Thursday, March 17, 2011

Indigenous & Root Capital Journey to Peru Highlights Partnership

Earlier this month Indigenous CEO Scott Leonard and Director of Operations James Roberts traveled with members of the Root Capital team to visit an Indigenous artisan workshop in the neighborhood of Canto Grande in the outskirts of Lima, Peru. Canto Grande is part of the San Juan de Lurigancho district located in the area known as Cono Este. With a current population that may have exceeded one million people, it is the country's most populous district and possibly one of the largest urban neighborhoods in the world.

It was here that Scott, James and the Root Capital team visited with Juan Vargas, who owns and operates one of the many independent knitting workshops in the Indigenous supply chain. Juan’s humble workshop employ’s artisan knitters from his neighborhood. Currently his operation consists of just a few hand operated knitting machines, but it has grown and continues to grow and become more sophisticated. It is with the help of fair trade financing organizations like Root Capital that Juan plans to improve his workshop and to upgrade his knitting equipment so that he can work with finer knitting gauges and expand the number of products he can offer.

Root Capital is a nonprofit social investment fund that is pioneering finance for grassroots businesses in rural areas of developing countries. They provide capital, financial education, and market connections to small and growing businesses that build sustainable livelihoods and transform rural communities in poor, environmentally vulnerable places. Over the past 5 years Indigenous and Root Capital have come together bring financing to artisans at the BOP (Base of Pyramid). This visit highlighted one of the many ways that the partnership between Root Capital and Indigenous has brought socially responsible financing to the handicraft market in Latin America enabling thousands of artisans to become part of the global economy in a way that is fair, environmentally sustainable and scalable.