Archive for June 2012

#SocialEnterprise in Chile UPASOL funds disab rehab

There is not a lot of official infrastructure in Chile and Latin America currently for recycling such as the municipal programs that are now the norm in North America. That situation provides an opportunity for social enterprises (among others) to run a recycling business. UPASOL operates a free collection of household recyclables. The recycled material is then sold to companies that use the material in the recycling and production processes, generating profits for the organization and environmental benefits. The profits (currently over $60,000 per year) support disability rehabilitation programs. This group works with NESsT

Another example is a social enterprise named Recycla that recycles High-tech garbage — broken computers, mobile phones, fax machines etc. Much of it ends up in landfills and its components, which contain toxic chemicals, often contaminate groundwater and harm the environment. Led by CEO Fernando Nilo Nunez, Recycla employs former prisoners to recycle components of high-tech waste and deliver them to potential buyers. In this case the social benefit is job creation for a group that is chronically unemployed.

Both examples show both the business opportunity currently available in Chile that can deliver social benefit as well as financial return.


Micro finance and mental health

Excellent and timely Globe & Mail article

By some estimates one in five cope with substance abuse or mental illness. For most of us, our work life looms large and provides identity as well as income. Holding a conventional job can be next to impossible for those subject to severe mood swings.

According to the Globe and Mail article today, ‘Joblessness among Canadians with severe disorders is sky high – 70 to 90 per cent, according to CAMH’. We know that working actually contributes to health in a clear and measurable way.

Self employment with its greater autonomy and flexibility can be a much better option.

The pilot micro-credit project run by the Rotman School of Management and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health over the past two years is an attempt to provide another solution.

With spotty work histories, those who chronically suffer with mental health issues and/or substance abuse are poor candidates for convential bank loans.

There are several examples given in the article of recipients of loans who have done exceptionally well and are starting to experience financial independence and the increased self esteem that comes with that.

No word yet on whether the program will continue once the pilot is complete but if these accounts are typical of the results seen, this should both continue and be emulated.