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Next Steps from Caldas

A few weeks have passed since we announced the 10 winning concepts in our OpenIDEO Social Business Challenge. Since then, things have been moving quickly for the Grameen Creative Lab team in Colombia, with many of our projects taking great steps forward!

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A young girl in Caldas participates in the Bienestar social business pilot.
Before kicking off our OpenIDEO challenge, the Grameen Creative Lab team developed a pilot social business in the health sector called Bienestar ( learn more). Bienestar provides access to high quality health services at a reduced cost, through a membership card that is sold at the equivalent of $5 per year. Presently in its pilot phase, it has almost 100 members in the town of Villamaria, a rural area outside of Caldas’ capital city Manizales.
Last week we learned that Bienestar won the Artemisia Social Business Competition, a global competition for funding and support for new social business startups. Our Bienestar project was selected from among more than 50 proposals from all over the world for the comprehensiveness of its business plan and for its capacity to generate impact, using Prof. Yunus’ social business methodology. The first prize consists of seed funding of US $5,000 for Bienestar.
How does this relate to our OpenIDEO Challenge? As a next step, the entrepreneurial team at Bienestar is considering how to incorporate some of your social business concepts into its business plan and strategy. For instance, we’re looking at how to integrate Sarah Fathallah’s Madre Cuidadora concept into the promotion model of Bienestar in order to support the expansion of its outreach to Villamaria. These community mothers would be trained in basic health promotion and prevention, and would receive wages for promoting Bienestar’s services.
Another concept we’re considering is Crecer y Ahorrar, also created by Sarah. Bienestar is thinking of developing a special card for children, which could include the “growth monitoring” tool mentioned in the concept. In addition, Bienestar could develop partnerships with drugstores in order to provide price reductions on the purchase of children's items. We’re also actively reviewing all of the concepts generated in this OpenIDEO challenge to find other ideas that we can incorporate into Bienestar and other Grameen initiatives in Caldas.
With all this going on in Caldas, Colombia, we are looking for volunteers to join our team in the field, as well as for a CEO for Grameen Caldas. If you are interested, please send us your resume along with a cover letter at We are also looking for investors for our three pilot projects and to finance our activities in general - the Social Business Investment Fund, the Micro-credit Organization and Grameen Caldas’s operational costs. Contact us at to learn more. We will be happy to hear from you!
We are eager to continue sharing updates and implementation stories in this Realisation Phase! In the meantime, thank you again for your extremely valuable contributions to this Challenge.

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may I echo Sarah's question. In order for these endeavors to become meaningful there seems to be some responsibility on the part of OpenIDEO to:

a)maintain its site
b) also provide information on the number of similar projects that extant, globally. In this case, the cost of such a project requires that it encompass more than one community such as being done in Africa. Unlike the original "bank", healthcare requires different thinking to be sustainable. This holds for the several other health related Open IDEO efforts.

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Hi Tom - I'm not sure if you saw the latest update?

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