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Celebrating our second cohort of Mexican social enterprises

In November 2021 we welcomed the second cohort of social enterprises to our Mexico Accelerator Programme and, what seems like a short twelve months later, we celebrated the close of programme with an event in Mexico City.

The two-year partnership between IKEA Social Entrepreneurship, New Ventures and IKEA Mexico supports social enterprises in creating livelihood opportunities and providing access to affordable goods and services to Mexico's vulnerable and marginalised communities. 

Scaling up business and social impact

The second cohort of social enterprises is active in a range of sectors and regions across Mexico. From Mexico City to Chiapas, they provide jobs, market access and opportunities to create better everyday lives for rural producers, indigenous families, small business owners, and many others while serving the growing number of conscious consumers committed to working towards a healthier planet with happier people. 

“Social entrepreneurs that address social challenges are often pioneers,” says Åsa Skogström Feldt, CEO, Ikea Social Entrepreneurship. “That’s why we were excited about welcoming these next eleven that joined this accelerator. In a world with big challenges, collaboration and mutual learning are key.” 

Each one-year accelerator provides enterprises with mentoring and business support from IKEA co-workers and industry experts, networking opportunities, and access to funding to enable them to scale their business and impact. 

Personalised approach for increased impact 

Social enterprises receive tailor-made support based on their business needs. The support from New Ventures and IKEA co-workers gives social enterprises the opportunity to deep dive into the specific topics and areas for improvement that are key to their sustainable growth. 

As we look back on this second cohort, we are excited to see the progress of the enterprises in the programme.  

Tierra de Monte, who has developed innovative technology to improve smallholder farmers’ crop productivity and quality, saw their participation in the Mexico Accelerator Programme as an opportunity to improve scalability. Convinced that “the most dangerous thing is to stop learning” as Tierra de Monte CEO Adriana Luna expresses it, the mentoring support helped to finetune their marketing and communications narrative, increase their efficiency, and accelerate sales.  

“We needed to believe that we could do it. We needed to change our mindset from a misfit startup to a confident scale up and we did thanks to our mentor. Now we are growing very fast, as we learnt how to work best with corporates,” says Luna.  
Tierra working the land
Tierra de Monte creates eco-friendly solutions to smallholder farmers which they can use to increase crop productivity and quality.
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SmartFish is a social enterprise that sells sustainably sourced, high-quality marine products from artisanal fishing cooperatives. While the company had been able to steadily expand its market and impact, they hoped their participation in the Mexico Accelerator would help address several bottlenecks that were slowing down further growth. 

In particular, Javier van Cauwelaert, CEO at SmartFish was looking forward to the personalised learning opportunities: “What excites me about participating are the mentors we can work with, and the possibility to improve the way we grow and the stories we tell about our company.” 

During the programme, SmartFish opened their fourth store in Mexico City. To attract more customers, they added a range of sustainable products in their stores including coffee, chocolate, honey, vegetables and meat, in addition to seafood. With this, the company needed to improve their communication strategy and update their branding, a development supported by their IKEA mentor, a Communication Leader at IKEA of Sweden.   

SmartFish shop
SmartFish offers sustainable marine products to consumers while providing better daily lives for fishermen.
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Griyum supports local cricket farmers by commercialising sustainable protein for foods of the future. Produced at a low cost and without a dominant flavour, cricket flour can be used in a wide variety of foods, from bread and cookies to pasta, tortillas, and others, addressing this health problems such as overweight, while saving the environment. Griyum works with farmers who produce edible crickets all year round, receiving an income eight times higher than they would with milk production.  

The programme supported their capacity to create more and better business-to-business (B2B) alliances and to improve their marketing strategy for their new consumer product line. They will use the innovation funding to continue that journey, organizing tasting events.   

Alejandro de la Brena, CEO of Griyum, shared how much he appreciated the programme. “We are excited to have support from the programme to build a world where all people have the healthiest choice of their favourite foods.” 
Griyum supports local cricket farmers by commercialising sustainable protein for foods of the future.
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Towards a sustainable and inclusive future 

From sustainable agriculture to waste management, textiles and blockchain technology for supply chains, their goals and achievements in the Mexico accelerator may differ, but all the social entrepreneurs have one aspiration in common: growing their social impact while expanding their business. 

With the closing of our second programme, congratulate the 2021-2022 cohort on their achievements and look forward to following their journeys and future success.  

Read more about the full cohort here.