VIVA IDEA Workshop 2017: Scaling Your Impact as a Social Entrepreneur




 The VIVA IDEA workshop for social entrepreneurs is a week-long event that takes place once per year on the campus of INCAE business school in Nicaragua. Entrepreneurs from all over Latin America apply in a competitive process to become part of this exclusive cohort and to gain access to a host of experts in their field and instructors  from VIVA IDEA’s  Nexo VIVA program. Pomona Impact’s Sarah Sterling was selected to be part of the first cohort of professors for Nexo VIVA program, which brings together experts in consulting, impact metrics monitoring and evaluation, impact investment and social entrepreneurship.


This year’s workshop focused on  how social entrepreneurs can scale their impact by changing the “rules of the game” and negotiate resources for impact. While the business model canvas has become one of the main tools for thinking through and planning out your business model, VIVA IDEA has gone one step further and incorporated impact and internal organizational thinking into their model. What does this look like, you might ask?




The model is navigated from the outside looking at the type of impact you want to create with your business and moving inwards towards resources (partnerships, access to finance, etc) - what type of negotiation you need to engage in, with whom, and what rules, laws, or policies are in place that you can either take advantage of or try to change.

The model then dives further inwards to look at the inner makings of your organization and asks:  -  How you are running your assets?

 What are your products/services?

 What distribution channels do you need?

 What are your mission statement, leadership team, and communication strategies.


This model is a great new tool for entrepreneurs who might be looking at building a new business or have been in operations for some time, but are looking at how they can incorporate and or scale their impact both internally and externally.


This workshop brought together entrepreneurs from all over Latin America and connected them with some of the top experts in their fields for case study examination, presentations, panels, and site visits. Some noteworthy instructors were:


 Albina Ruiz from Ciudad Saludable in Lima, Peru; a social enterprise that strives to empower rubbish collectors socially, economically, and politically in the urban jungle of Lima, all while improving the city’s garbage collection and processing system.

 Renata Villers from PROLeer, a nonprofit organization focused on improving political support and cross-sector collaboration for early childhood education in Latin America.

 Field visits to social entrepreneurs that are part of the Agora Partnerships program, an accelerator for social entrepreneurs in Latin America and the Caribbean.

 FUNDES, a Latin American organization that seeks to connect entrepreneurs with larger companies to improve  access to broader and more developed markets and supply chains.


Through our work both in the classroom, small group conversations and site visits we were able to bring together a variety of paradigms from all over Latin America with the main focus of scaling up the social and or environmental impact of our organizations. Every single one of the participants, whether they were representing a for-profit or nonprofit organization, an investment fund or an accelerator/incubator, came together to exchange knowledge and resources and to strengthen the network of support for entrepreneurs across the region. It was truly a pleasure and an honor to be invited to be part of this experience and we hope to be able to participate again next year.


If you are a social entrepreneur or an entrepreneur that is interested in learning how to incorporate impact into your business model, please follow the following link for more details:



Fecha Blog: 
Monday, November 27, 2017