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Latest News / Brazilian LiveWIREs match profits with social responsibility

 

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A disruptive workshop held recently for Brazilian LiveWIREs has enabled 80 young entrepreneurs to implement best practice business principles to ensure their start-ups combine profits with social responsibility.

Shell Iniciativa Jovem, the Shell LiveWIRE programme in Brazil, invited Úrsulla Araújo, one of the founders of Carioteca and co-founder of Goma, to talk about B Lab, the global movement aiming to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental challenges.

B Lab is a US based global movement of entrepreneurs striving to meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, using the power of markets to solve social and environmental challenges. It aims to use business as a force for good; to enable society to enjoy a more shared and durable prosperity for all.

Companies that meet B Lab’s standards, receive certification, and Úrsulla Araújo is founder of one of the 900 certified enterprises in 29 countries to be accredited.

Úrsulla’s presentation enlightened the entrepreneurs on the growing importance given to sustainable and socially responsible businesses by both markets and consumers, and the indicators used to measure how sustainable and ‘eco-friendly’ a company actually is. Some of these indicators are also used in Shell Iniciativa Jovem’s own prestigious Sustainable Seal, which recognises business sustainability.

One of the young entrepreneurs to benefit from the workshop is Lara Coutinho, whose business, Green Pool, comprises an app that enables corporate employees to arrange car sharing commuting. Lara was very impressed by the potential benefits the workshop has opened up for the development of her business, saying, “I am a Biologist and an entrepreneur who loves sustainability and, thanks to the Shell Iniciativa Jovem lecture, I have the opportunity to understand the importance of B Lab. The existence of an initiative which promotes profits, business principles, social and environmental performance to deliver prosperity for all, along with global certification, brought a smile to my face!”

“Shell Iniciativa Jovem opens our minds to otherwise unimaginable ideas, expanding our horizons, redefining and strengthening our business models with the support of guest speakers, counsellors and mentors.”

Bruna Lombardo, of Arte Sem Fronteiras (Art without Borders), a sustainable handicrafts business, was equally appreciative of the workshop, saying, “I was aware of B Lab, but it was great to hear a perspective from someone who has gained the certificate. Shell Iniciativa Jovem and B Lab share many important goals – creating socially responsible and sustainable businesses.”

Commenting on the success of the workshop, Leise Duarte, Social Performance Manager, Shell Brasil, said, “The objective of Shell Iniciativa Jovem is wider than just supporting the successful launch and growth of our start-ups. We want to enable them to be socially responsible too. That’s why, since the beginning, Shell Iniciativa Jovem offers entrepreneurs various opportunities to think about being successful and sustainable at the same time.”

The 80 entrepreneurs, whose start-ups cover a wide variety of business ideas ranging from 3D printing to apps for deaf people and biotechnology to sustainable fashion, receive a year-long programme of intensive enterprise development support, divided into three main stages.

The first stage, or Ideas Lab (March), enables the entrepreneur to test the viability of their business idea, and for the programme to identify and select the entrepreneurs with the best potential to maximise the business development opportunity.

The next stage, Project Lab, comprises a six-month (April – September) programme of weekly workshops focusing on the essential skills required for business success, including: market research; marketing; strategic planning, financial planning, human resource management; legislation, social responsibility and many more. During this phase, the entrepreneurs receive business coaching and mentoring, along with disruptive workshops, such as the one featured in this article, which will also focus on topics including ‘Circular Economy’ and ‘Collaborative Working’. During this phase, the entrepreneurs also have the opportunity to develop their business networks and showcase their start-ups in a Business Fair.

Following the Business Fair, the next phase, or Business Lab (October – December), provides entrepreneurs with the knowledge and tools to make their businesses both economically viable as well as sustainable and socially responsible. This includes a variety of roundtable discussions and consultations on pressing social issues and challenges, and solutions derived from collaborative working. Successful businesses will receive the programme’s prestigious Sustainable Seal, which is recognised by local markets and consumers, enabling the start-ups to make a stronger entry into the market. 


 

Brazilian LiveWIREs match profits with social responsibility
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