PICNIC Mexico at Semana Emprendedor Mexico City 2013

PICNIC was invited to participate in Mexico’s Entrepreneurs Week, a huge trade fair for startups and small companies which has attracted more than 70,000 participants each day. (And we think that events such as the PICNIC Festival are large with 3000+ participants! Mexico has quite a different scale.)

We invited participants to write ideas about social innovation and sustainability initiatives in Mexico on a large PICNIC Mexico-branded wall in the centre of the trade fair. By the end of the day, both sides of the wall were full of ideas, Mexican social innovation projects and words of inspiration.

Along with CO_, our Mexican partner, we gave a workshop on “Purpose, Passion and Participation: Developing Thriving Entrepreneur Ecosystems in Mexico and Around the World”. Social innovation is a concept which is not well known or understood in Mexico so we took plenty of time to explain it, making it real by providing inspiring case studies from PICNIC’s network:

  • Bas van Abel and Fairphone, “the world’s first mobile phone that’s made under better working conditions and with care for the environment” (first commercially available smartphones being shipped starting next month)
  • Anne Shongwe and Afroes, a social enterprise which develops mobile games which help users understand and participate in change in Africa;
  • Dale Stephens and UnCollege, the movement he founded to create an alternative to higher education and its expensive costs which focuses on collaborative learning, mentors and accelerator projects; and
  • Jorge Camil Starr and RIA, a network of learning centres which offer low-income communities in Mexico access to technology, Internet and education.

There were gasps of shock from the audience when we told them about some of the competitions PICNIC has been involved in such as the Green Challenge and Vodafone Mobiles for Good and the prize money involved.

We ended the workshop by breaking into small groups and discussing how PICNIC Mexico can create initiatives and projects which encourage social entrepreneurs to launch new businesses or scale existing ones.

As always, it’s energizing and encouraging when total strangers come up to you after a presentation to say how much they love PICNIC’s mission and the stuff we do.

Armed with a mound of business cards and requests to get involved, we certainly have our work cut out for us in terms of follow up.