Gabriela Enrigue

Ashoka Fellow
Tlaquepaque, Mexico
Fellow Since 2012

Citation

This profile was prepared when Gabriela Enrigue was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2012.
The New Idea
Gabriela’s new way of approaching local economic revitalization takes into account all economic stakeholders to change the economic landscape itself, rather than focusing on only one part of the equation, as is the norm. Prospera is the first entity to connect the general focused on local government, and microentrepreneurs to work to generate entire cultures focused on local economic growth. Gabriela’s method shapes market demand and behavior through microeconomic education of the public, while also facilitating market supply by assisting microentrepreneurs to find underserved markets and develop innovative products to meet those markets’ needs.

Since the majority of jobs in Mexico exist within microenterprises, Gabriela realized that the key to economic growth for Mexico lies within small and microenterprises (SMEs) and the local economies to which they pertain. However, because they exist primarily in the informal sector, Gabriela knew that entities like the “hole-in-the-wall” bakery down the street would never grow. This is one of Prospera’s points of intervention. However, unlike traditional business incubators, which use standardized business plans and practices for each industry and develop projects as they come along, Prospera focuses on product innovation, business sustainability, and finding or developing high-demand markets. For the example of a local bakery, Gabriela’s organization will find market needs—such as the demand for gluten-free bread in Mexico—and help the bakery develop, brand, and distribute a product that meets these needs. Gabriela’s unique perspective offers a new way to work with SMEs that goes beyond traditional business planning and focuses on market development, an approach easily replicable to any market.

Gabriela’s organization tackles both sides of the local economic spectrum—supply and demand. In addition to the services Prospera offers to microenterprises, the organization maintains ongoing public education campaigns to educate the public on basic microeconomic knowledge about local economies. This tactic creates a culture of local economic consumption and ensures that the microenterprises Gabriela supports flourish.

Because it is the most active sector of all SMEs in the region and has shown to be resilient during economic crises, Gabriela decided to focus on the food industry, especially considering the market opportunity to provide healthy food products in a country with such high obesity and malnutrition rates.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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