Minka: Sustainable employment for artisan women

Universidad Finis Terrae and Founder of Minka //
Santiago //
July 12th 2017 //

Chatting in the University Campus

Ignacia is the Director at the Social Innovation for the University of Finis Terrae, and is also the Founder of the Minka, a fashion enterprise that employs and supports vulnerable women.

“I love working with people, getting things done with people and using design to make a difference in the world”

She is well versed in using and teaching design thinking techniques, and she works a lot with the topic of sustainability in the materials and processes she uses in her work.

She talked to me about the social innovation ecosystem in Chile, which at the moment is flourishing.

“It is relatively new, five years ago Social Innovation and Social Enterprise were not familiar words, and the language was uncommon… now it is a known area and many universities are working in ways to grow the work”

She mentioned the work of Co-Lab at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile // colab.uc.cl
As a university-led initiative that has inspired and enabled other educational organisations to join forces in their interest in social change.

She also talked about the work of Infante 1415 // facebook.com/Infante1415
A co-working space that was set up by the government, to support innovation and creativity through collaboration.

She also mentioned Start-Up Chile, which has been valuable to her and her network. Explaining how the government has been incentivising social enterprises, and making it much more possible for people to develop socially valuable businesses.

She mentioned the work of Empresas B in creating greater and more productive responsibility amongst larger businesses across the world. It is functioning well in Chile to bring more awareness to the possible social changes that can be made by businesses at a larger scale.

She referenced the work of Karün, a Chilean based sunglasses company that uses natural products and processes to create their products. She is very interested in tackling issues of waste and climate change in a Chilean context.

She also mentioned Huertas a deo, who are creating better trade connections between smaller scale fruit and veg growers in the countryside that surrounds Santiago.

“Argentina are learning from a lot of the work Chile has been doing in this respect, and Columbia too. It is spreading across Latin America”

But when we talked about what was missing to increase the impact of this movement and this work, she mentioned the need for the language and the principles to be more common-place.

“If you talk about this stuff to people who are not in the network, then they still dont know what it is, its not part of a normal understanding of design and creative practice”

I asked her about the biggest social challenges she perceives in Chile and she mentioned:
The cost and accessibility of good quality education.
The treatment of the environment, the preservation and conservation of natural resources.
Issues of inequality between citizens.

“Who we don’t know, we don’t understand, and I see this as a root cause of a lot of our social problems”




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