This new film showcases the journey and impact of Vivenda, who participated in Dela, a systems change accelerator co-created by IKEA Social Entrepreneurship and Ashoka.
In Brazil alone, an estimated 25 million houses are inadequate, affecting the health and quality of life of over 80 million people. Fernando Assad, a visionary entrepreneur and founder of Vivenda, saw an opportunity to address this pressing issue.
Assad began his journey as a consultant in public-funded programs to improve urbanisation infrastructure in São Paulo’s favelas. Through his experience, he discovered that existing housing programs often overlooked the living spaces, focusing primarily on infrastructure like water and sanitation. While important, Assad recognised the need for additional innovation to provide suitable housing solutions tailored to the needs and affordability of lower-income Brazilians.
The company has already completed over 5,000 renovations across Brazil, providing thousands of individuals with an improved quality of life and dignity.
“When we promote adequate housing, we are directly impacting the health, safety, self-esteem and well-being of its residents,” says Assad.
Recently, Vivenda launched Plataforma Vivenda, a digital platform for the industry, shifting away from executing direct home renovations. By streamlining the value chain through digital channels, Vivenda connects architects, builders, construction retailers and micro-finance providers, significantly reducing the costs of home renovations and reaching more people.
“In the first seven years of the operation, in which we were direct executors of the renovations, we validated all our operating assumptions. Now, for scaling, we changed our role to facilitate the journey of other actors. And in this sense, technology is even more fundamental,” added Assad.
The evolution of the company’s business model came about largely by adopting a systems change approach. Through Assad’s participation in the Dela accelerator, he recognised the benefits of shifting approaches. He worked to develop Vivenda’s impact-scaling strategy that addresses the root causes of inadequate living environments rather than their symptoms.
“The Dela Accelerator helped us take a step back from our daily craziness and dedicate time to shape our systemic goals. Co-creating our systems change strategy with an incredible group of consultants and IKEA staff members was a game-changing event for the whole organisation,” shares Assad.
Dela (meaning “to share” in Swedish) is co-created by IKEA Social Entrepreneurship and Ashoka and has supported over 45 entrepreneurs on their system-change journeys to date. In the current edition of this global programme, the Dela accelerator is supporting twelve social entrepreneurs who are paired with IKEA co-workers to strengthen and scale their solutions to achieve a bigger positive impact on society.
Read more about the twelve social entrepreneurs participating in this year’s Dela accelerator, where they come from and what social challenges they are addressing.
“Social entrepreneurs are leaders and pathfinders who look to address big social challenges. They work to create better opportunities for people who are vulnerable. Often, they combine an entrepreneurial approach with intentional strategies to tackle the root causes of poverty and inequality. By partnering with them, we share our expertise and experiences and, equally importantly, learn from them at the same time. This aligns with our ambitions to become people, planet and society positive,” says Åsa Skogström Feldt, Managing Director, IKEA Social Entrepreneurship B.V.
Vivenda stands out for its unique focus on home improvement rather than new construction. By preserving existing homes, the program fosters the expansion of social capital within communities. Disrupting families’ lives by relocating them to distant housing complexes can sever their ties to workplaces and social networks. Programa Vivenda works in cooperation with local non-profit organisations, especially those involved in health and education, to identify and address the specific needs of each community.
According to Assad, the journey has just begun. “Now, we want to help other actors to structure home improvement systems in several other Brazilian cities to make sure that everyone can live well in more beautiful, safer and healthier homes.”