Two Entrepreneurs Promoting Visibility and Inclusivity in Brazil
Sep 12, 2022
Meet two entrepreneurs from Brazil with businesses that support the local LGBTQIA+ community.
Since 2000, Shell Iniciative Jovem, Shell LiveWIRE’s country programme in Brazil, has supported entrepreneurs to promote economic development and build a generation of new leaders committed to Brazil’s future. The programme supports businesses with a focus on inclusive economic development with ethics and sustainability as part of their core business model. As PRIDE 2022 comes to an end, we are highlighting two of Iniciative Jovem’s entrepreneurs who are working towards a more inclusive Brazil.
Jaciana Melquiades, 3rd place winner of the Shell Iniciative Jovem 2019 award, is the founder of Era Uma Vez o Mundo. Fittingly, the company name translates to “Once Upon a Time the World,”. The company manufactures toys that promote Black representation and contributes to the anti-racist dialogue in Brazil. Beyond the social objectives of her core business, providing toys and educational activities that showcase Brazil’s racial diversity, Jaciana has found a way to increase her community impact by hiring trans-women to work on the production line. Many of these women, and other employees, are Black and/or are in situations of social vulnerability. When asked about why inclusivity was an important part of her business and employment model, Jaciana said “Black, cis-, and trans-women, as we see in our social history, are the base of the pyramid, the group that has the greatest social vulnerability. And trans-women still occupy the painful place of being the greatest victims of lethal violence. I believe employability is one of the keys to transformation; it's the start of building that dignified place we deserve as women and professionals.”
Another former Iniciative Jovem participant, Coletiva DELAS, is a creative hub that produces content, experiences and entrepreneurial training for women and the LGBTQIA+ community. Founded by Karla Suarez in 2016,the company has been creating collaborative networks to help creators transform their ideas into projects that contribute to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This year, it launched a new programme for diversity in the creative industries called POD.CRIAR. In its pilot, a group of 40 women and LGBTQIA+ people will receive support, free of charge, to develop their creative social impact projects, from formalising their businesses to planning to scale and make them sustainable in the long term. Ultimately, the team at Coletiva DELAS hopes to create a sustainable impact in the LGBTQIA+ community and for women by mentoring the next generation of creators who can pass on their learning through mentorship and community building.
Both of these businesses highlight the importance of representation and illustrate the role businesses can play in creating a more equitable economy. Shell Iniciative Jovem and all Shell LiveWIRE programmes seek to train strong business leaders who are ready to support their communities economically and socially. To read more about Shell’s commitment to advancing LGBTQIA+ communities, click here.