Entrepreneurship and professional qualification for LGBT inclusion in Rio de Janeiro

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Fabricada and Preta

The Micro Rainbow Brazil Project was developed based on the needs of the LGBT population in situations of socioeconomic vulnerability, identified in the research LGBT people living in poverty in Rio de Janeiro: getting a job in the labour market or starting their own business. MRI structured the project in the following way:

1) Employability, focusing on free professional training and training on LGBT inclusion for private companies;

2) Entrepreneurship, with training on finance and business management and monitoring the opening or expansion of small businesses.

Throughout the project’s implementation, however, it became clear that connection between these lines of action was not only desirable but inevitable. Many entrepreneurial beneficiaries have taken courses in the area of ​​employability to improve their technical qualifications, often a necessary requirement for the expansion of their enterprises. Other participants who sought a professional course with the intention of accessing the formal labour market were motivated to invest in their own businesses, either by the possibility of becoming independent, or by the lack of employment opportunities caused by Brazil’s political-economic crisis.

This is the case of Ruan Félix Schneider, who took a professional cooking course at our partner NGO Gastromotiva. When he started at the project, he had an emerging business working from the kitchen of his own home. Nowadays, he is head of Mr. Carrot the first vegan food delivery service from the low-income neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro.

“I was already working in the area, but Gastromotiva totally changed my understanding of professionalism. I have learned a lot. I knew how to explore other aspects to better develop the brand but I have learned to optimize time –  some things that I were  taking me 14 hours to do, now take half that time.”

Mell Brígida, who was also a Gastromotiva student in 2016 and later graduated from the Micro Rainbow Brazil entrepreneurship course was able to increase both her gingerbread recipes and her business, ArtGourmet&Cia. In the same year she was referred to a training for LGBT people promoted by Rede Cidadã, obtaining a place of work in an international restaurant during the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Mell is a perfect example of coordination between job opportunities and investment in her own business.

Aline Pinheiro took the opposite direction. She joined MRI’s entrepreneurship course, where she planned for her business, Amor em Doces, her confectionery company. Shortly thereafter, due to the Brazil’s economic crisis, she closed her enterprise, graduated from both Gastromotiva and Rede Cidadã courses and worked, in her own words, “in the biggest restaurant in the world”, where she served more than 20,500 meals a day during the Rio Olympics. Today she works as a cook for the major hotel chains in the city, moving her professional career to the labour market.

Igor Lopes, also a former student of Gastromotiva, was encouraged to open his own brand, DuIgu, and planned his business on the Micro Rainbow entrepreneurship course. Another Gastromotiva student, Rayssa Kerollany met other course participants Ana Lima and Evelin Novaes, owners of Fábrica da Preta catering service, and is currently working with them at events. Finally, the entrepreneur Evelin Novaes is now training at the CNA Città Americas language course, an activity in partnership with the project’s employability activity.

There are many examples that testify to the professional versatility of MRI students and also point out the excellent results achieved in the interfaces between both activities. A further benefit is the professional network that is consolidating among the participants of the project. To learn more about some of these stories, read our publication on the case studies of the Micro Rainbow Brazil Project.

If you would like to make a comment or ask a question, please join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

If you like the work of MRI please do make sure to stay connected by signing up to MRI’s quarterly e-bulletin. If you want to have even a greater impact on LGBTI peoples’ lives consider becoming an Ally. Allies help MRI to reach out to more LGBTI people in poverty and to provide them with some of the tools they need to lift themselves out of it.

For more information about MRI’s work in Brazil please contact Lucas Paoli Itaborahy, Project Manager

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