Incubating Social Enterprises and Executing on Sustainable Solutions
NFS President David Batstone introduces the Inaugural Montara Circle.
The Montara Circle is a social enterprise incubating event that drives Not For Sale’s social venture team to execute on its results. Geared towards reversing the tide of downstream solutions, the Montara Circle attracts and inspires innovative entrepreneurs to generate sustainable, replicable solutions within the anti-slavery space. Not For Sale is moving upstream, addressing the crime systemically by creating opportunity and jobs for exploited and vulnerable people.
In 2011, Not For Sale hosted two Montara Circles. Not For Sale presents attendees with sixty-five percent of a solution to a specific, yet iconic, form of slavery in the world today. In twenty-four hours, the attendees contribute the remaining thirty-five percent through their collective knowledge, assets, and experiences.
The inaugural Montara Circle, held in Montara, CA, focused on human trafficking from the Peruvian Amazon to major Latin American cities. The second Circle, held in Amsterdam, focused on trafficking from impoverished regions of Eastern Europe to Western Europe. Utilizing and building on the existing resources, assets, and networks that Not For Sale has previously constructed in these areas (the 65%), participants commit to envisioning and designing the remaining 35%. This includes investing their time, network, institutions, and, if compelled, funding.
Not For Sale starts with a 65% solution, asking participants to help us develop a complete solution.
The Montara Circle is not a typical one-time event. It is the catalyst to innovative, sustainable solutions. Not For Sale commits to execute on the leading solution(s) developed during the gathering. The NFS Social Ventures team is then deployed to follow through and implement the solution in partnership with the participants of the Montara Circle.
This has led to resoundingly positive results.
At the inaugural Montara Circle, held in February 2011, the gathered leaders developed the idea for ‘Smart Tea,’ a consumer-ready drink to be sourced, in part, from the Peruvian Amazon. The goal of the product (the parent company is now called Headwaters Natural Products) is to be sold to the growing number of socially-conscious consumers in Western markets while providing employment for up to 2,500 people in a region highly vulnerable to human trafficking. Headwaters also adheres to Not For Sale’s Free2Work supply-chain protocol, is leading the movement for improved supply-chain practice in the Amazon region, and 2.5% of all proceeds return to Not For Sale to continue our work in the Amazon and around the globe.
In September 2011, at the Montara Circle Amsterdam, the assembled group devised a model for addressing sex trafficking in Europe through the development of agriculture business by scaling Not For Sale Romania’s pre-existing farm and shelter.
Watch the update on the tea company that was envisioned at the first Montara Circle.
The CEO of global retail giant HEMA committed to purchasing vegetables from the farm. The participants committed to funding the first phase of expansion to scale our farm to take advantage of the HEMA offer, and in November 2011, after hearing about Not For Sale’s project in Romania, Google.org funded our project. With the combined funding, Not For Sale will be able to scale our farm to greater commercial viability, enter into a 300+ family farming association, and sell the association’s broader production to HEMA.
Like Headwaters, the farming association has agreed to adhere to our Free2Work protocol and oversight, employing more vulnerable and exploited people, and providing a percentage of the income from sales to HEMA back to Not For Sale.
Subsequently, Not For Sale will gain incredible traction within the Eastern (and Western) European marketplace providing literally hundreds (and possibly even thousands) of jobs for survivors of trafficking while providing long-term economic sustainability to our programming.