Alemay - Social Enterprise

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Alemay - Social Enterprise: We fight against unemployment and poverty using multi-level marketing.

Villa Soldati, Buenos Aires., ArgentinaVilla Soldati, Buenos Aires., Argentina
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Our aim is to create sources of employment in slums and vulnerable suburbs applying network marketing and trading primary commodities at low cost. This system will result in the creation of new genuine income for families, promoting the community and economic development of suburbs.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if every unemployed person of the world would have access to decent work?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

According to 2010 Census, 165,000 people of the city of Buenos Aires live in slums and temporary settlements, increasing in the last decades. After analysing Commune 8, where Alemay will start working, it can be noticed that the family average income is $2,825, the unemployment rate is of 10% and the employment rate represents the lowest of the city. On the other hand, the city of Buenos Aires has an unemployment rate of 6.5%.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Alemay is a project based on “network marketing” or “multilevel marketing”. At first, it has the aim to create genuine sources of employment in slums and vulnerable suburbs of Buenos Aires, but it can be applied anywhere, promoting the reintegration of excluded or partially excluded people into the labour market and economic system. In this regard, through the sale of basic food directly to final consumers, high costs derived from the extensive value chain headed by supermarkets will be avoided. Furthermore, we will promote the community and economic development of each slum we may have influence on, creating opportunities for every family.


Finalist in "Estamos Comprometidos" contest, organized by UNESCO, Ashoka y Socialab.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Marcos lives with his wife and four children in a settlement called “Los Piletones”. He did not have the possibility to study and it is hard for him to get a formal employment, so he has temporary jobs day by day. He decided to join Alemay paying an annual fee. In this way, he started acquiring commodities for his own family with an important discount as compared to the money he used to spend on them. After two months, he started selling commodities to his family and neighbours, which was an extra income for him. Finally, he also tried to add new members to the network, earning points and moving to a higher “category”, which made it posible for him to quit temporary jobs and, nowdays, Alemay is his source of income and employment.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

The solution we propose through Alemay is an inclusive project that applies the multilevel marketing in slums and vulnerable places, offering basic commodities, mainly food, like dairy products, cold meats, and yerba mate. The advantages of this project are numerous. Firstly, Alemay’s “members” will be able to acquire commodities to a lower price than they would in the slum’s point of sale. Secondly, they will be able to trade these commodities with other people, obtaining profits with each sold product. Thirdly, the system’s most original and powerful feature is that every member will earn points each time he sells a product or adds new members, being able to reach monthly and fixed financial compensations according to the amount of points reached.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We will start in three settlements situated in Villa Soldati. We estimate to have an impact on 225 families the first year, with the aim of reaching 2,400 by the end of the first five years. Furthermore, we estimate that the average savings per family will be of about $10 by each commodity they buy and the profits obtained because of the stored points will reach about $1,000 per month for each family. We will work together with different NGOs, charitable foundations and parishes, which will help us reaching different slums. In 10 years, we hope to be working in the whole city of Buenos Aires.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Alemay is completely self-supporting, as it has the ability to generate genuine incomes and to be self-financing. In this regard, we will receive those incomes through the annual fee and the commodities bought by the members, so the initiative is completely replicable in any slum of the country and the world. The incomes, after paying the salaries of the promoters, will be directed to slums’ social projects.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Nowadays, each basic commodity that we are going to trade can be acquired in nearby supermarkets. Supermarkets obtain a great profit margin and they are far from people’s daily experiences. Our aim is to modify this type of non-collaborative economy. Besides, the slum’s supermarkets will be invited to join Alemay as members to function as a team helping the community. They will obtain the benefit of acquiring commodities cheaper than their suppliers.

Founding Story

Martín had been a member of the network marketing company “Amway”. It has always caught his attention that the direct sales system was combined with very attractive incentives, but he did not like the fact that the traded commodities were very expensive and they were sold in markets with high purchasing power. On the other hand, the three founders, Martín, Brenda, and Gastón have always been part of youth groups and different social activities working in slums and vulnerable suburbs. This was how these two ideas came together, thinking about a network economic system applying the multilevel marketing to help people getting a stable employment and achieving their dreams: Alemay.


The entrepreneur team is composed of three people: Brenda Carolina Nolan (22), Gastón Zurschmitten (19) and Martín Zurschmitten (22). Taking into account the particular personality and character of each member, we consider that the team is well-trained, strengthen by the family relationship between them: two brothers and the girlfriend of one of them. The main characteristic of the three of them is their impetus to make a positive difference through projects and entrepreneurships, because of their compromise with deprived people and their creative and critical thinking to propose solutions. On the other hand, Brenda is a very responsible and active person, who studies Law and is currently in her last year. She is a very persuasive person and she is also very interested in business, apart from her particular interest in others well-being. Gastón is studying Psychology and he is in his second year; he is particularly interested in deprived persons and he is involved in activities which aim is to solve social problems. Besides, he stands out because of his innovative and critical point of view. Finally, Martín is an enthusiastic person, who shares his positive attitude with the rest of the people; he is an entrepreneur and he proposes new ideas and projects regularly. He is a marketing graduate and nowadays he is doing an specialization in finance. As the project moves forward, we estimate that we will need the help of more “promoters”; 3 for the first year and 10 for the following four.