Social Venture Features

The Mayan Store

The Mayan Store, co-founded by Gonzalo Pertile, MIDP’17, is a Guatemala-based company dedicated to the design and production of exclusive handmade home decor and personal accessories. They focus on revealing the traditional artisanal techniques of Central America, through innovative careful design.

Committed to the preservation of Mayan cultural heritage, they promote environmental and social awareness through the use of recycled materials and developing sustainable trade opportunities for their special network of artisans. The company currently provides job opportunities for more than 550 artisans in Guatemala.

Their designers work closely with artisans and indigenous communities of the region. They aim to introduce new concepts to handmade gifts and accessories, developing high quality innovative products that provide a twist towards sustainability and well-being.

Gonzalo and The Mayan Store were just chosen for the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative, which was started last year to empower entrepreneurs from Latin America and the Caribbean who are creating a positive influence in their societies and helping with human development. Check out DCID’s recent article on that here.

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Let’s Be Well Red

Let’s be Well Red (LBWR) is a social venture that aims to combat iron-deficiency anemia in India. 80% of India is anemic amounting to over 900 million people. Anemia is responsible for 65% of the maternal and fetal deaths in the country and is one of the leading causes of learning deficits among Indian children. 

In 2011, our founder, Rajvi Mehta conducted anemia testing and treating camps in the urban slums of Mumbai during which she tested and treated over 5000 anemic patients. During these interactions she found that while most patients were enthusiastic about adding iron to their diet after understanding the consequences of anemia, they were looking for a simple solution to their problem–they were looking for one iron-rich food supplement that contained the required daily dosage of iron. So, after one year of experimentation, LBWR launched its very own Gudness bar–an iron rich nutritional bar that contains enough iron to suffice a person’s daily iron requirement.

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You’re Not Alone

Check out this inspiring venture created in Tony Brown’s class two years ago by students Yolanda Qin, Tristan Haas, and Jenna Zhang. This venture now lives in the I&E’s Design to Impact Social Entrepreneurship Incubator and is gearing up for the new semester. If you would like to get involved, reach out to tristan.haas@duke.edu. Also, if you or someone you know is struggling, please feel free to join this supportive community and/or pass it along.

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