We call attention to the talent and creativity of the Mapuche people, whose enterprises are breaking paradigms.
An organic vineyard that uses solar power, a learning management platform and a center that combines complementary therapies with ancestral worldviews. Below, we tell you about these three enterprises, which embody the diversity of the Mapuche entrepreneurial ecosystem.
In Carahue in the Araucanía Region, on a hill surrounded by ancient native trees, Isolina Huenulao has created Viña Wuampuhue. The name means “place of the canoe” in Mapudungun, in reference to the Imperial River that crosses the territory. On half a hectare of land, she has planted pinot noir vines, a French strain ideal for cold climates, with which she has introduced the first sparkling wine made by a Mapuche woman to Chile’s wine industry.
Cultivation of the vineyard and the winemaking process is carried out organically, respecting Mother Nature and trying to make the process as sustainable as possible by following the principles and values of the Mapuche worldview. Irrigation is provided by a stream, weed control is carried out by grazing sheep and the vineyard even has solar panels to provide electricity.
“(Everything) is carried out within a Mapuche community, by a Mapuche woman, on organic Mapuche land. We are able to do all of this thanks to God and Mother Nature, who give us the strength to produce this product,” Isolina states with pride while holding the fruits of her labor in her hands.
Teacher Isabel Loncomil, civil industrial engineer Marcelo Catrileo and civil computer engineer Emerson Marín Licanleo are the brains behind Lirmi, a platform specializing in curriculum management. The platform provides teachers with digital tools for planning purposes and to support and improve teaching and learning processes. Although they created the edtech app in 2013, the coronavirus pandemic took classes online and propelled the software’s adoption in schools both in and outside of Chile. The app is now used in approximately 1,900 education centers in Chile, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil and the United States.
Emerson Marín Licanleo, CEO of Lirmi, explains that the platform helps democratize education, as the digital support tools for teachers improve the quality of teaching processes and allow them to reach a greater number of users. “If the teacher does a good job, the school improves in all of its indicators,” he points out, adding that last year 400,000 teachers were trained to use the platform and a free class book was made available to Latin American schools. The team is keeping expectations high: next year they hope to reach 3,000 schools.
The husband-and-wife team of Mónica Cornejo Colipán and Rodolfo Gaete Naveas set up the Kiñewün retreat and wellness center, a name that means “we are all one” in Mapudungun. The couple has been trained in complementary therapies like reiki and anthroposophical massage and instructed in the Mapuche worldview alongside anthropologists and loncos (Mapuche chiefs). They now seek to combine the best of both worlds through the therapies that their center offers, located in the Juan Quilacán Mapuche community in Villarrica on the banks of the Voipir River. One of the fundamental principles of this ancestral culture is an understanding of human beings and nature as a whole. Because of this, visitors to the center are invited to experience a connection to the four natural elements and to get to know the Mapuche culture more deeply.
“The Mapuche outlook understands that human beings are part of a whole. When we are not feeling right and we lose balance in our lives, it is because we have become uprooted from nature, from life itself. Life flows in us. To find the balance within this process is to heal,” Mónica Cornejo Colipán explains from this piece of paradise, surrounded by native trees like the Patagonian oak, beech, myrtle and canelo, which each year is visited by Chilean and foreign visitors alike.
Social Entrepreneurship: Chile is the country with the world’s highest per-capita number of certified B Corps