Already 3 months in Ecuador, mainly in Quito, and 2 of JAMUY’s founders flew to Buenos Aires to launch the project over there. But don’t worry, our services will not stop there, a team of 4 ambassadors based in Quito will continue to support social organisations and to promote their activities of short duration with a social purpose, together with JAMUY’s global team. But to celebrate our 3 months’ anniversary in Ecuador, here is a short summary of what we have learned and done in the country as part of the project.
Why did we chose Ecuador in the first place?
After launching JAMUY in Frankfurt, Germany, we really wanted to test the concept in a different environment. We decided to pick 3 countries / cities in Latin America because of the language (i.e. Spanish), the need for social enterprises to get wider attraction (support locally is limited comparing to Germany for e.g.) and the good balance between the social needs of the country (in terms of economic, social & environmental
development) and the potential of the tourism industry (for e.g. With regards to the safety and attractiveness of the country for tourists). Ecuador has a lot to offer, is worldwide known for sites like the Galapagos and is among the safest in South America. Yet, it seems that the country could do much more on tourism (see chart attached). There is however so much on offer to tourists within reasonable distance that we believe the tourism can grow significantly with the right level of marketing and state support.
Ecuador: A changing environment for social organisations
Like many countries relying heavily on commodities, Ecuador has been affected by the decrease in oil prices. As the state revenues decreased as a consequence, it became even more difficult for social enterprises to raise funds and finance their activities. While talking to these organisations, we realised that this was a big worry for almost all of them: this is not new in the social sector, but we did notice a struggle for survival more present in Ecuador that we have seen in countries with a more stable economy (like in Germany where we founded the project). As a result, the organisations here have been very welcoming to the project, as a large number are looking for new ways to finance their projects and organisations. A lot of them had already been very creative in organizing events to get more visible and collect funds (the musical Sueños is one of them – see our article on this). Offerings on long-term volunteering are also plentiful (although sometimes relying on agencies as middle men) and have been quite successful in providing some help to social organisations, but many mentioned a decrease in the number of volunteers willing to stay for a significant time to help. As a result, most organisations we have visited have welcomed JAMUY as an innovative and easy-to-use concept to answer their needs. After a first analysis of the environment, we decided to concentrate on marketing these activities to the already socially actives in the country (incl. expats) and the tourists interested in experiencing the country differently.
Co-working space and Incubator: a great way to get started in the country
As we had such a great experience with the incubator for social entrepreneurship in Frankfurt (Social Impact Lab), we decided to get in touch with ImpaQto, a co-working space and incubator based near Parque Carolina in Quito. After pitching JAMUY and attending a couple of presentations, we were really impressed by the location and the team: such a great environment for any entrepreneur. As in the Social Impact Lab in Frankfurt, ImpaQto is full of dynamism and young entrepreneurs working, sharing and socializing in the location. We signed a collaboration agreement with them in November 2016 in order to help each other in our common mission to help social entrepreneurs thrive. We’re so thankful of their support!
Sustainable and fun activities on JAMUY site
As of today, we have a bit less than 15 activities in Ecuador on JAMUY and are in discussions with organisations to grow this to 20 soon. Social enthusiasts living or traveling to Ecuador now have the opportunity to participate in artistic shows (ballet, musical…) to support the disabled, take part in tours or volunteers in some of Ecuador’s beautiful natural areas (lagunas, jungle, etc.), visit and support communities just a little further away from Quito or participate in a photography / astronomy weekend activity to help spreading the knowledge of science. Coming soon will be a wider range of activities organised by non profit / social organisations meeting our criteria, incl. Cooking classes and other sustainable fun activities.
JAMUY ambassadors in Ecuador
A team of four JAMUY ambassadors volunteered to help us continue to support activities of social organisations in Ecuador: Vanessa, Samantha, Cecile and Joyce (missing on the picture) will help organisations advertise their activities on JAMUY and promote these activities to potential users in or coming to Ecuador with the help of the rest of the global team. As all members of JAMUY team, country ambassadors are volunteers and a vital element of the subsistence of the project in each country. We are constantly looking for new ambassadors, so please do not hesitate to contact us under firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. A big thank you to all ambassadors for their help in the project! To summarize, Ecuador has been a very welcoming country to our project and we are looking forward to develop it in Argentina.