- In the spring of 2008, as an extension of the G.R.O. Lesotho education programs , G.R.O. launched two start-up social-enterprise businesses. Rather than focusing on micro-credit, G.R.O. focused on locating existing but struggling local entrepreneurial projects (two small women’s collectives) and providing targeted capital infusions for business start-up, early stock and overhead costs as well as market access. By having G.R.O. personnel ‘on the ground’ in Lesotho, we’ve been able to facilitate connections to international markets, ensure the separate enterprises were supporting each other, and ensure our supporters funds were used directly on programs and in a targeted way to ensure business sustainability.
- The G.R.O. Artisans’ Collective – is a handicraft collective of women affected by HIV/AIDS.
How does the collective contribute to social good?
- The profits of the collective are used for the continued operation of the business and most importantly contribute to a G.R.O. social benefits program for each member. The social benefits program retains proceeds from the sale of the jewelry to provide each member with a comprehensive medical support plan, emergency leave support, babysitting services at work, and other crisis support. As many artisans are HIV+, the social benefits plan provides them with security should their illness prevent them from working for a long period of time, and also ensures they can get the treatment they need.
- It is important to note that the social benefits plan is paid for out of what would normally be the business’ shareholder profits NOT a portion of the women’s wages. The GRO social business model includes providing an above minimum ‘fair wage’, full social benefits program, and additional crisis/business development support from G.R.O. Canada.
Information and media taken from the G.R.O website @ http://www.grofoundation.org/index.php?id=50 and http://www.grofoundation.org/index.php?id=57