Latin America

Maré de Sabores

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Latin America Accelerator
in partnership with NESsT  

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Maré de Sabores helps women build their financial independence and provide them with job opportunities in the food industry

The Maré complex is one of the most populous slum complexes in Brazil and the largest in the city of Rio de Janeiro with approximately 140,000 inhabitants (IBGE, 2010). Mariana Aleixo and Helena Edir founded their social enterprise Maré de Sabores to help women in this region and provide them, especially low-income single mothers, with training, work experience, and job opportunities in the food industry.

To date, Maré de Sabores has trained more than 750 women in gastronomy services and placed 160 into employment in the industry. Twice a year, the enterprise hosts open calls in the community to recruit students. Prior to enrolling in this training, women from Maré did not have access to their own income. Graduates of the program gain the confidence and technical skills needed to apply to roles in gastronomy, several of whom have opted to start their own small businesses.

Mare de Sabores mainly offers catering services for events, weddings, and other gatherings in the Rio de Janeiro area. Prior to the pandemic, Maré de Sabores was hired to cater 113 events, creating permanent employment for 18 women and contract-based employment for 44 women. 

With the lockdown, the enterprise invested in its digital infrastructure by hosting individual mentoring sessions and group discussions online to continue engaging both its gastronomy students and clients. The enterprise was also quick to react to market demand by selling meals directly to households and by serving meals and supporting the operations of “essential organizations” helping underserved communities in need.

Programme support:

With support from NESsT and IKEA Social Entrepreneurship, the social enterprise will continue to further develop its digital infrastructure as it prepares to reach new markets through its ready-to-eat meal deliveries and catering services. The ambition is that the enterprise will not only be able to recruit and train more women from Maré but also position the organization to hire graduates directly