I had the pleasure of meeting with the Executive Director of the widely-awarded social enterprise Njambre at their coworking space in Buenos Aires.
Njambre started three years ago as a business accelerator for other social enterprises in Argentina and the region.
After success starting a few companies in that model as well as supporting a local network they decided the incubator model was perhaps a bit early for the social enterprise ecosystem in Argentina. With a passion to demonstrate impact oriented business at scale, Njambre has pivoted its model to focus on deeper development of four businesses that came out of its earlier structure.
1. Arbusta provides digital work opportunities for youth and women in underserved communities in Argentina and, more recently, Colombia. They start by providing local training opportunities where individuals meet in one of the centers (5 so far) and get training on data management and software testing for 3 months. They have reached 200 people with this training as of 2015. Then they recruit from the trainee pools for new jobs with Arbusta clients in Argentina, Latin America, and abroad, even the US.
2. Mamagrande formed out of collaboration with a biotech engineer. The goal is a virtuous life cycle of water cleaning and bio production that doesn’t take from or compete with food sources. The plan is to cultivate micro organisms in waste water areas to clean the water and stimulate starchy biomass from which they can make plastics and possibly other products such as bio fertilizers. This is in early stages but I’m excited by it — traveling through South America it’s evident the high number of polluted bodies of water and the resulting issue of potable water access, bottled sources.
3. Umana is a health subscription model where members of underserved, often indigenous, communities pay the equivalent of $5 annually to get access to a network of doctors near them who are willing to help them avoid the long waits typically associated with other local options. Because of the schedules of these low income workers they’re often unable to wait long stretches for the doctor and hence health utilization is low. So far they’ve reached 70,000 women in Northwest Argentina and hope to expand this wider across Latin America.
4. Teqxac is designed to be a simple to use, high impact software for inventory, sales, logistics tracking for small producers such as small farmers and waste pickers cooperatives.
Alongside efforts to scale the impact of its four associated companies, Njambre continues to support collaboration within the Argentinian social enterprise space, with members of various organizations working together in Njambre’s coworking space.
In a similar spirit, they’re combining the knowledge of their group to share resources as a consulting service to other interested parties in Latin America and beyond.
Njambre’s goals are ambitious. I look forward to hearing more!
Notes: * photo is from Njambre’s website. * I have no preferential ties with Njambre, as an investor, employee etc.