redACTIVOS- Strengthening the network with production and trading of raw materials

redACTIVOS- Strengthening the network with production and trading of raw materials

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The project redACTIVOS, aims to promote social and economic empowerment of workers with disabilities through the creation of a network of marketing and distribution of products and services developed by them. The profitability of redACTIVOS will be reinvested to grow the network and a percentage will finance free social projects that La Usina Civil Association, develops at the national level to fulfill its mission, while respecting the nonprofit spirit.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The project seeks to empower the group of people with disabilities in Argentina. 2.2 million people with disabilities live in the country which impact on 8.8 million inhabitants, including the immediate family environment. In 1 in 5 homes in Argentina live a disabled person, who in 43.9% of cases plays the role of chief or head of household. Of these, 38.4% are not covered by health insurance and / or private or mutual health plan. Specifically regarding the integration into the real economy, the official unemployment rate of people with disabilities reach 45% (and 90% in unofficial figures). With redACTIVOS, more than 430 workers with intellectual disabilities are already part of the real economy. redACTIVOS develops its work in thirteen protected workshops which are located in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, one of the regions with the highest poverty indicators in the country. According to the latest index published by the INDEC in the 1st half of year 2010 (Institute of Statistics and Census) in the Greater Buenos Aires 6.2% of households are below the poverty line.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The project is innovative because: 1. It allows workers with disabilities to generate revenue rather than relying on a nest egg of $ 400. (Money given by the provincial or national government to a person with disabilities working in a protected workshop) 2. redACTIVOS, through their training, stimulates new skills, dedication and innovation in business processes for the protected workshop methodology 3. Protected workshops are no longer "therapeutic spaces" to become "productive units". 4. Protected workshops, to increase their level of production, are able to incorporate new people with disabilities to productive employment system, improving their living conditions. 5. The traditional relationship of "customer-supplier" becomes "Customer - Socially Responsible Supplier " for all redACTIVOS customers. 6. The surplus generated by redACTIVOS is fully invested in awareness campaigns developed by La USINA. 7. A service such as redACTIVOS is unique, there is nothing like it anywhere else in the world targeting this population.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

redACTIVOS is a social enterprise that sells and distributes products and services developed by disabled workers. The network manages three areas: Training and technical assistance, commercial operation, and collective purchasing of raw materials. The network services offered to the Protected Production Workshops (PPWs) members are free. PPWs are defined as government or private entities belonging to legally constituted associations recognized as a public good, whose purpose is the production of goods and / or services, whose plant is formed by workers with physical and / or mental disabilities, prepared and trained for the job, We help workers to become visible from their ability, autonomy and social value for the real economy. More than 300 workers with intellectual disabilities, housed in 12 PPWs are already part of the network and have other enterprises comprises of disabled workers have asked to enter the network. Products made by the 12 workshops who are members of the network now, have highly competitive levels of quality. These are: eco bags, polythene bags, cardboard and leather, available in different versions of layout and design. They also perform re-handling and assembly services.
About You
La Usina
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

La Usina

Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact
How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

Beginning in 2006, La Usina decided to invest resources in the management of social economy enterprises in order to increase the visibility of people with disabilities and their role in the communities while tackling the organization’s economic / financial vulnerability. The steering team, La Usina bets on the development of genuine sources of financing, in line with its mission. The driver force behind redACTIVOS team consisted of two founders of La Usina, who were joined later, by a student of business administration degree and 3 intern volunteers from Grupo Aportes de Gestion (a Management support NGO), of which one is today the President of the new organization. The School of Business at Universidad Austral, worked during the initial stage, through the department of social work field of IAE. The trading was launched on February 25, 2008, when it obtained its legal status -independent from La Usina and tax registrations required to operate commercially.

Social Impact
Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured

The Indicators Used to Measure the Social Impact of the Project describes below:
Qualitative Indicators
1. Reduction of Poverty and exclusion of disabled people.
2. Social and Economic Empowerment of Workers in the workshops.
3. Positioning in the market economy.
4. Customer satisfaction by providing quality services and products.
5. Reduction of the idle capacity of the workshops
6. Increasing the number of hours assigned to each worker to perform each task.
7. Diversification of the number of tasks performed by each worker with a disability.
Quantitative Indicators:
1. Employment opportunities for People with Disabilities and the Organizations that gather them.
2. Evolution of Income Received by Each worker
1.3. Number of shops that adhere to the Network
4. Number of consumers involved.
2.5. Partnerships with other organizations
3.6. Customer base increase
The results achieved over the 3 years of operations are:
1. 13 PPWs operating in the network. Two workshops are in the process of incorporation.
2. 420 employed Workers with Disabilities in redACTIVOS
3. 33 companies working with the protected workshops. Change in the relationship from: Customer - Supplier to the Customer - Socially Responsible Supplier.
4. Increase of 25% Average Monthly Income of Workers with Disabilities.
4.5. More than 100 people with Disabilities working in sustainably managed workshops
6. 3 Universities contacts

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How many people have been impacted by your project?


How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?


How will your project evolve over the next three years?

In 2011 we are focused on selling services and products made by workers with disabilities in the PPWs.
The long-term has 4 dimensions:
- Enter New Markets
- Introduce new products and services
- Increase the number of disabled workers in protected production workshops.
- Incorporate other people with other disabilities (motor, sensory, visceral) to the enterprises network
For operational reasons and to facilitate the launch of the Network, initially we decided to target the public of the Federal Capital and Greater Buenos Aires. But the medium and long term goal is to position ourselves in all regions of Argentina.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

One barrier is the lack of funding to implement the requirements described herein, which dilates the time to achieve the results redACTIVOS seeks.
Another barrier is the mistrust of people towards the quality of products made by disabled workers in the PPWs. This challenge is the great opportunity of the project, by overcoming this barrier we would be generating the attitudinal change that we seek.

Tell us about your partnerships

In addition to the network members have the support of Ashoka - AFRAS - Franchise od Solidarian Association FETAP - Federation of Protected Workshops of the Province of Buenos Aires, Grupo Aportes de Gestión for the Third Sector and SolidariaPyme network.
Articulated work with the Office for Persons with Disabilities Policies of the City of Moron.
We have the support of a company's corporate volunteer YPF to implement product costing system in the network members PPWs.
On the other hand, the ITBA - Instituto Tecnológico Buenos Aires, began training and mentoring for the improvement of production processes in the workshops of the network.

Explain your selections

RedACTIVOS is financed through responsible purchasing that perform different actors of society in Argentina, such as foundations and corporations.
To date redACTIVOS has not received technical or financial support from the national, provincial or municipal governments

How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?

In the year 2011 we are working with the production capacity of 13 PPWs located in Buenos Aires Province composed by mostly people with mental disabilities , involving about 420 workers and 40 people.
During 2012 and 2013 we will add approximately 40 PPWs to the network that are already developing products for Packaging, these workshops represent 20% of a total of 502 protected workshops. This will impact on the lives of some 3,300 people with disabilities added to their family circle transforming the lives of some 13,000 people
Our is long term goal is to reach the majority of people with disabilities working in protected employment, more than 10,000 today. To this end, beginning in 2014 we will incorporate the total portfolio of products and services currently produced by PPWs.
Finally we seek to incorporate redACTIVOS to all businesses of people with disabilities in the country to impact as much as possible on the universe of 2.2 million people who we want to transform into visible and active citizens.

Which barriers to employment does your innovation address?
Please select up to three in order of relevancy to your project.



Restricted access to new markets


Lack of visibility and investment

Please describe how your innovation specifically tackles the barriers listed above.

By incorporating Occupational Therapy, whose expertise may relocate workers according to the skills identified, managed to optimize production processes to improve efficiency
Through mass production we intend for redACTIVOS to become more competitive in price, coming to market with certified scale and quality to compete in the market. For this we will develop a marketing plan according to the production capacities workshops have.

Are you trying to scale your organization or initiative?
If yes, please check up to three potential pathways in order of relevancy to you.


Enhanced existing impact through addition of complementary services


Influenced other organizations and institutions through the spread of best practices


Please describe which of your growth activities are current or planned for the immediate future.

Through the integration of the occupational therapist we will perform an individual assessment of current capabilities, skills, levels of personal autonomy and potential workers that make up the workshop to incorporate new tasks to People with disabilities according to their skills. With the addition of new tasks, workers can improve their skills.
With the work of redACTIVOS, the PPWs stopped being considered a therapeutic space, and were transformed into real-Production units

Do you collaborate with any of the following: (Check all that apply)

NGOs/Nonprofits, For profit companies, Academia/universities.

If yes, how have these collaborations helped your innovation to succeed?

The companies have contributed through their Corporate Social Responsibility programs to disclose the ability of people with disabilities focusing on their skills with a focus on professional work, quality and entrepreneurship, which achieves that workers with disabilities are visible.
The universities have collaborated in conducting profitability and efficiency reports, useful for improving the production processes of the PPWs. And the same students in the universities come and get to know a different reality of their daily lives.