Neus Portas Interview: A Story of a Social Entrepreneur

Neus Portas is a TeamAcademy coach in Indala Company, who is also a social entrepreneur, coach and who we interviewed today to find out more about her life and projects. It is not very often that you get an opportunity to speak to someone with so much experience and expertise in such important topics like social entrepreneurship, aid, and design. 

GoodBites is a social platform that was founded by three great women, Neus Portas, her mother, and sister. There are many different ways of collecting money for many great causes such as through donations and crowdfunding. The main problem here is that when donators give their money, there is no transparency about where this money will go. GoodBites flipped the coin by collecting money through empowering anyone who would want to, to host tasty and fun social dinners. They would cook and provide food and people would contribute monetary whatever they can. This became a great movement after a quick expansion from the dinners to bigger events and special dinners where more and more money was collected. Their focus changed over time a little bit. Because of their help, more and more kids were saved and healed with their help. Apart from collecting money for treating affected children, they also crowdfunded money for widow women from the lowest castes in India, and now they are focused on nutritional projects together with “Vicente Ferrer” foundation. Now, GoodBites became a digital platform that empowers other people to create events that will contribute to the specific projects and make this world a little bit better.

Another company of hers that inspired me the most is called “La casa de Carlota”, which is a design studio where “super hero” guys with Down syndrome are the ones who create the designs and work with the clients. They collaborate with professional designers that put together the ideas and manage the creative process to create amazing products for their clients. The best part is that they are a social enterprise, an LTD and that they empower these people with creative super powers to do what they couldn’t have done otherwise. Having created such a socially conscious and sustainable business model was a real revelation for me. Since the first moment they started they had won 3 awards already,  and created projects such as Barcelona’s Christmas Marketing campaign and many others.

Finally, we talked about one of the projects that she considered as “failure”, but in fact it was even a greater learning. Getting started the project, falling in love with it, being with it for such a long time and realising that there is no market is a big let down for such a passionate entrepreneur. One of the most memorable tips she gave me was that one has to make sure to do the greatest market research possible and be flexible enough to pivot and re-ajust to the needs of the customers. One has to know when to stop fighting and letting go of something that is destined to die.

One of the ideas that we thought about after a quick brainstorm is to get a collaboration between Impackt Farm and “La Casa De la Carlota”. Impackt farm is a start up that aims to revolutionize donations system and aid model through implementation of vertical farms. Collaborating with this design studio can be mutually beneficial for both of us, but also give another angle to my socially conscious start-ups. This is a great realization for me, as I did not image that it feels so great to imagine every part of your product or service being created by people who deserve the work, who are even more creative and who were given opportunities to leverage the creativity.

Neus also gave me two contacts, one is a person who is part of the WFP organisation, who is charge of getting governmental support and legal issues of the NGOs; world food program is exactly the organisation would be perfect to collaborate with because of contacts, additional support, research and help with resources that they can give us. The other contact is part of B Corp certification issuer called B Lab, who will be able to help us at the time of founding our company as a social enterprise instead of an NGO or a non-for-profit. This is the most appealing legal model for us, as we still want to make profits with our idea and make sure that every stakeholder involved in our company is happy and satisfied with our results.

Another idea of a project that we talked about is the project of a Food Hub, where a residency program could be implemented to solve the biggest food security issues in the world with the help of artists, disadvantaged communities, scientists, and entrepreneurs. This could be done with the help of GoodBites, La Casa de Carlota, Thought for Food Foundation and the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalunya.

Having talked with Neus was the greatest inspiration that I had in a long time. I have learned so much about social enterprises, validated my pitch and project with someone who has loads f experience and knowledge. There were many project ideas that got out the meeting and I would like to keep her updated and stay in touch for many more conversations like this.

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