Owner of an online shop for socially committed brands, Lucia Valencia Dongo is what you may call a social entrepreneur. Visiting the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh, this young and bouncy Peruvian has agreed to discuss business with Kawa News.
It’s commonplace to meet people from all over the world during the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh. Yet, it is not that trite to encounter a Peruvian diaspora. Lucia Valencia Dongo, a bubbly business woman from La Victoria, district of Lima, is one of them. The young woman is also one of many new young entrepreneurs who’ve decided to throw themselves into the social business.
In doing so, she founded an e-commerce website for socially committed brands and also works as a business and service designer at La Victoria Labs, a “human-centered” innovation lab based in Peru. Doing social entrepreneurship, in Saudi Arabia or elsewhere, is, according to Lucia, a matter of common sense.
First of all, how would you define a social business?
Lucia Valencia Dongo : A social business is a business. Therefore, it needs to be sustainable and has a financial goal. However, it also has a social goal, which is as important as the financial goal. So it needs to create impact. It’s bringing together the best of the business, and the best of a classic NGO. It’s important because businesses are the best and most efficient way to tackle issues. If you add the social component, it’s the easiest way to solve social issues.
Why is it important for young people to invest in this kind of projects?
Lucia Valencia Dongo : Young people in Peru, and also here (in Saudi Arabia, ed), have a huge commitment for creating change in society. So I truly believe that with a sustainable business, they can truly create change. Starting with something really small and making it bigger, they can start changing lives.
Do you think the social entrepreneurship could be interesting for young Saudis?
Lucia Valencia Dongo : Spending three days here, I learned that 70% of people in Saudi Arabia are young (75% of Saudi population is under 30, 58% is under 25, ed). It’s a huge population. And young people always have the courage, the innovation, the passion for creating something new.
So why not create a social business that can transform lives and society. They have the expertise of doing businesses. There are many famous and important companies in this country. So they need to take that leverage and those learnings and apply them to social projects.