Empowering Indigenous Community Through Art

5. Gender Equality 10. Reduced Inequalities 16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Overview

Mexican indigenous communities are occupied by people who live their culture in its full form. “Etnia” embraces this fact and seeks to empower these groups to produce handcrafts and to value them not as souvenirs but as a true art form changing the mindset not only of locals but also anyone who might be in touch with the Mexican culture and its value.

The goal for this project is to someday achieve economic independence for these communities and their inhabitants, demonstrate that their work is of great value, and give them the strength and structure they need for them to keep a steady form of income with their business.

Authors

Hector Gonzalez

Hector Gonzalez

Karla Garcia

Karla Garcia

Maria Ines Fernandez Nava

Maria Ines Fernandez Nava

Karen Stephanie Martínez

Karen Stephanie Martínez

School

EGADE Business School Tecnologico de Monterrey

EGADE Business School Tecnologico de Monterrey

Professor

Consuelo Garcia-de-la-torre

Consuelo Garcia-de-la-torre

Innovation

Mexican indigenous communities are occupied by people who live their culture in its full form. “Etnia” embraces this fact and seeks to empower these groups to produce handcrafts and to value them not as souvenirs but as a true art form changing the mindset not only of locals but also anyone who might be in touch with the Mexican culture and its value.

Differentiation with competitors is achieved with long term commitments with artisans and their families. Contact with communities is not lost throughout the time, instead, the relationship keeps growing and getting stronger through constant visits and the use of technology for communication.

Empowering Indigenous Community Through Art

Inspiration

Six years ago, and as part of a Leadership and Entrepreneurship class assignment the team took on the task of developing a project that would deliver a real social impact. As a result, “Etnia” was born within Mexican indigenous communities searching for a way to involve people in a productive activity as a means of poverty reduction while at the same time maintaining the right productive balance.

Overall impact

As of this moment, “Etnia” is working with over 60 artisans boosting their form of art, their design, and Mexican product manufacturing through the highest quality standards and with broad communication of the story behind every piece. The project mainly works with mothers who besides delivering outstanding art also accomplish to fill their role within their families and communities.

The goal for this project is to someday achieve economic independence for this communities and their inhabitants. Demonstrate them that their work is of great value and give them the strength and structure they need for them to keep a steady form of income with their business.

“Etnia” delivers a great impact in small and medium Mexican companies by aligning their interest with the ones from the artisans by offering dignified jobs with fair wages and locally sourced inputs. Every community has a leader who is in charge of organizing and managing fabric manufacturing in such a way that they can deliver products on time.

Community development has been achieved through new technologies training and by fostering new generations to go outside of their surroundings and prepare themselves to achieve a better quality of life for them and their families.

Business benefit

Etnia is a financially solid and sustainable company, doesn’t require external financing. In the last few years Etnia has had an economic growth through higher sales.

Every product is made entirely in Mexico. Every input is sourced by searching for the very best not only considering price and quality, but also fair labor conditions for manufacturers.

Economic gain is kept in Mexico, but more importantly, it is kept within the community from which the everything comes. Today, products are sold through distributors in countries like Japan and Canada gradually changing the mindset of every client with regards to Mexican handcrafts.

Social and environmental benefit

Long term empowerment for outlying communities that in normal conditions would not have access to many crucial opportunities but that can develop them by themselves while at the same time living their culture at its finest and developing great quality handcrafted products.

Etnia provides guidance to artisans regarding well-being of the environment, good working conditions and protection of the environment are very important. Etnia also endeavors environment protection by prevention of animal cruelty, by not purchasing products made of bone, by using only cruelty free leather derived from naturally dead animals, by minimizing environment waste, chemical and emission hazards, protecting flora and fauna.

Interview

Karen Cornejo, Founder

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Etnia

Etnia

Monterrey, Mexico

Business Website: http://www.etnia.com.mx

Year Founded: 2017

Number of Employees: 2-10

Etnia empowers Mexican women that live in outlying indigenous communities providing them with training, assistance and a platform with which they can sell their handcrafted forms of art. Etnia aspires to change the mindsets of both inhabitants of this communities and customers that traditionally view this products as souvenirs and not as art.