Latin America


Lima, Peru

Latin America Accelerator
in partnership with NESsT  

In Peru, there are around 2 million people with mixed abilities, half of whom are of working age. Nevertheless, employers and even relatives of people of diverse abilities are often unwilling to integrate people of diverse abilities into the workforce. This limits the opportunities for differently-abled people to build careers, sustain themselves, and invest in their futures.

Empanacombi was founded in 2012 by Cynthia Rodriguez and Carlos Sánchez after Cynthia's sister faced difficulties securing a job due to her mixed cognitive ability. 
This social enterprise produces high-quality empanadas that are sold in coffee shops and convenience stores throughout the country as well as through their own catering business. By training people with mixed abilities both as bakers as well as caterers, Empanacombi is able to support them to enter the workforce, access quality jobs, improve their livelihoods, and become more visible members of Peruvian society.

Empanacombi is led by a strong entrepreneurial team committed to realizing transformational change in the lives of people with mixed abilities. This, alongside the experience and recognition that Empanacombi has gained overtime for its employment model, presents a great market opportunity that is evidenced through a growing portfolio of clients, including Repsol.

Not only does the company provide soft-skills training and measurable income improvements in the lives of people with mixed abilities, but it has also created a culture where employees work as equals, but clients also admire the capabilities of the staff, and family members witness an increased level of independence among their relatives of mixed abilities. For instance, to support their employees with hearing loss, Empanacombi provides sign language training to the entire team, which further strengthens its inclusive company culture and ensures better teamwork.