We’re all too accustomed to the image of businesses and corporations being evil institutions sucking every possible profit out of people and countries. Whether it is Wall Street or the greedy multinationals setting sweatshops around the world, the realities of today’s corporate landscape are far from being ideal.
But fear not, corporations can, and are making the world a better place, and the good apples around far outnumber the bad lemons. From Facebook enabling connectivity across the globe, to Google leading cutting edge research in healthcare and longevity, there is no shortage of socially responsible and innovative companies that are helping us get closer to a world free of diseases, poverty, illiteracy and inequality.
An example of such corporations is Alpaca Inc., a newly launched San Francisco based E-commerce platform that is tasked with empowering rural women through access to a global customer base. In Alpaca’s own words:
We are a social enterprise that is aiming to give rural entrepreneurial women access to a global customer audience and to increase their profit margins. Peruvian hard working women create some of the finest and best alpaca wool based products, handmade with care and woven with passion. These women support households, provide for families and finance their sons and daughters’ education. The least we can do is help them get the true value of their hard work.
Alpaca Inc. is yet another example of how businesses can solve social issues far better than non-profits, and how leveraging technology can infuse a new life in far off corners of the world where markets are still limited. While Feminist groups campaign on the streets through slogans and policy proposals, social enterprises campaign for change through transactions, markets and financial empowerment.
Alpaca Inc. acts as a gateway for rural women to access a worldwide customer base so that they can sell they products anywhere in the world.
The co-founders, Pedro David Espinoza and Mohamed Amine Belarbi, both share a great enthusiasm for entrepreneurship as the best medium for positive social change. Their E-commerce platform is meant to be a gateway for Peruvian women to sell online without hassle or technical background, the only difference now is, instead of selling Alpaca wool gloves for few pennies in the local market every few weeks, they can take orders everyday for a higher price point and make a hefty profit as a result. Empowering women financially is not only beneficial for the beneficiaries themselves, it facilitates a spillover effect for the families and children who directly benefit from the greater financial freedom of their mothers or wives. Whether it is giving women more say on household matters, or enabling children to go to school, providing women with a source of income is the greatest and most efficient medium to empower them and facilitate gender equality within a certain region, city or country.
It’s time for corporations to take on a feminist approach and build products and services that empower women around the world, not because it is a moral imperative only, but because it’s good for business as well.
Visit Alpaca Inc. for more info. The site currently is in catalogue mode. Subscribe to be notified when sales go live!