Thomas Carter, the British Ambassador to Guatemala expressed his support for Wakami –a Guatemalan business working with indigenous communities - as they embed the positive role trade and globalization can play in reducing poverty.
Wakami is competing with 27 social enterprises in the contest “Chivas The Venture”, based in the UK. This competition seeks to finance businesses that inspire positive change in their countries. Other Latin American businesses competing are from Peru, Mexico, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Chile and Colombia.
The event at the Residence of the British Ambassador was chaired by Mr Carter; Maria Pacheco, founder of Wakami; Nicholas Dorion, owner of Marcas Mundiales, the distributor of Chivas in Guatemala; and Alejandra Ajquijay Gutiérrez, a businesswoman who is actively participating in this inclusive system.
For Wakami, this contest is an opportunity to publicize its inclusive entrepreneurial system, its products and to obtain funding to enable growth and incubate more businesses. At Wakami, nearly 500 women entrepreneurs design and market fashion accessories produced in 16 rural Guatemalan communities and export to more than 20 countries in 4 continents.
Mr Carter said British businesses and brands are leaders in corporate social responsibility programmes creating sustainable development, and congratulated Chivas for sponsoring “The Venture”. He called for Guatemalans to also support Wakami in this endeavour.
Nicholas Dorion, owner of Marcas Mundiales, the distributor of Chivas in Guatemala, said that Chivas Regal is an iconic Scottish brand based on the values of “brotherhood and generosity”. This has enabled them to identify with the achievements of Wakami as a unique social enterprise of its kind which managed to reach the final stage of this world contest sponsored by the prestigious brand.
The total prize in the competition is $1 million for working capital: $250,000 distributed over 5 weeks of online voting, according to the votes obtained by each of the candidates. The remaining $750,000 will be held between the 27 social entrepreneurs in a hard-fought final to be held in New York on 12 and 13 of July to convince four judges that they deserve that working capital.
Wakami reaches the US city with a leadership position, thanks to the results achieved in the 5 weeks of online voting. Wakami got the second place in terms of number of votes and the third place in terms of funds rose.