Location of Afro-Brazilian Incubator (ABI) holds strategic importance. The primary reason ABI wants to be so close to the Rio port area and downtown Rio is the access to target entrepreneurs. The place is expected to see a lot of development in the coming 10-15 years, which could imply a displacement of favelas (slums), primarily occupied by African-Brazilians. “The key question is – what would you do? – uproot the people living in favelas for generations in the name of development OR improve the economic and social condition of these people so that they can lead a better life. The answer for me is simple.”
Looking at economic development from a social inclusion lens has always intrigued me. I have always believed that the benefits of economic development will be quickly lost if they are not shared by the whole society. You need specific interventions to ensure that the marginalized sections of the society get benefitted from the growth in a country’s economy to avoid social unrest. This is where the incubator comes in. They select entrepreneurs from the most vulnerable sections of the society and provide them support for their social ascendance.
It was fascinating for me to learn about the business culture and economy in Brazil and how non-government organizations have emerged to address economic and social issues. The opportunity to work with ABI helped me understand how business skills can be applied to organizations designed to address economic, business, and social issues.