The handwork economy is the second largest employer of women in emerging economies. In Brazil, more than 10 million artisans (70% are female), battle daily to make a living in this economy.
While Brazil has the 10th worst inequality index in the world in 2017, it’s also known for its creativity. Asta Platform aims to leverage the handicraft economy to generate income, wellbeing, sustainable production and build local networks.
Rede Asta is a social business that for 13 years transforms artisans into entrepreneurs and byproducts into upcycled goods mobilizing more than 1,300 predominantly female artisans from vulnerable communities.
To scale its impact Asta developed a solution with the potential to completely revolutionize the handicraft economy in Brazil and beyond. Asta Platform consists of an online platform and app to tackle the three major problems of this economy: lack of entrepreneurial skills, network and access to market. With a mobile phone artisans will:
- LEARN in our Artisans Business School (a tested model applied to more than 600 artisans in person) containing more than easy to learn online 30 courses regarding MANAGEMENT, SALES, PRODUCTION and PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT.
- MARKET directly to small and medium retailers and freelancers using our market matching app.
- NETWORK with other artisans to exchange and collaborate online and offline through the ALCs (Artisans Leaders Circle), an adapted “Forum” methodology that is being piloted with groups of 10 artisans leaders to accelerate bonds, increase self-esteem, women empowerment and strengthen artisans ability to work together. Thousands of ALCs could change public policies in the sector.
Asta Platform was launched in July 2018.
Where our solution team is headquartered or located:Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The dimensions of the Challenge our solution addresses:
What makes our solution innovative:
Asta Platform is innovative because it has brought together in one app and computer platform the three most relevant aspects for every and each artisan in the world: KNOWLEDGE, NETWORK and MARKET. Rede Asta is developing this concept and technology for the past 3 years. The technology uses several APIs and is based on Angular 7 framework. It is available for Android and soon iOS.
It is thought to connect artisans to artisans (the artisans social media!), to offer a business school built especially for them and to connect artisans to every fashion and decoration shop in Brazil (more than 200k).
How technology is integral to our solution:
More than 46% of Brazilian artisans still do not use internet to leverage their businesses. Artisans are getting older and the younger generation are not interested in this economy. Reinventing craft economy is crucial for its existence through the next generations. In our researches we found out that youngers will come if they have access to technology, if they can earn good money and if it is a cool activity. Without digital inclusion, youth involved and a cool technology to back up this economy, we might not see the handicraft people and products in the next two generations anymore.
Our solution goals over the next 12 months:
In the next 12 months we will be in the ramp up phase and aim to have 20k artisans using the platform plus 5k buyers. We want the Market to be generating U$500k income to artisans/month. Our challenge is to become a national platform for the 10 million artisans and seamstresses in the country by building partnerships with every organization, government and people who works with artisans to democratize Asta Platform tools and help reaching the most remote areas in the country. We also want to develop new tools to connect artisans with designers and improve their product design.
Our vision over the next three to five years to grow and scale our solution to affect the lives of more people:
Asta Platform has the potential to help the 10 million artisans in Brazil. But to get there on the next 5 years it will be crucial have investments to implement the ENGAGEMENT phase: traction and team building. Every artisan and buyer needs to know that it exists. Building partnerships with NGOs that works with artisans and train them to apply our tools to their public. A PR will be hired to tackle the retailers. A creative marketing plan will first attract the “digitalized artisans” than the not digitalized ones.
Our promotional video:
The key characteristics of the populations who will benefit from our solution in the next 12 months:
The regions where we will be operating in the next 12 months:
The countries where we currently operate:
Where we plan to expand in the next 12 months:
How we will reach and retain our customers or beneficiaries:
With the funding that needs to be raised for the ramp up, we will reach out our beneficiaries by using the partnership strategy with other organizations mentioned and a digital marketing plan to tackle the already digitalized artisans. Products will be curated for the Market to maintain quality design. To retain artisans we will daily promote relevant content in the social media, create new courses every 3 months, new tools and active help desk service. As for retailers, a PR will be hired to get to them and we will retain by offering product curatorship and support with artisans transactions.
How many people we are currently serving with our solution:
In June we soft launched the platform for our closest artisan network. On July 14th we launched in a Brazilian national TV show and after 1 week we already have +750 users and +100 app downloads. They are 90% adult women from all 5 Brazilian regions. We are facing 3 facts: the artisan social media is a hit, second they need support to create their online stores and third the business school is slowly growing. Our support is being done through whatsapp, e-mail meetings and phone calls so far. We want them to fully use the platform.
How many people we will be serving with our solution in the 12 months and the next 3 years:
In 12 months we expect to serve 20k artisans and 10k retailers, in 3 years 50k artisans and 20k retailers. 70% of artisans them will be women (one of our KPIs). Artisans usually claim they can´t find for who to sell in a regular basis. Also, they don´t see themselves as entrepreneurs and majority has low education levels. With our tools every artisan in the country will be able to graduate in a special business school made for them, exchange their knowledge, needs and dreams with their peers and talk directly with retailers in their location or national wide.
How our solution team is organized:
How many people work on our solution team:
How many years we have been working on our solution:
The skills our solution team has that will enable us to attract the different resources needed to succeed and make an impact:
Alice Freitas, the co-founder of Asta is personally involved in the Platform building since the beginning. Alice is responsible for the organizations fundraising and has being doing it for 12 years. Antonio is the Platform product owner that came from 10 years of Accenture and is experiencing the Platform since the beginning helping with the interface with the technology company called ASAP (a true partner, not consider a supplier by us ). The funds we need to raise will be used also to hire a team of experts in digital strategies and operation, marketing and partnership building.
Our revenue model:
We will offer Asta Platform membership plan of 5 dollars per month per artisan. We have done a survey with our network of artisans and they all confirmed they would be able to afford this and valued its benefits. Our feasibility plan indicates that we will need 10,000 memberships in order to keep the platform running. Our goal is to reach this number in the next 5 years. We will also studying to offer membership plans to buyers as handicraft curatorship services to their businesses.
Why we are applying to Solve:
We believe that Solve community may help us with technology mentorship and support to our tech-based solution in finding scaling strategies and engaging other countries. We will need help to consider other countries particularities and eventually specific technological features.
Impact measurement validation and support, grant funding and preparation for investment discussions are also a path Solve community may advance our work.
The key barriers for our solution:
The majority of artisans are not digital people. Their world are manual and self-centered on their crafts and techniques. They are usually aged women and sometimes have difficulty adopting new technologies. Engaging is the first key challenge to overcome. Second barrier is to have more advanced smartphones to use our platform. And third barrier is to have access to medium or high quality internet connection which is still a challenge in Brazil even in urbanized centres.
The types of connections and partnerships we would be most interested in if we became Solvers: