Numerous individuals and organizations can assist people in starting and managing their businesses, but not everyone is born with the ability to instill hope in others. Todos Podemos encourages creative, passionate people to pursue their dreams, and much of that development has been through the vision of its leader, Alexandre Applefield-Alvarez.
Todos Podemos, which translates as “We All Can,” is a nonprofit organization that assists anyone who is genuinely motivated to become a social entrepreneur, regardless of prior business knowledge and experience, their socioeconomic situation, educational background, access to funds and social capital, or their support network.
Alexandre, the founder and director, started Todos Podemos in 2017 with a single goal: to democratize access to social entrepreneurship. The organization does that through a business training program designed specifically for demographic groups who are systematically excluded from the business world. It has now assisted in establishing hundreds of small sustainable businesses in Colombia that have a positive social and environmental impact. In addition, it has created the online school start-today.org to provide its services throughout the Spanish-speaking world.
Alexandre began working with Latin American and Caribbean nonprofit organizations in 2007. While coordinating social and educational programs in Peru, Haiti, and Colombia, he witnessed many dramatic mistakes made by aid organizations at the expense of the people they intended to help. As a result, Alexandre became more and more aware of social entrepreneurship as a remedy, not only for people to generate income for themselves and their families but also as a change agent through which enthusiastic individuals can use their expertise and skills to help address the social and environmental concerns they face in their own communities.
In 2014, Applefield-Alvarez started working in Guatemala as a program coordinator for Philanthropiece, a fantastic grass-roots organization. There, he built and ran a social entrepreneurship training program in the remote and underdeveloped Mayan town of Chajul. He launched Todos Podemos three years later.
An important characteristic that makes Todos Podemos stand out is that they accept students without requiring them to have a business concept when they begin their training program. Instead, participation only requires a burning desire and the determination to address a social or environmental issue that matters to them. Todos Podemos’ ten-step training model will seem surprisingly simple, seamless, and enjoyable if the students are determined and committed to being consistent.
Under Alexandre’s direction, the organization has created several practical workshops and tools based on ten fundamental inquiries that every entrepreneur must ask themselves and be able to respond in order to create a company that will be socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable. As a result, over 80% of their former trainees were able to sell their goods or services three months after finishing the program, according to their track record.
Alexandre’s significant work with disadvantaged and underserved populations has taught him that many people are gifted and understand the needs of their communities. But unfortunately, they are automatically excluded from the entrepreneurial ecosystem, despite often being the best-equipped individuals to develop practical solutions to meet those needs if given the opportunity.
When social and environmental issues can be addressed from within the economy rather than relying on public funding or private donations, the proposed solution can be self-funding and is far more likely to be sustained over time; this is why Alexandre believes that social entrepreneurship is the most effective tool for resolving many of today’s problems. Visit todos-podemos.com to learn more or get involved.
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