"I feel grateful to have a positive occupation and through my work being able to protect our planet. This works support my family"
- María, employee
The project in brief
The project is implemented by FUDELA and partners in Ecuador. It began in February 2022 and is currently ongoing.
Matirea is a social enterprise developed by FUDELA. It was born in 2022 with the purpose of contributing to its financial sustainability by creating parallel impacts at a social level through the generation of livelihood opportunities for participants in different projects. It is a company of technical training and production of innovative and quality textile products. As response to the current trend of environmental concern, the project has evolved toward a circular economy model that produces accessories and complements made of recycled material such as advertising used material,
Matirea evokes renewal and innovation: everything that was can have a purpose again. Meaningful impact has been created to support women that are heads of households.
- Workshop conditioned and in operation
- Practical training model
- Training courses already designed: +120 participants trained and +15 women with opportunities
- Established business model and brand
- First textile upcycling collection
- More than 80 productions
- Major advocacy with key stakeholders
- EcoPack Project with Nestlé and Grupo Entregas. Development of reusable envelops made with recycled advertisement materials
- Various circular economy productions with important businesses in Ecuador: Grupo Entregas (Fedex), Nestle, McDonalds, National Football Federation, among others
- Campaign “ La Mejor Jugada La Haces Tu” in partnership with Ecuadorian Football Federation
- Gonzaga University and US Embassy visit and sensitization activity
The project aims to break the silence and reduce period shame in school. Support girls in school and women in the community. The aim is also to introduce a different product on the market so the beneficiaries can have different options and reduce waste.
The ultimate aim of the project is to create Triple Impact solutions:
- Social dimension
- Provide livelihoods options an access to training spaces to FUDELA participants (human mobility and other disadvantaged groups)
- Motivate empowerment and the strengthening of resilient subsistence alternatives, mainly with women.
- Economic dimension
- Develop innovative products and services that allow financial sustainability of Matirea.
- Generate value to different customers, mainly B2B, through sustainable solutions that foster circular economy
- Environmental dimension
- Provide innovative and effective solutions to residual material management using a circular economy focus
- Contribute with the reduction of carbon footprint
- Create positive advocacy about the current challenges the world is facing in regards of climate change
Main activities of the Good Practice
Product creation pathway:
- It takes on average 3 days to create a new product final sample which may vary depending on the complexity of the requirement. Final patterns and product sheets may take 2 more days. It is important to note that along 2023 the project is moving from the introduction to the development point of the product cycle curve as more than 40 new products have been developed.
- Timing may also vary between textile developments and the new sustainable line that includes recycled advertisement materials
- Tailored solutions (design + concept) for other companies: upcycling processes with recycled material
- Retail sales, direct “garage sale” type system
- Textile products with third party licenses for direct sale
Social/education dimension (Impact on participants):
- Coworking System: Daily manufacturing sessions
- Training courses: LEVEL 1 and LEVEL 2 Courses
- Rental of facilities
- Collaborative actions with businesses. E.g., EcoPack project in cooperation with Grupo Entregas (Fedex) and Nestlé
- Other sensitization events
"It is inspiring to see the impact this project has in women head of households. As Company B, in our sustainability plan we were looking for options to replace the plastic in the envelopes where we transport documents. Along this path, we found purposeful alliances with FUDELA, who had recently received as a donation some advertising banners with which they designed several products, and from there grew the idea of transforming our envelopes with this material, in addition to solving two problems at the same time, since the disposal of the tarps causes a lot of pollution."
- Paulina Romo, Grupo Entregas (Fedex) leader
Elements which helped facilitate the implementation of the good practice
Current trends that confirm a greater interest of companies in environmental driven projects that seek circular economy
- International cooperation partners including UNHCR, IAF and Hilton Foundation
- Municipality of Quito (early stages)
- Businesses such as Grupo Entregas (Fedex), Nestlé, among others
What challenges were encountered in delivering the project and how were they overcome?
- One of the key challenges is the lack of expertise of new workers due to the social nature of the project. It has also been noted a high turnover rate of staff members. As it is unlikely to secure long term contracts it is difficult to retain the most qualified people.
- Difficulties to sustain workers due to the lack of a regular sales demand
- At the beginning of the operation, Matirea lacked of proper administrative procedures
- This is one of the bottlenecks of the process due to the lack of a stable demand, that vast diversity of products that are being manufactured as well as the creative nature of the products which are designed in a tailored basis. This prevents the possibility to have more organized supply strategies.
- Sustainable fashion designer has a central role in the creation process in all levels. This prevents this person to devote timing to more commercial efforts
- Lack of in-house graphic designer is an issue.
- Mostly at a B2B level. A solid process of quotation is being applied which includes costs calculation, quotation submission and follow up
- Most B2B clients have been reached through word of mouth or current active relationships of FUDELA. There is high potential in exploring new businesses due to the high value creation which supposes working with circular economy solutions
External communication is another challenge. Although Matirea counts with a fine catalogue and other basic institutional information all these resources could be improved. To the same extent, whereas social media accounts are currently active, the level and impact of posts should be strengthened.
How they were overcome
- Additional investments in new machinery
- Increased time devoted to strengthen workers capacities
- Advances quality control procedures
- New hiring models
- New tailored procurement procedures are being developed at the moment.
- Simplified models adapted from original canvas which prevent starting processes from scratch
- Participation of external designers in the process
- Although the B2B level is the most important channel at the moment, a B2C plan which includes a point of sale (mini store) project is already designed. A web page is also being developed at the moment.
Results of the Good Practice
Through this social enterprise, disadvantaged women and men are getting a basic livelihood which allows them to sustain basic needs. An additional change occurs in the socioemotional level as there is a effect in their mental wellbeing.
An additional result is the empowerment of women who besides of getting a source of income, are encouraged to adopt a entrepreneurship mindset.
In what way does the good practice meet one or more of the four objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees?
Objective 1: Ease the pressures on host countries
The project is lined up with this goal given the current constraints Ecuador face in the economy level. Matirea responds well to the shortage of productive opportunities which are even more sensitive in the case of displaced and marginalized groups.
Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance
It does support this goal as refugee participants involved in the operation of Matirea are also strengthening other capacities related to self development as well as fostering entrepreneurship and proactive behaviors for their lives
Short term plans include:
- Development of B2C channel including fixed point of sales
- Grow in market share though enhances communication strategy
- Diversification of income sources: education, consulting, rent of facilities
- Business plan strengthening with focus in Ecuador
Long term plans include:
- Internationalization strategy and scale up of the model
- Technologies to process other sources of recycled materials
Are there areas in which support would be required to continue and/or scale up your good practice?
- Marketing and communication with focus in sales amplification
- Quality control processes
- Administrative tasks
Mauricio J.Córdova, Institutional Development Manager FUDELA, Leader of Matirea
Contact the project
All accounts: @Fudela_Ecuador
Facebook and Instagram: @Matirea_Sostenible