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Unreasonables, Episode 11: Using The Power Of Business To End Poverty

What many of Brazil’s poorest people lack isn’t skills, but a marketplace. What if they had access to the shelves of the country’s biggest stores to sell what they make? It turns out, they can turn a tidy profit.

Brazil is the seventh largest economy in the world, but it also has more than 2 million people who live on less than $2 a day. This paradox frustrated Tiago Dalvi so much that he founded Solidarium, an organization designed to help monetize the skills of poor Brazilians to help them earn their way out of poverty.

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For instance, a woman might be excellent at sewing, but living in a community with other impoverished people, it’s hard to make money from those skills. That’s where Solidarium comes in, connecting the artisan to large stores (think Walmart or JCPenney), who then start carrying the woman’s goods. Artisans drastically increase their income, while the stores get interesting and authentic products to sell.

This is the latest video in The Unreasonables, a series tracking the participants in the most recent Unreasonable Institute. To see what’s coming up, watch a preview of the whole season and see a list of all the episodes here.

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About the author

Morgan is a senior editor at Fast Company. He edits the Impact section, formerly FastCoExist.com. Have an idea for a story? You can reach him at mclendaniel [at] fastcompany.com

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