Social Entrepreneurs in Latin America and the Diaspora

On Thursday August 20th, Ashoka and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) hosted an online event: Social Entrepreneurs in Latin America and the Diaspora. To brainstorm strategies for cooperation between social entrepreneurs in the region and its diaspora around the world.
A flyer indicating the date and time of the webinar: 20 de Agosto at 1PM EST and the title of the Webinar: La Colaboración entre Emprendedores Sociales en América Latina y la Diáspora.  The top features the logos of Changemakers Unidos and Ashoka Diaspora Networks.  The IOM and iDiaspora logos are placed at the bottom.

The event brought together different organisations and members of the Latin American diaspora community to learn about how they can collaborate with Ashoka's social entrepreneurs and Chagemaker Unidos.  The webinar focused on creating connections between interested participants and social entrepreneurs that are developing solutions for the challenges greatly increased by COVID19 in Latin America.  

The first part of the webinar consisted of different speakers who highlighted the importance of diaspora's role in building a movement of Changemakers.  Firstly, the Director of Ashoka Diaspora networks initiative, Asier Ansorena elaborated on the ways Ashoka Diaspora Networks aims to provide opportunities for the creativity, empathy and entrepreneurial spirit of diasporas to flourish through Ashoka's Everyone a Changemaker Movement.  This was followed by an introduction IOM's iDiaspora by the Regional Specialist in Labor Mobility and Human Development, Roberto Cancel.  Shortly after, Maria Merola, Ashoka Director in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay introduced the Changemakers Unidos Campaign.  Maria gave a brief description about the campaign, and highlighted the importance of re-imagining the future of Latin America post COVID-19.  Lastly, Saloman Raydan was invited to speak about his own experiences as an Ashoka Fellow and social entrepreneur in the Venezuelan diaspora community.  

The second part of the webinar aimed at encouraging participants to exchange ideas and create connections.  Participants were divided into groups of five to discuss around some of the following questions:

  • What should be the role of the Latin American diaspora in the Changemakers Unidos Campaign?
  • How could we create a space/network/community of diaspora members interested in the change making movement?
  • Do you identify yourself as a Changemaker? What could we from Ashoka and IOM do to empower you in your role as a Changemaker? 

The ensuing conversation showcased the interested among diaspora members to contribute and engage with social entrepreneurs and to join the Everyone a Changemaker movement.  As one of the participants in the webinar put it: 

For the Diaspora community to have a true impact in the changemaking movement, they must be at the forefront of the movement, voicing out their own experiences.

As an introductory event, the webinar confirmed that there is interest among diaspora members to contribute and participate within the social entrepreneurship ecosystem.  The participants shared several concrete propositions to facilitate collaborations focused on the exchange of contacts, knowledge, and food practices to support a network of impactful social entrepreneurs.  Overall, themes of transparency, democracy, and equality were recurrent.  This highlights the importance of open, inclusive, and participatory processes that should be taken into consideration when developing the next steps for integration of diaspora members within the social entrepreneurship ecosystem.