Colombia’s CadaVida Foundation training beauty entrepreneurs

By Deanna Utroske contact

- Last updated on GMT

Colombia’s CadaVida Foundation training beauty entrepreneurs

Related tags: Colombia

Small initiatives can go a long way toward improving quality of life and advancing industry in emerging market economies, which is precisely what the foundation was doing with its latest workshop in Medellin, Colombia.

The non-profit CadaVida Foundation believes “that empowering women helps not only themselves and their own families, but also creates stronger communities and a powerful, positive impact in the world,” ​affirms the group’s site.

Much of the foundation’s programing centers on training women to make and manage money and on providing resources to help women start businesses.

Case in point

A recent CadaVida workshop meant to further the skills of beauty workers was featured on Fast Company’s Co.Exist page, which surveys the ideas and innovations changing the way people around the globe live.

Fleury Rose, a professional manicurist with editorial credits in Vogue.it, Paper magazine, and more, led the workshop—a week’s worth of training sessions for CadaVida program participants this spring. Some of the lessons were about practical, hands-on manicure techniques. Others covered how to successfully operate a nail business.

“Even in a week, there was such a transformation of the people in the class. Not only was it important for me to teach an actual skill, but we also really wanted to teach empowerment—that these women should be proud of their careers,”​ Rose tells Co.Exist’s Jessica Leber.

Empowerment strategy

Cause marketing, social entrepreneurship, and the like are gaining ground and becoming a vital force in the global economy. An organization like CadaVida can play a valuable role in Colombia’s emerging marketplace.

Sharing knowledge and resources with women is a common social mission in the beauty industry. So it’s fitting that this sort of entrepreneurship is an objective of the program. And, “Colombia has a deep interest in beauty,” ​writes Leber. “After Brazil, it has the second most number of plastic surgery operations in South America. Hair and nail salons are also popular,” ​she notes.

“Women like beauty here, so this is the tool we are using to empower their life​,” Viviana Cadavid, the group’s founder and head of impact, tells Leber. “Columbia is a very patriarchal society. It is very difficult for women to find a job—and even more [so] for single women,”​ she says.

Recovery process

Colombia has seen years of violence, gang warfare, and drug cartels. Medellin, where CadaVida is headquartered, was controlled for decades by Pablo Escobar, a notoriously murderous drug lord (who was later killed by the country’s police force).

Armed rebels and gangs still make areas of the country rather dangerous. But there are hopes for peace. And the business of beauty could prove to be a force for good in Colombia. The state science institute Colciencias is poised to discover the country’s unknown botanical treasures.

As Cosmetics Design reported last month​, “there is plenty of speculation around what gang members and demobilized guerrillas might do if a peace deal is struck. But, ‘the biggest surprise that awaits us is in plants and insects,’ Maria Angela Echeverry, head of a conservation program at Javeriana University in Bogota,”​ tells the press. Those discoveries are expected to turn into naturally derived cosmetics and personal care ingredients that could enable Colombia to be a key player in the global beauty industry.  

Related topics: Market Trends, Color Cosmetics

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