NESsT is currently evaluating feasibility studies of the four remaining competitors, which will reviewed by expert members of our Business Advisory Network (BAN).  In November, NESsT will hold a business plan workshop and organizations will have to complete their business plans for their social enterprise ideas. Three out of the four remaining competitors below, will be awarded an invitation to join the NESsT Portfolio, where they will receive financial and technical assistance for up to five years.   

Apiunisexta: A store specialized in providing high-quality products for beekeeping activities. It will sell diversified products, such as health products, food for bee colonies, machinery and equipment for beekeepers in the O´Higgins Region, all for prices that benefit the sector.ONG Surmaule: An educational services firm, which will offer specialized services to improve pedagogical and technical skills of teachers at all levels inside educational institutions. It seeks to improve the administration of educational institutions, as well as improve school environments and test results.  

Ludovico Rutten Foundation:  A business that will train high-quality welders, providing them with a certification that enables them to better perform their work and ensuring the quality of their work. The social enterprise will provide this service locally at very affordable prices.

Manzana Verde:  Their social enterprise idea consists of building a school for adults that were not able to complete their elementary or high school education. At this school, they can level their education while also pursuing a technical degree in agroecology.

Links: