CENTRAL AMERICA'S PREMIER CENTER FOR SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND INNOVATION
Founded in 2010 in Quetzaltenango (Xela), Guatemala, Alterna is committed to developing the next generation of dynamic social entrepreneurs in Guatemala and beyond. We come from a variety of countries and professional backgrounds, but what we all have in common is the passion for empowering ordinary people to achieve extraordinary social and environmental impact. Our work is focused on three distinct areas, all of which are mutually reinforcing: cultivating local social entrepreneurs, incubating social ventures, and fostering and strengthening the social entrepreneurship ecosystem. See below for additional information about each of these three aspects of our work.
SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP CULTIVATION PROGRAM
Alterna recognizes that social entrepreneurship is not a linear, uniform process; it occurs in multiple contexts and is subject to myriad conditions and challenges. We embrace the unique nature of each social entrepreneur and have designed our Cultivation Program to be responsive to the needs and goals of each entrepreneur.
SOCIAL VENTURE INCUBATION PROGRAM
What do we know about high-impact entrepreneurship? We are entrepreneurs ourselves. We create and launch businesses to provide solutions to critical social and environmental challenges in the local community. Once we identify an unmet need, we conduct market research, create prototypes, and test potential business models. For the most promising ideas, we assemble a team led by an entrepreneur-in-residence, and work with domain experts and investors to bring these products and services to market.
In 2012, Alterna launched its first business, Estufa Doña Dora, which manufactures and distributes efficient wood burning stoves (see description below). In 2014, we launched our second social venture, Viogaz, which provides rural households with access to biodigestors that convert animal waste into organic fertilizer and cooking gas, thereby reducing the use of chemical fertilizers and firewood.
In addition to launching and cultivating enterprises that provide solutions to critical social and environmental challenges in the local community, Alterna is committed to developing an inclusive and dynamic ecosystem for social entrepreneurship. We are working to bridge the gap between local entrepreneurs and the resources that can enhance their impact by strengthening networks and leveraging partnerships with key institutions and organizations in the private, public, and academic sectors. Please contact us if you or your organization is interested in joining Alterna on the development of a more inclusive ecosystem for social entrepreneurship in Central America.See more