Exclusive Interview: InnoSocial’s Natalia Cortes Discusses Social Entrepreneurship
Colombian Nonprofit Fundacion InnoSocial held their first “International Congress of Personal Branding, Entrepreneurship, & Digital Marketing in Bogotá last month. The event, the first of its kind, was designed to bring together students, business people, aspiring entrepreneurs, and digital marketers to exchange ideas and hear the featured speakers, some, like Ricardo Suarez Caballero, from as far away as Spain.
Caballero, the head of Spain’s Instituto Internacional Español de Marketing Digital, or International Spanish Institute of Digital Marketing, gave three seminars; one on “The importance of internationalization, and the power of electronic commerce,” “Techniques of Marketing, Social Networks, Online Publicity, and Digital Reputation Management,” and “Web Positioning and Keyword Strategies.” Also presenting were Julian Castiblanco, who spoke on “Personal Branding in the World of Business,” Raúl Rodriguez, speaking on “Business in the Competitive Context.” The student entrepreneurial group GET also gave a workshop on “What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur.”
Finance Colombia’s Executive Editor Loren Moss recently had lunch with InnoSocial director Natalia Cortes at Bogota’s trendy new penthouse restaurant Upper Side to learn more about what InnoSocial is setting out to accomplish.
FC: What is InnoSocial?
Cortes: We are a non-profit entity that seeks to, through innovation; make Colombia a competitive country, and leader in Latin America. InnoSocial Colombia is an organization of entrepreneurs, investors, social leaders, businesspeople, students and innovators who want to create social impact and development.
We have 5 pillars: Peace, reconciliation, social inclusion, entrepreneurship, and innovation. We work towards these on two fronts. The first is business development, with which we can foment investment in the different sectors of the economy. In the same way, we train and advise the businessperson in different areas with the goal of achieving greater productivity, and competitiveness, with educational programs, conventions, business events both nationally and internationally. We are always looking for ways to affect society in a positive way, developing employment, social responsibility, and social innovation.
Our second front is dedicated to social work in rural areas of extreme poverty here in Colombia where the government doesn’t have a presence. We promote empowerment of the most vulnerable communities, and those displaced by the violence, using processes of reconciliation and social inclusion. Before, we have done training and business education conforming to the necessities of generating local development and self-sustainability.
FC: Why was the group formed?
Cortes: InnoSocial came out of the necessity to take to every corner of the country, the goal of promoting business entrepreneurship and generating social change. Colombia is one of the most unequal countries in Latin America. InnoSocial wants to reach those areas beyond state presence to develop their business potential. Our foundation seeks to generate business opportunities from a national network of social and business innovation.
FC: What other services do you offer, and to whom?
Cortes: We offer business consulting, training, education programs, specifically with different themes such as leadership, entrepreneurship, international experience, business missions—both nationally and internationally for investors, academic trips to the United States, and processes of reconciliation and social inclusion.
FC: What was the idea behind the event?
Cortes: The idea of our first International Congress of Personal Branding, Entrepreneurship and Digital Marketing was to bring to our businesspeople the tools necessary to position their business on the internet properly, and to manage their social networks. Furthermore, we discuss the theme of entrepreneurship relative to competiveness that every entrepreneur should seek to differentiate themselves. We had important speakers, both nationally and internationally.
The Spanish presenter and director of the Spanish International Institute of Digital Marketing, Ricardo Suárez Caballero was with us, as well as Raúl Rodriguez, director of the Colombian Corporation of Entrepreneurs, Julián Castiblanco, the marketer and journalist from Radio Todelar, and the Student Group of Entrepreneurship (GET).
FC: What events are programmed for 2015?
Cortes: In 2015, we are bringing to the forefront a business leadership event where we will have well known national and international invitees from the United States. In the same way, we will have our academic mission to Harvard for business women who will represent Colombia in one of the most important global business events.
Finally, we are developing an important social project that will bring business innovation to our country’s most vulnerable population.