SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP BASICS: HOW JUAN REDEFINED SUCCESS WITH WAYKANA
Proposing a quirky, tasty, exotic, but also ethical product is the challenge took-up by Juan David Gómez, Co-founder of Waykana (Ecuador). Indeed, in addition to the natural impulse virtues of Waykana’s drinks, his team ensures an organic production thanks to agroforestry crops and by using zero chemical products. They also promote the local economy and support native farmers in the Amazon and their traditions. Discover how, with strong values and motivation, they made this social entreprise a success.
It all started with a wish to reach thousands of people at the same time all around the world
My co-founder and me were traveling in our home country Ecuador. We dreamt about taking a special natural product and export it. Our wish was to reach thousands of people at the same time all around the world. At the beginning, this seemed like a crazy idea. But as we visited the Amazon jungle, we came to try the power and magic of Guayusa, an Amazonian super leaf that has been hidden in the rain forest. It had only been consumed by indigenous people, and a few companies that were promoting it. We thought that this unique leaf gave us the chance to fulfill our dream. We could give natural and energy drinks to boost people’s performance, so they can reach their goals.
How to make a difference
Energizing people became quickly our passion as we established Waykana to buy Guayusa leaves from small indigenous farmers. They treat the leaves with a lot of respect. We decided to pay a higher price than fair trade as it was an organic product that is hard to take care of. We developed a new Guayusa which was greener than all the ones ever produced. We launched our Waykana Guayusa tea bags in boxes and the actual leaves in Ecuador, USA and recently in Europe in order to boost our world with natural energy.
On being a social entrepreneurs
To become social entrepreneurs, we needed to have a strong vision and core values that would stick with us. You do not just face many social challenges, but you also try to make a positive impact on the indigenous communities.
It is important to consider the fact that you have financial goals to address. You might not be profitable the same way than traditional businesses, but we understood that being a social entrepreneur is redefining success. And for us, success looks like a positive change in the lives of our suppliers, co-workers, customers and everyone involved in Waykana.
To be a social entrepreneur you need to have a strong sense of responsibility towards the people and things that surround you. The goal is to interact with them in a sustainable way. In the process you would be tempted to take the easy way and forget about your principles, but only a clear vision and passion for our Social Organic Guayusa have kept us on tracks with our objectives.