Sebastián Salinas

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2015


This profile was prepared when Sebastián Salinas was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2015.
The New Idea
Sebastián created Balloon, an entrepreneurship program that seeks to form young people in the frame of social compromise and supports entrepreneurs from rural areas to help them develop their projects. A double objective where both groups complement each other in a learning process that causes great social impact.
Balloon allows these future professionals to live a highly transformative experience through which they develop entrepreneurship skills they can then pass on to the people in rural communities. This happens during a period in which the entrepreneurs live with the communities, which allows them closer proximity and deeper insight to their real needs, reality and which generates greater commitment.
The young volunteers, originating from worldwide, pay to live through this experience in which they intern in the community for 5 weeks and enter a training program to be able to capacitate the local entrepreneurs. All the work is done in pairs and they support the local entrepreneurs, transforming into a team.
The rural entrepreneurs supported by Balloon participate in an intervention in which they learn entrepreneurship skills. The young volunteers provide them with abilities to come up with an idea and then they develop their projects in a way that allows them to generate income and provide jobs, giving them a real opportunity to succeed on their own means. This intervention also occurs with people who are in jail, so that they can generate income and self-employ themselves after they fulfill their jail sentence time, facilitating social reinsertion.
During the whole process, Balloon makes different local institutions work collaboratively, such as the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, neighborhood associations, regional governments and municipalities, local businesses and hotels. This permits a better development of the community intervention and involves them in the social work, allowing them to share a common objective for the first time. Additionally, this generates a collaboration germ for all the region’s future projects.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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