Entrepreneurs are driven by a moment of obligation, a specific time in their life where they felt compelled to act. Entrepreneur Rafael Salas is a Mexico felt his moment of obligation when he realized approximately 55% of the total population in Mexico does not live in what he considers “adequate housing [due to] sanitation concerns, disease, and myriad social problems including illiteracy and drug addiction” (Agora). Salas’s created Cilforsa, a company that converts soda and water bottles into durable bottle homes; because his company is using recycled materials, he is able to construct these houses at lower cost with sustainable methods. From industries in sustainable housing, to integrating solutions against poverty, Agora Partnerships has successfully helped entrepreneurs, like Salas, tap into the talents of their communities and invest in improving the Latin American community.
Agora Partnerships’, hereon referred to as Agora, mission is to “accelerate the success of early-stage impact entrepreneurs who share [their] community’s commitment to solving social and environmental challenges through business” (Agora). Ben Powell and Ricardo Teran Teran are the co-founders of Agora. Both shared similar beliefs about the barriers of start-ups in developing countries within Latin America and believed the main barrier was financing. Many institutions engaging in microfinance make small loans in poor countries but these loans “rarely amount to more than a few hundred dollars [and] primarily fund household expenditures or the minimal capital necessary for self-employment” (Yale). At the other end of the spectrum, national and international banks lend to large-scale projects. As Mr. Powell observed, “Most aspiring entrepreneurs are caught in a development blind spot. Too big for microfinance, too small for traditional lending, Agora fills this gap”.
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