Solution overview

Our Solution

Aequales

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Tagline

Social enterprise that uses technology to change organizations through gender equity, promoting equal working conditions for men and women

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Pitch us on your solution

The Gender Gap Report in Latin America (LA) demonstrates a 29.2% gender gap. Women earn 30% less despite higher graduation rates, and are not treated equally in the workplace. Closing this gap could increase LA’s annual GDP by 34%. However, solutions used to address this issue have been based on training and are not showing results. 

Aequales wants to use technology and data to allow organizations to make evidence-based decisions to close gender gaps. We developed PAR tool that, through an online platform, allows organizations to measure their gender equality (GE) conditions. It has collected data from over 700 organizations, gathering the largest database on corporate GE in LA. Therefore, we are now using data analytics to expand platform functionalities and create a whole GE management tool that will provide organizations with strategic and comparative data. This will allow us to reach organizations worldwide beyond the limitations of traditional services

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What is the problem you are solving?

According to the Global Gender Gap Report, Latin America (LA) has a 29.2% gender gap. Women earn 30% less and, despite graduating in higher numbers and with better grades, they are not treated equally in the workplace, when according to McKinsey, corporations are 21% more profitable if they have gender diversity in leadership positions. Additionally, closing the gender gap in the labor market could increase LA’s annual GDP by 34%. Specifically, in the digital economy that represents the future of work, the gap is greater: jobs in STEM areas are growing 14% annually; nevertheless, women represent only 18% of the students in this kind of majors, 26% of the job positions and only 11% of the leadership positions. 

However, the approach that organizations have used to address this issue has been mainly based on training and it’s not showing results: according to Deloitte, although 71% of organizations aspire to have an inclusive culture, only 12% have reached the highest level of the model proposed by the report. That’s why Aequales seeks to complement this approach with technology and data that will allow organizations to make evidence-based decisions to effectively close gender gaps.  

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Who are you serving?

Our major goal is to reach GE in the workplace to improve working conditions and opportunities for women and men. Nevertheless, because historical conditions have particularly affected women putting them in a disadvantaged position, our work is mainly directed to empower women and build a more inclusive workplace that allows them to thrive in corporations. Women have been historically excluded from the economy mainly because of gender stereotypes and bias. Studies have shown that women are 30% less likely to be called to a job interview than men with their same characteristics. Additionally, women are especially excluded from the digital economy. Therefore, our aim is to make use of this same technology to prevent women from being left out from the 4th Industrial Revolution. However, to make a real change, we need to work not only with women but also with men and especially male leader decision-makers in order to change sexist and discriminatory behaviors.

Aequales has done more than 20 qualitative diagnosis to evaluate GE conditions in organizations around LA, where we do focus groups with employees (men and women) to specifically ask about their needs and the barriers that they have faced in their workplace because of their gender.

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What is your solution?

Aequales has three lines of work: 

  • PAR tool
  • Aequales Community
  • Consultancy services

PAR tool works as a freemium model where organizations have access to a diagnosis of their GE conditions for free, through an online platform. Additionally, based on this information, they participate in PAR Ranking where we host a CGE awards ceremony in each country to recognize the best organizations. Starting in July, we'll offer premium functionalities of the tool that will allow companies to: have a dashboard with their GE metrics, a retrospective analysis of these metrics, the possibility to compare their results with different kinds of corporations worldwide and a compilation of the best corporate GE practices. Next year, the platform will integrate more complex methods of data analytics that will give companies a prospective and prescriptive analysis of their metrics to anticipate their future patterns and get data-based recommendations on how to move forward in effectively closing gender gaps. 

 

PAR tool and PAR Ranking serve as the basis for other services. Based on their diagnosis, we approach corporations and invite them to improve through our consultancy services that we personalize using data. Additionally, the more committed corporations are invited to join Aequales Community where, in exchange for an annual fee, we train them and build a community. The Community currently gathers 75 organizations in Colombia, Perú and México.

 

PAR tool is what will enable Aequales to scale, because it allows us to overcome the physical requirements of our services and reach corporations worldwide where we're not directly present. That's why this year we opened PAR tool to every country in LA. This kind of tool, combined with on-site and personalized services when necessary, as well as a corporate network for practice sharing, will provide a much more comprehensive and effective model for reaching gender parity in the workplace. Additionally, this will enable corporations to connect with one another in order to share their gender equality practices and results, creating a strong community that will promote GE and join efforts to close gender gaps.

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Select only the most relevant.

  • Create or advance equitable and inclusive economic growth
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Where is your solution team headquartered?

Bogotá, Bogota, Colombia
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Our solution's stage of development:

Growth
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More about your solution

Select one of the below:

New application of an existing technology
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Describe what makes your solution innovative.

Currently, the solutions to address this issue in the region are mainly: 

  • Local GE consulting agencies that offer services based on training and on-site consulting

  • GE certifications and assessments, such as the “Comunidad del Sello” and UN’s WEPs tool. However, this model has proven ineffective because it’s too expensive and time ­consuming so very few corporations have it 

Our main competitive advantage is our focus on data and technology. As mentioned, the traditional approach is not showing results, so we offer a new, easy to use solution that allows organizations to make evidence-based decisions. Besides, existing models are hardly scalable because they need physical presence, and that's where our online platform is an advantage. Additionally, GE assessments only provide organizations with their own descriptive data. PAR tool, on the other hand, has gathered the biggest CGE dataset in the region and can give companies comparative information with a prospective and prescriptive analysis.

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Describe the core technology that your solution utilizes.

As mentioned before, Aequales aims to become a technology-based enterprise for CGE. Our first step in achieving this goal was the implementation of our PAR tool. By developing an online platform we were able to reach a higher number of organizations, engage organizations and gather data on a standardized and automated way, in order to make visible the gender gaps. This information also allowed us to provide personalized and informed consultancy services for organizations, allowing them to take action into closing gender gaps in terms of work-life balance, gender pay gap, leadership gaps, etc. 


Now, we are leveraging technology to build a whole GE management tool based mostly on automated data analytics. At the moment, we are only using a descriptive analysis, but for the next stages of the project we want to implement machine learning to develop algorithms that will detect patterns and make predictions and recommendations by processing data and experiences. This will provide organizations with a more accurate and valuable information to effectively close gender gaps. We're also evaluating other kinds of AI applications that could help organizations to identify and prevent bias. Moreover, our aim is to use technology to make our internal processes much more efficient so our model can be easily scalable and have a greater impact.

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Why do you expect your solution to address the problem?

60% of the organizations that have used the PAR tool to measure their GE conditions, have implemented actions afterwards to close their gender gaps. Additionally, the organizations that have used it more than two years in a row have increased their participation of women in leadership positions by 5% in two years. 

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Select the key characteristics of the population your solution serves.

  • Women & Girls
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In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Colombia
  • Mexico
  • Peru
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In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Mexico
  • Peru
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How many people are you currently serving with your solution? How many will you be serving in one year? How about in five years?

On the one hand, this year we've measured GE conditions in more than 700 organizations through our PAR tool, with an annual growth between 35% and 140% in participation rates. We plan to measure 800 organizations in Latin America by the end of the year. This translates to a potential impact of approximately 780.000 employees. 

On the other hand, through our consultancy services, we've directly trained 7.030 employees in different GE topics and we've reached over 120 organizations with an indirect impact of 164.000 employees. Moreover, we have formed a community of 75 organizations in Colombia, Peru and Mexico that promote GE in the workplace. It's the biggest CGE community in LA.

In the next year, we are planning to have 1000 free users and 200 premium users in our PAR tool platform. Additionally, we will expand our Aequales Community to 150 organizations. In five years, we’ll have 4500 free users, 880 premium users and 400 organizations in our Community.

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What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?

Aequales wants to make a transition from being an on-site consulting agency to becoming a technology-based gender equality entreprise. As mentioned before, the traditional approach to corporate gender equality in Latin America has been based on on-site consulting and training. Through technology, Aequales is going to shift from this approach and give an innovative way of effectively closing gender gaps based on data and information. This kind of tool, combined with on-site and personalized services when necessary, as well as a corporate network for practice sharing, will provide a much more comprehensive and effective model for reaching gender parity in the workplace. Additionally, this will allow us to reach organizations worldwide beyond the physical limitations of traditional services and will enable corporations to connect with one another in order to share their gender equality practices and results, creating a strong community that will promote GE and join efforts to close gender gaps. 

Based on this new vision, five years from now, Aequales wants to provide most of our services through technology, reach every country in Latin America, become the benchmark for corporate GE globally and create a regional community of organizations promoting corporate GE. 

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What are the barriers that currently exist for you to accomplish your goals for the next year and for the next five years?

-Internal: 

The organization is transitioning from on-site consulting to being a technology-based company. Therefore, this is a new area for Aequales in which we still have experience to gain.

-External:
One of the external risks is competition. Currently, competition in LA has been growing in terms of consulting and GE certifications. Aequales also has limited financial resources to enable an accelerated technological development.

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How are you planning to overcome these barriers?

-Internal: 

To manage transitioning from on-site to technology based consulting we have a team of 3 people, dedicated to the development and planning of this technology. Additionally, for the next stage, we'll hire a data scientist who'll provide technical knowledge to develop the statistical models, as well as a CTO.

-External: 

To manage potential competition, Aequales wants to be a pioneer in the diversity/inclusion technology market in LA to take our competitive advantage. This is a market gaining traction and poised for acceleration. However, most vendors in the market are based outside LA, so the market in the region remains underdeveloped. Additionally, we'll be constantly doing a benchmark to identify similar tools that arise. If so, we'll aim to make alliances to unify efforts and data, understanding we have the lead with the amount of data we've gathered.

In order to enable accelerated technological development, Aequales needs to grow its financial resources. We're in the process of seeking funding for the development of the following stages that require complex functionalities.

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About your team

Select an option below:

For-Profit
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How many people work on your solution team?

Full-time staff: 13

Part-time staff: 3

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For how many years have you been working on your solution?

5 years as a consulting agency, 2 years in our PAR tool

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Why are you and your team best-placed to deliver this solution?

Mia Perdomo, from Colombia, and Andrea de la Piedra, from Peru, are the two co-founders of the organization. 

Mia Perdomo is an entrepreneur and activist. She's a Psychologist and a Master's graduate in human rights from the London School of Economics. One of the 100 most successful managers of 2017 according to Gerente Magazine and one of the 100 women who are transforming Colombia according to La Silla Vacía. She's a Young World Ambassador. Andrea de la Piedra is a journalist and social entrepreneur. She's a public speaker on GE and innovation and was recognized as an ambassador of the Sustainable Development Goals by the UN in Peru. Through Aequales they used privilege to their advantage, harnessed their network, and used their skills to garner support around the cause for GE. 

Right now, we are a team of 16 people for the three countries. Specifically, we’ve gathered a team of 3 people to develop the technology project. The project is led by Maria Hernandez who is Magna Cum Laude in Psychology and a Minor in Business. The team is also composed by Romel Pinilla who is a software developer with more than 7 years of experience and Andrés Ruiz who is doing a Master’s Degree in data science.

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With what organizations are you currently partnering, if any? How are you working with them?

Right now we are partnering with three organizations that support our PAR Ranking with resources (human and economic):

- Secretaría Distrital de la Mujer de Bogotá (Bogota's local Women's
Policy entity)

- Spanish-­Peruvian Chamber of Commerce

- Colegio de Estudios Superiores en Administración (CESA University)

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Your business model & funding

What is your business model?

PAR tool works as a freemium model where organizations have access to a diagnosis of their GE conditions for free, through an online platform. Additionally, based on this information, they participate in PAR Ranking where we host a CGE awards ceremony in each country to recognize the best organizations. Starting in July, we'll offer premium functionalities of the tool that will allow companies to: have a dashboard with their GE metrics, a retrospective analysis of these metrics, the possibility to compare their results with different kinds of corporations worldwide and a compilation of the best corporate GE practices. Next year, the platform will integrate more complex methods of data analytics that will give companies a prospective and prescriptive analysis of their metrics to anticipate their future patterns and get data-based recommendations on how to move forward in effectively closing gender gaps. 

 

PAR tool and PAR Ranking serve as the basis for other services. Based on their diagnosis, we approach corporations and invite them to improve through our consultancy services that we personalize using data. Additionally, the more committed corporations are invited to join Aequales Community where, in exchange for an annual fee, we train them and build a community

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What is your path to financial sustainability?

At the moment, we generate revenue from consultancy services and the annual fee paid by Aequales Community organizations. Starting in July, PAR tool will also become a source of revenue because we will offer a premium version that will charge an annual fee, working as a freemium model. 

Since 2016 Aequales has had an average growth in income of 95% and has always been able to cover its costs with the revenue from sales. Aequales is also looking for technology to enable financial expansion. On the one hand, PAR tool will create a new source of revenue with greater reach. Although the project will require an important investment for development, once the platform is running, the costs will be reduced only to maintenance, allowing a rapid growth while maintaining costs practically stable. Additionally, using technology to make processes more efficient will also help to reduce costs and have greater margin.

For the development of the next stages of our PAR tool, we're applying to different tech calls to look for funding. 

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Partnership potential

Why are you applying to Solve?

We will benefit from Solve mostly in the development of our PAR tool. First, I think that the 12-month program and MIT networks can be a crucial contribution to our project in order to overcome the barrier mentioned before about our transitioning process to become a technology-based company. The mentorship will give us the orientation we need to enter this new area successfully and give us more technical expertise about the technology we want to use. 

Additionally, the funding will help us develop the new functionalities of our PAR tool that includes more complex methods of data analytics and seeks to integrate machine learning. 

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What types of connections and partnerships would be most catalytic for your solution?

  • Business model
  • Technology
  • Funding and revenue model
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If you would like to apply for the AI Innovations Prize, describe how you and your team will utilize the prize to advance your solution. If you are not already using AI in your solution, explain why it is necessary for your solution to be successful and how you plan to incorporate it.

At the moment, our PAR tool is not using AI but, given that our solution is based on data analysis and that our database is growing each year, AI will allow us to give organizations a more valuable information beyond descriptive analysis. Right now, our tool gives basic information to organizations that helps them make decisions to achieve gender equality. However, if we really want to close gender gaps, we need to integrate other types of methods to: 

1. Give organizations not only descriptive information but a real guidance of what to do based on data. For this, we want to use machine learning to develop algorithms that will detect patterns and make predictions and specific and personalized recommendations by processing data and experiences. 

2. Predict the potential impact of gender equality in the economic gain of the organization, in order to create a stronger interest from the companies to address this issue. 

We will use the prize mostly for the development of our PAR tool. First, we’ll hire a full-time CTO that will give us a more expert view, a data scientist to develop the statistical models needed, another software developer and a web designer. Second, In terms of technology, we’ll invest in improving the performance and visualization of our service: a new server that supports machine learning algorithms, a visualization tool and professional testers. 

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If you would like to apply for the GM Prize on Community-Driven Innovation, describe how you and your team will utilize the prize to advance your solution.

We will use the prize mostly for the development of our PAR tool, in order to leverage technology to achieve gender equality in the organizations. First, we’ll hire a full-time CTO that will give us a more expert view, a data scientist to develop the statistical models needed and a web designer. Second, In terms of technology, we’ll invest in improving the performance and visualization of our platform: a new server that supports machine learning algorithms and a visualization tool. Lastly, we’ll use it to make a regional marketing campaign and for our project leader to attend HR technology events worldwide, so she can make the project visible for investors and organizations, in order to expand our reach and convey the message of gender equality as a business priority. 

The development of this new gender equality management tool will allow organizations to effectively close gender gaps and promote the participation and promotion of women. This will increase women participation in the workplace and, specially, in leadership positions where they are underrepresented. 

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If you would like to apply for the Innovation for Women Prize, describe how you and your team will utilize the prize to advance your solution.

Our solution is directly oriented to "advance the needs of women and to promote a world where women’s voices can be celebrated" by using technology to effectively close gender gaps in the workplace and to promote equal working conditions and opportunities for women and men. 

We will use the prize mostly for the development of our PAR tool, in order to leverage technology to achieve gender equality in the organizations. First, we’ll hire a full-time CTO that will give us a more expert view, a data scientist to develop the statistical models needed and a web designer. Second, In terms of technology, we’ll invest in improving the performance and visualization of our platform: a new server that supports machine learning algorithms and a visualization tool. Lastly, we’ll use it to make a regional marketing campaign and for our project leader to attend HR technology events worldwide, so she can make the project visible for investors and organizations, in order to expand our reach and convey the message of gender equality as a business priority. 

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Solution Team

  • MH MH
    Maria Hernandez Innovation and development leader, Aequales
 
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