Expertor: a Social Business Project
Project: Expertor: a Social Business Project
Alumni network: ASPREA
1. Tell us about your network: What is the story behind it?
Our organisation - ASPREA – Asociación de Profesionales con Estudios en Alemania / Association of Colombian professionals with experience of studying in Germany started its activities in November 1979, supported by the German Embassy and the Goethe-Institut. During this time, many activities and projects were carried out with German and national organisations in order to keep alive the ties between the Colombian Alumni of Germany and the German funding institutions of their training or work. We promote cultural and academic exchange and the realisation of binational projects that have an impact on national communities for their development and self-sustainability.
2. Tell us about your project: Why is this project important to your network?
Since one of the main purposes is supporting vulnerable communities in Colombia, we are highly thrilled about carrying a social business project named: Expertor. This creative pun, naming people who are experts in their field, promotes economic development and decent work in Colombia. Moreover, it aims to be a social focus and self-sustainable business, which allows it to have a greater impact over time.
The economic support Expertor is getting is a great incentive for our associates to participate more in our activities as ASPREA. Therefore, we hope for our community to take part in further challenges which will benefit our society in Colombia with German support.
3. Who is the target group of your project? How will your target group benefit from this project?
There is a guild of independent handymen who help with home improvement, painting, construction, installing, plumbing, etc. Sadly, it’s well known that a high proportion of them belong to the informal job sector in Colombia, and they are known for being underpaid and for being deprived of social benefits such as health service, retirement plan and risk insurance.
We believe that to improve a society and to tackle poverty, these outrageous job conditions have to be changed. That’s the reason why we choose independent handymen as our main target group, focusing primarily on unemployed people and those who have unstable employment and cannot make ends meet.
People are the core, goal and end of our project. Therefore, our solution works towards improving job conditions for independent workers, accessibility to job opportunities and awareness about the importance of belonging to the social care system.
4. Where do you see the main challenges for implementing the project? What do you have to consider, plan and organize?
It is not a secret that the culture of the formal job market is rather belittled in our country, Colombia, and often associated to higher prices. We knew we could do better and that is our motivation to create Expertor - a social entrepreneurship project that not only provides better job opportunities but also educates employers and employees about the formal job’s benefits for themselves and the society.
Therefore, one of our biggest challenges is to make them realise the importance of formal job conditions and social security. We are convinced that the latter would improve their access to the healthcare system as well as their families’, a retirement plan with dignified care for the, among other benefits.
As soon as we began this journey, we quickly realised that as engineers, the understanding of labour and commercial laws and the duties and rights in work relationships would become our personal challenge. So far, it has been an amazing experience to meet and comprehend this new world, together with specialists in this matter.
5. Which cooperation partners or networks are you working with? Who is helping you to implement your project?
We began our project together with a number of different partners: the Alumniportal Deutschland, the DAAD Cali, the Deutsch-Kolumbianisches Kulturzentrum, and Cali Emprendedora.
Right from the beginning, Expertor was funded by the Alumniportal Deutschland, who is also giving visibility to the project via its international community network. Moreover, after winning a contest in our home city (Cali), we partnered with “Cali Emprendedora (Cali - Entrepreneur)”, which is providing us with coaching in innovation and marketing.
Besides, we have held a close relationship with DAAD-Cali and the Deutsch-Kolumbianisches Kulturzentrum - Cali since we started learning German in 2012, and they now support our initiative with a working space and networking opportunities.
We have allied ourselves with “Cafe-Sinergía” and other entrepreneurs to share our experience and receive key skills as businessmen, and make Expertor grow into a self-sustaining initiative.