The impetus for social enterprises in the region is reinforced by the arrival of American accelerator Fledge to Peru
- Marcela Saavedra P.
Doing good doing business. That is the premise that led to the American entrepreneur Michael “Luni” Libes to found more than four years Fledge, an accelerator of social enterprise based in Seattle, who arrived in August to Peru ago.
– Why create an accelerator of social entrepreneurship?
It was necessary. There are thousands of accelerators that focus on technology projects, but very few care to bet on which solve social or environmental problems through the business structure.
– Are these for-profit ventures like any other?
Yes. These start-ups do not do philanthropy, they do good by doing business. An example of social entrepreneurship is Evrnu. They are made of discarded clothing to transform, through a process invented in new textile fibers, high quality. This venture is changing the world and we’ve helped it.
– What is the acceleration of Fledge scheme?
It is a ten-week program, including a course in Entrepreneurship plus mentorship from 400 mentors who are part of our network. Plus we teach strategies to better communicate the essence of these start-ups, as story telling skills are a limiting factor for most entrepreneurs when looking for customers and investors. At the end of the program, entrepreneurs are presented to an audience of potential investors. All of this and each start-up receives about US $10,000.
– Is there interest in investing in these start-ups?
In Fledge, investment capital comes from angels; not the government or corporations. Since our inception, four and a half years ago, we have allocated $ 1.2 million to 55 graduates that, after passing through the accelerator, captured another US $ 12 million from various investors.
– How high is the probability of being ‘accelerated’ by Fledge?
It’s almost impossible. The previous program in Seattle, only 2.6% of the 270 applications received from enterprises in the world approved.
– In August Fledge he landed in Peru. Why did you choose this destination?
There are many investors and enterprises in Latin America, so it made sense to look for a partner in the region and found in Roberto Persivale of Asesorandes. In October we started the first program of Peru with eight enterprises from Mexico, Chile, Ecuador and Peru.
– Are they negotiating entry into more countries?
Yes. Next year we plan on three programs in three countries. Adding one new city each year after that.
– Where should Fledge in five years?
In five years we should be in at least six countries on five continents, developing about 50 projects a year. But I not surprise me if we manage to open 15 offices, get to 100 start-ups per year and we found infected encouraging more accelerators of this type.