Favela of the future is a proposal offering an immersive course in entrepreneurship, english and innovation for adolescents between 13 and 18 years old who live in the favela of Vidigal, a vibrant slum community with a population of 30,000 residents located in the south zone of Rio de Janeiro. We seek to stimulate their creativity awakening an entrepreneurial mentality, inspiring them to think actively about solutions to the problems of their own community in a dynamic and enjoyable way expanding their perspectives for the future.
Favelas are low-income areas, cut off from most government services, and isolated—geographically, socially, politically, and economically—from the rest of the city. They suffer from low-quality infrastructure, substandard living conditions, gang-related violence, police brutality, and corruption, as well as societal prejudice and stereotyping. Facing a near-absence of quality basic education or job-training opportunities, and a lack of economic opportunity, favela residents generally have two options: they can choose to work over 50 hours a week, far from home, earning barely the minimum wage in dead-end jobs with no safety nets. Or, they can join the drug lords’ ranks in order to sustain their families. Our mission is to make a third option possible, by cultivating social innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems within favelas.
Precisely because of the hostile context experienced by favelas for generations, they are places of great creativity and potential; resilience, problem-solving, and cooperation have long been these communities’ only means of survival. Favelas are already full of commercial activity (to the tune of R$39 billion per year). Favelas are sites of vibrant cultural production; once the birthplace of samba, they are now the core of the rapidly internationalizing Brazilian funk scene. We believe that these communities hold the answers to their own empowerment. If they are given the education, skills, mentorship, and resources to succeed, then their cultural projects, NGOs, social entrepreneurship, and businesses will preserve the best aspects of favela communities while transforming their economic and social outcomes.
After 2 years of experience with our 5 incubees, we noted the gap of the basic education not only in business in general but with the belief that they can be the owners and directors of their own projects, business, dreams.
The current population of favelas is young, and, although under-educated, full of ideas to make their life better and shape a brighter future for themselves and their communities. To unleash this potential, we will awake the future local change-makers to manage and develop their entrepreneurial mindset, thereby cultivating the next set of potential entrepreneurs. These young people are coming of age into a harsh job market; Brazil’s unemployment rate is currently 11.4%, with even higher rates of unemployment in favelas. With only 1-3% of residents in Rio’s favelas reporting having completed a university qualification, the vast majority are cut off from the few higher-paying opportunities there are. By inspiring and by giving them the skills and the mindset that they can change their reality since adolescence, these statistics can increase.
We believe that offering education, incubation, and mentorship to the young people while connecting them to wider networks and entrepreneurial ecosystems at a community, city, national, and international level, will allow thriving socially-minded entrepreneurial ecosystems to emerge within favelas themselves.
Module 1 – (4 month) IDEAS GROWING GARDEN – Project Planning phase: from ideation phase to marketplace, the adolescents will have their first contact with their potential entrepreneur side. They will get in touch with their ideas learning how to organize, design and implement them, culminating onto an action plan.
Module 2 – (4 month) FINANCIAL CRAWLING – Financial Literacy for adolescents: They will learn the basic concepts of the financial universe applying their knowledge on the real world. With the support of professional accountants and financial specialists, they will teach core financial skills such as cash flow management & budgeting in a natural way of learning.
Module 3 – (4 month) DIGITAL KINGDOM – Digital marketing and website development learning from the basis passing through brand development and marketing strategies. As a final project, they will create and develop their own brand or project, opening the possibilities for it to become true.
BLOOMING – PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT – through training in Meditation, emotional intelligence, non-violent communication and more we help integrate tranquility, discipline and focus into the adolescents lives.It will be offered once a week from the beginning to the end of the program.
We seek to create and support ecosystems of innovation within favelas, connected to city-wide and international-level networks of resources, expertise, and opportunities in a 12-month program for adolescents and youngs between 13 and 20 years old. This aims to level the playing field for aspiring entrepreneurs, and therefore unleash the creativity and potential of favela communities. We believe favela residents hold the answers to their own communities’ empowerment; our role is to equip them with the necessary skills and connections to create, sustain, and grow the social projects, non-profits, and businesses that will address the myriad challenges favelas face.