Rewe Cooperative

Extending our partnership with NESsT to support South American social enterprises

We’re pleased to announce a three-year extension of our partnership with NESsT, a global impact investor and venture philanthropist.

With the aim to improve the quality of life of people from marginalised and excluded groups across Chile, Colombia and Peru, we’ve co-created an accelerator programme to support social enterprises working towards a fair, inclusive and sustainable economy. 

Launched in 2020, the accelerator, previously called the Latin American Acclerator Programme, has supported 17 local social entrepreneurs to scale their businesses and their impact. With this continuation, we’ll welcome 22 additional social enterprises over the next three years. 

Addressing regional inequality and environmental challenges 

Wealth inequality is one of the most significant challenges across South America, where the top 10 per cent of the wealthiest individuals hold more than 54 per cent of national income, making it one of the most unequal regions in the world. To address this challenge, as well as pressing environmental issues, the South America accelerator supports sustainable businesses that create inclusive livelihood opportunities. 

“The South America accelerator programme is rooted in the power of knowledge sharing and partnership to drive long-term change,” said Nicole Etchart, Co-Founder and CEO of NESsT. “IKEA Social Entrepreneurship continues to be a tremendous partner in helping us make a positive and lasting impact in South America. Our two organisations share the same commitment to address critical systemic and institutional challenges facing the region, and together, we have the resources and expertise to do so.”
melinir women
Photo credit: Melinir
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Tailored guidance and financial support 

Building on the impact and learnings so far, we’ll welcome 22 social enterprises in Chile, Colombia, and Peru and support the selected enterprises to create and maintain 2,500 jobs for people from marginalised and vulnerable groups and improve environmental practices.  

The accelerator provides enterprises with patient capital through recoverable grants, used as pre-seed funding for working capital and infrastructure; business support to expand their reach and impact across national and global markets; and access to industry mentors from NESsT’s and IKEA’s networks. IKEA co-workers play an important role, providing guidance on business strategy and operations, while support from IKEA Chile and IKEA Colombia (whose first IKEA store will open later in 2023) offers crucial local insight and global perspectives. 

In addition, the programme facilitates connections between enterprises and corporate partners, encourages sustainable development, and promotes the circular economy — a topic of particular importance in South America, a region among the hardest hit by the effects of climate change. 

Cultivating change through social entrepreneurship

As the partnership renews, we celebrate the five graduating enterprises: Pomario, Próxima Servicios, Cafe Compadre, Incluyeme, and Empanacombi.  

During its participation in the programme, Pomario, an organic farm in Medellín prioritising sustainable agriculture practices and inclusive employment achieved significant growth and impact. The enterprise received tailored mentoring from NESsT and IKEA, and access to flexible financing enabling it to obtain organic certification and a 53% increase in staff from marginalised communities, along with almost a 200% growth in revenue.  

As a result of its progress in the acceleration program, Pomario was positioned to secure an additional $330,000 in investments from NESsT’s impact fund in Latin America – the NESsT Lirio Fund – marking the Fund’s first investment in Colombia. 

The remaining 12 continue to refine their business strategy and next steps, preparing for further investments as they continue to drive regional change.  

Agrosolidaria Florencia supports a cooperative of 250 small family producers in the Colombian Amazon basin to develop sustainable production practices. 

The accelerator programme supported the enterprise in transitioning their farmers to cultivate sought-after superfoods responsibly and connecting them to global cosmetic and food retailers and supermarket chains. 

“This is our dream – to be able to run this productive farm and show others that it is possible to live in Caquetá, in Amazonian territory, through farming practices that are both profitable and sustainable,” says Luz Helena, one of the smallholder farmers supported by Agrosolidaria.
Luis Miguel Botero of Pomario
Photo credit: Pomario
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A continuing journey 

NESsT and IKEA Social Entrepreneurship’s journey together started in 2020, driven by a shared vision to harness the potential of social entrepreneurship to address critical global challenges. Since then, the partnership has resulted in three accelerator programmes run in different regions, most recently, the Refugee Employment Initiative, which provides long-term employment and integration support to refugees and migrants in Poland and Romania.  

The first accelerator programme in South America supported 17 social enterprises, creating and sustaining more than 1,500 jobs. 

“By supporting social enterprises creating inclusive livelihoods, the South American accelerator programme contributes towards generating local economic growth, job stability, and protecting the environment,” said Åsa Skogström Feldt, Managing Director at IKEA Social Entrepreneurship. “The impact of our partnership with NESsT goes far beyond the numbers – it’s about forging a pathway toward a more equitable society and a greener future for South America.”