What was the path that led you to become a social entrepreneur?
I was studying medicine in 2010. Every starting point for the social entrepreneur is when he or she identifies something with which he does not agree. It seemed to me very wrong that our effort to study medicine in the end could not be translated into offering the people who need it a service according to their needs, all because of the difficulties of the health system.
We were training as doctors but in the end we are not what people need. Increasingly, I listened to the actors in the system and who that everything was wrong and that everything was getting worse. I felt that frustration and wondered what should I do? And this added to the experience I had with spaces like AIESEC.
Finally, in 2010 I discovered social entrepreneurship and its philosophy, and it was a click. There is a reality that I want to transform and through social entrepreneurship I can transform reality.
The second click was to meet people who wanted to intervene in the health system. We decided: we are going to pilot a model that can give people access to services who normally cannot access them. We wanted to do something but did not want to be thinking for 5 or 6 months about how to make a business model. We went to the street to see if people were interested in a service of private medical consultations at certain price levels.
A year and a half after piloting and winning a social business competition we had to decide if we were going to commit for 6 months with a capital of $5,000 and go full-time with the project ( before we were part-time). Our most critical moments were: (i) Decide to pilot base products (ii) bet full time on the project and (iii) get seed capital to found the company.
How does your business model work?
The problem: the problem is the inequity that exists in the supply and access to health services.
Our solution: We provide alternative access to private health care services to promote diagnosis and treatment on time.
Current phase: We are a mature company. We have been in the market for five years. We have a long way to go but obviously we have already passed the startup phase and we have reached a point of equilibrium. Our product is more consolidated and has captured a good portion of the market. And we are understanding how to sustain the operation over time.
Vision for the future: in the next three years we want to reach five departments of Colombia. We have focused our business model on the coffee sector and coffee growers' cooperatives. We see ourselves occupying 80% of the market of cooperatives of coffee growers.
In your opinion, what are the characteristics of a successful social entrepreneur?
I think three things are needed: determination, purpose and collaborative work.
For me, determination is about making things happen. Purpose keeps you focused. Collaboration works best when you surround yourself with good people. Everything is achieved as a team. It was essential for me to have an interdisciplinary team that would complement me.
An additional element of success is a good network of contacts -- people, institutions, etc. The entrepreneur must know his context well.
How can potential positive deviants reading this blog support you and your work?
It depends! One way to help is to get in touch if there are people who believe they have interventions or initiatives that can transform access to rural communities, or promote a space for these interventions to take place (idea banks, project banks, etc.).
Second is in that same line of operational learning, we welcome people interested in replicating the Bive model to impact more community.
And thirdly, we are very open to volunteers interested in supporting the development of social projects in health.
To get in touch with Jorge: firstname.lastname@example.org.