[La República Newspaper] The opportunity to generate eco-friendly businesses

The story of a business incubator aimed at preserving the environment.

From when he was very young, Eduardo Noriega was always very curious, and interested in the opportunities for creating businesses that go beyond a simple economic transaction, and also have an impact on nature and on improving the lives of more people.

He studied industrial engineering and in 2006 he joined Scotiabank, which opened a line of credit to support environmental entrepreneurship through funds from Switzerland’s GEA Group. Eduardo’s enthusiasm led him to make a career out of advising and financing green business initiatives or ideas, in addition to his daily work.

“My idea was to support all sustainable ventures with an environmental impact, and I managed to develop a portfolio in SMEs of 5 million dollars with more than 500 clients”, says Eduardo.

However, traditional banks only financed large businesses that met rigorous requirements, leaving out many initiatives that did not meet banking standards.

The business incubator

“Even as a child I was very curious and was always getting into trouble. That’s why I decided to be part of this additional line of work. Daily work and banking requirements gave rise to JE Consulting, a financial consultancy that trains clients who do not qualify in traditional banking,” he adds.

With time and experience, Eduardo built up a portfolio of more than 500 clients for an amount of 1 million dollars. The scheme was simple. Entrepreneurs who did not qualify for traditional banking were advised by JE Consulting to access other sources of financing, such as municipal banks, and they were trained on how to prepare their paperwork and grow, so that at a certain point, when they were ready and had the necessary qualifications, they could move on to traditional banking.

“It just kept growing, as satisfied customers spread the word to other companies, and those companies spread the word to others. At a certain point, the focus shifted to new markets and needs, such as foreign trade, and so we grew from a consultancy into a business incubator, a term that was unknown at the time”.

In 2012, Eduardo decided to leave the bank and devote himself entirely to the incubator. It was then that the idea of promoting businesses with a more socially and environmentally sustainable purpose was born.

That is how JE Consulting’s first eco-friendly venture came about. It was GBCorp, a natural cosmetics project following the clean beauty trend that became a country brand, started exporting and won international awards. This business supports more than 3,200 women and has a customer base of more than 150,000 followers.

This first project allowed Eduardo Noriega to get much closer to the community of Yanahuara in Cusco, and to establish links with more communities in Cusco. Other sustainable tourism ventures were born with the Urubamba – Quillabamba – Machu Picchu route, flora and fauna conservation, and organic production.

That led JE Consulting, hand in hand with Eduardo, to contact other entrepreneurs and create GENES PERU (National Association of Sustainable Entrepreneurs) who together aim to have a greater impact, connect up initiatives and foster sustainability among entrepreneurships.

“Ours is a sustainable business incubator, and now we are part of this circular economy process,” he says proudly.

Eduardo Noriega is always thinking about new ventures, how to link up the various initiatives he knows about, connect with the Andean and Amazonian communities, recover the local culture and think about how to use inputs, generate synergies for creation and work in fair trade through the circular economy.

“One of our projects is the design of a reforestation campaign in various areas of Peru, with native trees according to the altitude, with spices such as queñua, with a reforestation plan to July 2022 and with over 1,000 families involved through an Aymi,” adds Eduardo.

Eco-friendly enterprise

Cocreinam, his latest venture, aims to develop new products, produce them in the same area, promote responsible domestic consumption and export to countries looking for eco-friendly products. Its principle is to incubate sustainable enterprises in Peru.

“There are resources. I am in charge of connecting and the young people in the project develop the model and get in touch with the communities. The idea is to link up with the producers themselves and develop the business together. And even more so in the pandemic: we have had to reinvent ourselves, we have had to move faster and adapt”.

The Land Accelerator xPeru, promoted by the 20×20 Initiative and the leadership of WRI, supported by Helvetas Peru, and in the scope of the PBA, Asesorandes and 3rd Planet, trains and mentors entrepreneurs to equip them with the tools they need to attract investment, create more jobs and restore more land. It aims to support initiatives with environmental, social and economic benefits from restoring forests, agricultural land and rangelands.

In Peru, entrepreneurs are looking to take advantage of this opportunity as they develop innovative ways to build sustainable and prosperous futures for their communities, but they need investment to take their restoration businesses to the next level.

In response to this, on 29 June there will be an inspiring and interactive event to meet this group of 25 entrepreneurs, hear their business pitches, their vision for a greener Peru and what they need to scale up their impact.

The Impact Days will be held in Spanish with simultaneous translation into English. Get involved through social media using #Initiative20x20 and #GenerationRestoration.

Source: La República newspaper / Musuq Briceño

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La Agencia Suiza para el Desarrollo y la Cooperación (COSUDE) es la entidad encargada de la cooperación internacional dentro del Departamento Federal de Asuntos Exteriores (DFAE). Con otras oficinas de la Confederación, la COSUDE es responsable de la coordinación general de la cooperación para el desarrollo y de la cooperación con los Países del Este, así como de los programas de ayuda humanitaria suizos.