12 million artisans live in poverty. There is great creativity and capacity but no access to the market.
They have no design and loose money, staying in poverty through generations. We have developed a model that starts from training communities of artisans to become micro-businesses, capable of connecting through technology to break isolation and design products as they connect to the market. Through Saber para la Vida ac, a non-profit organization, they participate in a 3 year Program, learning about clientes, markets, administration, commitment and leadership, to create and manage their businesses, but also as a way to become leaders in their communities, empowering themselves and their families. As they learn through the first year, they get connected to designers who bring new abilities, developing attractive collections for higher value markets, mostly in cities, while they learn to use the internet and e-mail to connect with clients. As they get certified through the first year, they become visible in a platform where businesses in cities buy from them or make custom made requests. This businesses are also certified for their social responsibility, so we assure that they do not bargain and that they sustain fair commercial conditions. Some designers who start working with communities also develop their own business to commercialize products, so we mentor them in business administration. Communities who participate in platform somosvia, are supported through the next 2 years so they become a formal business, learning about invoicing, bank accounts, payments and taxes. After 3 years communities start to prepare to be autonomous, so they may sell through somosvia but also through many other markets. We are enhancing a social movement, together with enterprises, non-profit organizations, designers, government and universities, so a new culture arises for hand made products and artisans, one that values their work, their art and their time. Somos Vía has increased income for communities in more than 100% and many of them are already reaching regular income every month. The platform grows in number of communities and businesses every year, and also in income for each artisan. In 5 years we plan to see this connections without our intervention, mostly directly through the platform, despite distances between clients and communities of artisans.