Alcione Silva worked for 15 years in large companies, working in the areas of supply chain, logistics and project management. Nowadays, her job is quite different: she is a social entrepreneur and uses her experience in the initiative “Connecting Food”, an impact business that aims to reduce food waste.
The career change came after a 2 years process: “We will never have all the answers to make such a big decision… You have to work in the dark” says Alcione. The desire to work and make social impact was something present in her life for a long time. And dedication is necessary to make it happen: “I realized in this last year that when you enter the flow, when you do something that makes sense, the doors open. I have had fantastic opportunities so far and I can say that I am living with great purpose”, she says.
Over the past year, Alcione has experienced a four-month immersion in the SGB Lab 2016. The desire to work with food already existed and she had already identified, after intense research, the problem of waste and maldistribution. It is a great challenge, which for Alcione lacks practical technological solutions. The solution idea came during the innovation laboratory of Social Good Brazil and the idea was among the finalists of the program.
Motivation comes from a greater purpose
When thinking of leaving working in a company and starting up her own enterprise, Alcione did not consider any other type of business. For her, the today’s business must bring benefits to society: “Entrepreneurship must bring positive social impact”.
And when you do something you believe in, the results come. Connecting Food is currently finalizing its business case. The final version of the application, which has been tested and validated after two MVPs is under construction and should be ready by March. The biggest challenge is still monetization, but the outlook is positive.
Connecting Food has already collaborated with three new supermarkets to collect food. In 2 months, more than 2 tons of food were collected and 300 people were fed in partnership with five organizations. In order to expand nationally, Connecting Food is submitting grants proposals to potential funders with the support of a non-profit.
Participating in the SGB Lab
For Alcione, to participate in the program was essential to learn how to build a business. Despite a long career in private companies, the experience of entrepreneurship was new to her.
In addition to helping to build and validate a business model, the entrepreneur values other important lessons from SGB Lab: “It taught me to ask questions, to question the status quo, to see the bottom of the problem, to detach from ideas… A good idea is an idea that solves someone’s problem” she shares.
Changing her own life to change other people’s lives was also part of the package for Alcione: “The transition throughout the SGB Lab was very much guided by the construction of my new identity as a person and a professional. I saw how we are able to change our environment and the world”.
Plans for the future
Now, Alcione leads the initiative and counts on several network partners: mentors, companies, people who collaborate with insights on marketing, communication, retail, etc. The aim for this year of 2017 is to consolidate the use of the technology (an application), launch the expansion program taking the actions of Connecting Food to three cities, and help consolidate in Brazil the global initiative Save Food led by FAO/UN. Among the tasks in the plan, Connecting Food is working to get investors, launch content on reducing food loss and waste, promote events and build a national portal on this issue.
Recently, Alcione was invited by the Ministry of Social and Agrarian Development to be part of the first national committee related to food loss and waste (Technical Committee on Losses and Waste). The committee is an initiative of the Executive Secretariat of the Inter-ministerial Chamber of Food and Nutrition Security – CAISAN: “I will be there to fight for public policies for the reduction of food waste”.
Several ways to solve the same problem. Because when we seek social impact, the challenge we want to face is what matters most. Ideas, methodology, technology, and the Lab itself are just one way to make the world a better place.
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