There are tons of amazing entrepreneurs making a positive impact in Spain. After connecting with many of these entrepreneurs, we wanted to share 15 who have dedicated their work to creating a positive social impact. Each of them focuses on a crucial social problem and how they can solve it.
Carmen Pellicer – Fundación Trilema
Carmen Pellicer, pedagogue, theologian and writer, has dedicated herself to changing the Spanish education system. She notes that there are a lot of problems in the Spanish education system. Two of the largest problems are mediocrity and the number of school failures. Moreover, Carmen Pellicer shared that, in Spain, the principal problem is a strong ideologization of education and that it is too politicized.
“To change a country, the education has to be changed”, says Carmen. Because of this, she created the Trilema foundation that acts to personalize the system and make it more adapted to students’ needs. Thanks to Trilema, more than 50,000 teachers have been trained and 3,000 schools in Europe and Africa have been transformed.
Carmen Pellicer has written a lot of books and didactic works in addition to producing movies for the trilogy, “La Buena Educación”. Her foundation works in different fields like teachers’ training, help growing social and ethical projects, education centers, audiovisual production, and internationalization of innovative programs.
Luz Rello – Change Dislexia
Luz Rello, Ph.D. in informatics, created Change Dislexia to reduce the number of children that fail in school because of dyslexia. Dyslexia is an illness that is not easily detected but causes a lot of difficulties for these students. Luz’s work started because of her own experience as a dyslexic student.
By combining scientific research and informatics, Change Dislexia provides training and informatics tools to help children affected by dyslexia have equal opportunities in school. The scientist presents her work in three steps. First, research, second, integrating the results in an app to be able to do the third step, which is providing knowledge and tools for parents, teachers and scientists. The app, Dytective, can detect within just 15 minutes of playing if children are affected by dyslexia.
Luz has won awards for her work, like the European Young Researchers’ Award.
Antonio Espinosa de los Monteros – Auara
After working for different ONG projects, Antonio Espinosa became aware of the problems that a lack of drinkable water was causing around the world. The reality is that 700 million people don’t have access to drinkable water. What’s worse, 80% of the illnesses in Third World countries come from the water. Due to the lack of access to water, people are spending more time in search of water than developing as a society.
Antonio aims to bring water to people in need. He shared this idea with a friend, and they together mixed entrepreneurship and humanitarian projects. Auara is the first social impact drink company in Spain and the first brand of water whose bottles are produced with 100% recycled materials. Auara is not only a water brand but also a social action whose profits go to social projects focused on access to water. These projects are directly run by Auara so that they can directly connect sales and humanitarian missions while controlling all actions financed by Auara.
Gloria Gubianas – Hemper
Chosen as the female entrepreneur of the year in Spain, 23-year-old Gloria Gubianas is the co-founder of Hemper. Hemper is a company that produces sustainable backpacks and fashion items. These products are handmade in Nepal with a material called hemp – a fabric that is eco-friendly.
From the start, Gloria has always had the desire to help people. Hemper creates jobs in Nepal for people who risk social exclusion. Additionally, the young entrepreneur specifies that Hemper is also a way to promote sustainable fashion among young people. The company, a certified B-corp, contributes to 17 of the UN’s sustainable goals.
But Hemper is not the only company founded by Gloria. She also created Sheedo, with three colleagues. Sheedo is a company that produces paper made of cotton and seeds that can be planted after it’s been used.
Laura Fernández – AllWomen
Laura Fernández co-founded AllWomen with the goal of training women for the tech world. Currently, only 20% of computing jobs are held by women. With the goal to change that, the company provides classes and events to motivate women to specialize in artificial intelligence and technology.
With AllWomen, Laura wants to break the stereotype around women lacking skills in technology. Laura, used to work in the cinema world and has now created a growing community of women becoming tech experts. AllWomen offers an 11-week training program and virtual courses too. According to Laura, the tech world is truly within every woman’s reach.
Manel Alcaide – Visualfy
Manel Alcaide, co-funder of Visualfy, spent ten years studying the needs of people with hearing loss. He realized these people face numerous obstacles because of a society that isn’t adapted to their daily needs. Nowadays, more than 360 million people suffer from hearing problems. Tragically, a lot of these people lose their lives because they can’t hear alert sounds.
Manel chose to use technology to help these people. Visualfy works by transforming sounds into visual signals that people receive in any electronic device. With his app, Manel hopes to be able to create a future more equalitarian for people with auditory disabilities. Visualfy is available for hotels, workplaces and public spaces.
Juanjo Manzano – AlmaNatura
Juanjo Manzano and his brother are co-founders of the first B-corp in Spain. Their company, AlmaNatura works to preserve the countryside populations. The problem the brother found is that only 15-20% of the Spanish people live in the countryside because of the exile. Juanjo highlighted that the first cause of a village’s disappearance is the lack of high schools.
To resolve this problem, AlmaNatura takes charge of the creation of public and private projects for rural communities and tries to cover these people’s needs. The company intervenes in four sectors: employment, education, health and technology. Their goal is to drive awareness and reactivate life in the countryside with the actual inhabitants. According to B Lab Spain, AlmaNatura is the company that has the most social and environmental impact in Spain.
Margarita Albors – SocialNest
After studying a management master at the University of Harvard, Margarita Albors created SocialNest, an accelerator for companies with a social or environmental impact. During her time at university, she realized the huge contrast between her world and the homeless. Since that discovery, she decided to act in favor of social enterprises. Her non-profit is based in Valencia and promotes entrepreneurship, investment, and technology with a focus on social impact.
Margarita aims to aid companies, by helping them from the start, to grow and positively change the world. SocialNest is working to promote and facilitate social entrepreneurship. Thanks to their SocialCafe they’re creating a community, a social space where people can meet and talk about various topics.
Roser Ballesteros – Voxprima
Roser Ballesteros teaches innovation focused on writing through her method called “Pictoescritura”. Fundador of Voxprima, Roser created a new teaching and learning method focused on writing and reading. Roser wants to solve a big problem in Spain as they have one of the lowest writing competences of their students. Moreover, creative capacity is decreasing when children start school. Roser wants to solve these problems through her innovative method.
Pictoescritura provides materials that stimulate creativity, drawing, visual thinking and storytelling. It’s a method that works in every language. Because of this method, students can work in a more collaborative way that allows them to find their own voices without limiting their creativity.
Ignacio Medrano – Savana
Neurologist, Ignacio Fernández Medrano, created Savana, an artificial intelligence platform able to understand complicated medical terms. Savana processes information so doctors and scientists can more easily access actual knowledge.
Ignacio highlights the biggest problem found in the health sector is access to information. The information becomes more complicated because it grows very quickly and exponentially. Savana helps expand medical research by presenting organized information and improving the quality of medical attention. Currently, six million patients benefit from this model. Ignacio won the Princesa Girona award for his work in 2019.
Victoria Tortosa – La Exclusiva
Victoria Tortosa founded La Exclusiva to meet the unique needs of countryside people. It’s an area where the population is decreasing dramatically. Due to the countryside exodus, the characteristics of the villages disappear and the people over time become more isolated. Access to services and basic necessities is complicated and sometimes impossible in some parts. With La Exclusiva, Victoria makes access, for aging people in particular, easier.
The company investigates the needs of every village to provide personalized services. La Exclusiva is dedicated to senior citizens but also to helping new generations by giving them the choice to stay in their villages. This social impact company has already helped more than 218 villages and aims to extend its impact to 1,000 villages in 2020.
Clara Jiménez Cruz – Maldita.es
Journalist, Clara Jiménez Cruz dedicates herself to the fight against fake news. Nowadays, we have access to a lot of information but also to a huge amount of false information. The problem lies in knowing what’s right and wrong. To fight against the lies and rumors in public and political discourse, Clara founded Maldita.es to provide tools to differentiate the truth from lies. Moreover, it’s a community that combats together to create a significant impact.
Maldita.es communicates with members of its community to identify and stop fake news from circulating. This non-profit promotes transparency in public and private institutions. For Clara, the community aspect is really important as due to it Maldita.es can exist.
Ana Bella Estévez – Fundación Ana Bella
The Ana Bella Foundation helps female victims of violence through networks of survivor women. Thanks to their testimonies, more women are now speaking up about what they have endured. In total, 80% of women don’t complain about the violence they have endured. The founder, Ana Bella, was a victim of violence for 11 years. Now her mission is to build an egalitarian society without violence against women. The network of women in the foundation is more than 20,000 around the world. When women stop being victims they become social change agents.
The effect of this foundation is wide: they help with prevention in schools, they share testimonies through communication media, and they have a Facebook group to allow women to connect with each other. Moreover, they offer a program called Programa Amiga that provides support, economic help, therapy, legal defense and more.
Isabel Guirao – A Toda Vela
Since 1997, Isabel Guirao has been fighting for the right for people suffering from intellectual disabilities to have inclusive free time. This group of people is isolated from society – a lot of them don’t have friends and are not included in social life – and this is the problem Isabel is solving. With A Toda Vela, Isabel offers these people opportunities to find their desires and interests and have hobbies. Moreover, it allows people to meet with each other which helps them create friendships.
The organization offers training to disabled people as well as professionals who are interested in the topic. A Toda Vela is working to help these people by providing personalized services for employment. Its mission is to help people with disabilities gain autonomy to have a more complete life.
Cristina Balbas – Escuelab
Cristina Balbas, Ph.D. in biomedicine, founded a project to democratize practical scientific education. Cristina became aware there was a lack of interest in the sciences in Spain. Her project allows children to have access to a scientific education thanks to an interactive and interesting method. Escuelab offers educational materials and organized workshops where children can try practical experiments.
Thanks to the association that is linked to Escuelab, the program is also accessible to children who risk social exclusion because of economic problems. Escuelab doesn’t only take care of the spreading of scientific knowledge but also the teaching skills. They focus on values like self- esteem, creativity and teamwork. Escuelab has received various prizes including the “UNICEF emprende” award in Spain.
These social entrepreneurs’ goals are to make a significant change that will improve the lives of others. Most of them are propelled by the fact that they faced a specific problem, and chose to solve it or at least work towards the change. Know another social entrepreneur in Spain that we should feature? Let us know in the comments below!
Are you a social entrepreneur looking to expand your impact and gain more brand exposure? Ola Impact can help with everything from marketing, to branding, content and more. Learn more here!
Author: Margot Schneider