Anahí Berlak is one of the many entrepreneurs in Argentina who was hit hard by the quarantine. She lives in the High Valleys of Potrerillos, Mendoza, where she weaves accessories with ancestral techniques of the native peoples. In the middle of the mountain, the isolation left her
no chance of going to the fairs where he used to sell his creations
and its economic situation began to look increasingly tight. Everything had an unexpected turn when she met a group of young volunteers online who taught her how to take advantage of the “virtual showcase” of social networks to boost her business. They advised her for free,
started selling online
and his venture took off again.
Yours is one of the
280 small businesses and neighborhood businesses
that, since the quarantine began, they received the support of the solidarity project Salimos Elbow to Elbow Argentina. Created by a group of university students, its objective is to help those merchants across the country who, unable to open their doors to the public, inexperienced on how to make sales on the Internet or contact potential buyers through social networks, saw more hit by the crisis. To enable them to market their products and services online, they offer free advice from 450 volunteers with knowledge in digital marketing, business strategy, communication and design.
In the case of Anahí, who accompanied her was Constanza, a graphic designer. “She gave me many tools and advice in the field of social networks and different platforms, which is the only place where I can currently sell my work. It helped me understand that world and be able to immerse myself in it, showing what I do
Eugenio Scafati, 21, is one of the faces behind #SalimosCodoaCodoArgentina. Together with former high school classmates, this student of the BA in Business and Social Analytics at ITBA, who lives in the Belgrano neighborhood, sought to replicate in Argentina a project that was underway in Uruguay. On April 2, Salimos Elbow to Elbow began offering its services. “We were looking for friends to help us with the management of social networks and the project quickly began to grow,” says the young man.
Make the “matches”
How does it work ?
We go out Elbow to Elbow has a website where merchants and entrepreneurs answer a form. The central question is:
what challenge are you going through
. Volunteers complete another one indicating what they specialize in and
how do you think they can help
with your knowledge. “From there, we make the
. The experience we are gaining is understanding how to approach each problem, “says Eugenio.
Once a volunteer is assigned to a merchant, a first call is made to make a diagnosis, followed by the
and finally, the implementation of the action plan. “Most of the consultations are on issues such as digital marketing, design, communication or business strategy,” says Eugenio, adding that the items most affected are those of the services that need contact “face to face” or a space physical to offer them.
For Eugenio and his colleagues, the response of the volunteers was a surprise. “We have volunteers who help two or three businesses at the same time, and others who are merchants and volunteers, that is, who were helped and today decided to collaborate with others,” says Eugenio.
The profiles of those who donate their time and knowledge are varied.
From recent graduates or young people, “with little work experience but with many digital tools to contribute”, to professionals with a vast background who are often assigned the most complex cases.
“The repercussions are excellent,” says Eugenio, who believes that the most significant impact they generate on merchants does not involve passing knowledge on
or use of social networks. “What they appreciate most is that there is someone willing to listen to them and know that they are not alone. That is difficult to quantify,” he says.
Although the proposal was designed to respond to the context of the pandemic, young people
do not rule out that it is sustained in time
, even if they have to reinvent themselves. Meanwhile, they continue to make alliances with community boards, foundations and organizations that support entrepreneurs to reach more businesses. “For us, this project is a cause that generates a lot of value: being able to learn from what we like by helping other people is a great opportunity,” concludes Eugenio.
From the yellow pages, to @pagesblu
We go out side by side is not the only venture that unites technology with the desire to help. In Tigre, the Lamarca family also set out to find a way to spread the work of SMEs, professionals and merchants in the northern part of Greater Buenos Aires.
It all started with a WhatsApp group. María Mazzini de Lamarca created it to spread among her relatives “good data that came to her everywhere” about “door-to-door” services during the quarantine. She put it: Yellow Pages. “At one point we asked ourselves: ‘What if we share it with others? What if we help spread the pizzas that my friend sells and he is so aware of reaching more people?’. Thus, and with the contribution of young women and more technological members of the family, @paginasblu was born, “says María.
Those young people are his daughters Catalina (25 years, psychologist and psycho-pedagogue), Martina (20, studying Business Administration) and Luisa (18, is doing the architecture CBC at the UBA). They were weaving, through Instagram, a solidarity network where products and services are promoted through stories and consumers are helped to generate their own agenda with useful data,
bringing together everything they need “in one click”
. The goal is to use @paginasblu to buy from a gift to hiring a private online class. “As the days passed, word of mouth flyers arrived. We had days with more than 40 flyers. It was there that we became more aware of the ability to generate a communication lane,” recalls María.
One month after its launch, @paginasblu has
more than 440 posts and 2700 followers
. “We do not recommend, we only advertise,” says María, and says that the mailbox is full of mails to answer. “Thanks to the support of influencers, @paginasblu grows day by day. However, we feel that we need more voices to expand and reach more consumers,” says María. The joy they feel with each testimonial of those who make a purchase or sale thanks to this service is enormous.
Those interested in promoting their products or services should send a flyer or their data by email. For entrepreneurship, only one publication and one story are made in the profile of @paginasblu, they have 45 items. “We sleep less and argue more, but with the satisfaction that in the time of quarantine we live as a family the opportunity to help others. When the isolation is lifted, we long for this dream to continue: delivery came to stay,” he summarizes. Maria.