Earlier in 2019, Micro Rainbow International Foundation teamed up with All Out to raise funds to support low-income LGBTI entrepreneurs to start their small businesses in Brazil and improve their livelihoods in the face of a massive political and economic crisis.
The crowd-funding campaign was spearheaded by All Out and raised a total of USD 6,000 from contributors around the world to assist four students from MRIF’s small business training in Rio de Janeiro to launch three new social businesses. The selection of the businesses was based on the quality of their business plans, the commitment and dedication of the students and the potential social impact these businesses may have in their communities.
Pink At Work
Isaque Lima, English teacher and Isabela Colucci, IT developer were students from MRIF`s first small business training in Rio in 2015. After the training, they kicked off their own small businesses, Fale Easy and IT Consulting, and started to exchange ideas to develop a network for LGBTI owned businesses in Brazil. After years of planning and consulting LGBTI entrepreneurs, they were finally able to put these ideas into practice and launched Pink At Work: the first and only platform to help connect LGBTI entrepreneurs in Brazil. When asked about the inspiration behind their business, Isaque and Isa told us:
“Many LGBTI people are starting income-generating activities as an alternative to survive the country’s economic crisis, but the LGBTI community itself is unaware of their existence. When we need to buy something, we usually go to an established shop instead of buying from small entrepreneurs, because until now there wasn’t a bridge connecting us to other LGBTI entrepreneurs who offer the products and services we need.”
With the funds raised by All Out, they have set up a holding page, through which LGBTI entrepreneurs are able to register their businesses, while they develop the platform. They are also investing in outreach through social media to attract more registrations and are planning to launch the full platform in early 2020.
After attending MRIF`s fourth small business in Rio in 2017, Andrea Brazil decided to develop Capacitrans, a pioneer social business aimed at assisting low-income transgender people to obtain professional skills to work in the fashion and beauty sectors. Andréa is a trans entrepreneur and activist from Rio de Janeiro and always dreamed of having her own business and helping other trans to have better work opportunities and living conditions.
“Trans people have always been among the most excluded and marginalised groups in the society and it is extremely difficult for us to find jobs, not only because of prejudice and discrimination, but also because many lack professional skills and qualifications. So we become trapped in a poverty cycle and I want to change that and teach everything I know to other members of the trans community. I want to empower them to run after their dreams and show the world that we can be anything we want, even businesswomen”, she explains what motivated her to create Capacitrans.
In 2018 Andrea obtained investments to start Capacitrans courses on beauty, fashion and entrepreneurship. With the funds raised by All Out, she was able to purchase a computer, sewing machinery, fabric and has sold more than R$4,000 in pieces of clothing made by her and her students. The funds will also allow her to launch a website to boost their online sales to the whole country next year.
Susan Soares was a student from our 5th course and she has been struggling to make money with her eco-friendly jewellery business, Suhka Atelie. She designs very creative and beautiful pieces with recycled and sustainable materials. She wants to use the funds raised by All Out to expand her business and run handcraft workshops for other LGBTI entrepreneurs:
“I want to empower other black and LGBTI people in my community by teaching classes on everything I’ve learned so far, from jewellery design and art, to small business skills.”
Since she received the funds, Susan has paid her business debts and hired a marketing strategist to help her boost her sales through social media. She is also investing in new partnerships with other social businesses and was recently invited to produce costumes for a music video. She hopes to launch her own website and online shop soon.