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.