At Wiese Foundation we are proud to present Llama Pack, one of the companies selected for the Due Diligence of the Entrepreneurial Fund, at this stage we develop a business plan and a financing scheme with each team. At the end of the above-mentioned stage, the Investment Committee of the Entrepreneurial Fund will select the social endeavors that will be part of its first portfolio.
What is Llama Pack?
Llama Pack is a social company that arises to include the community members of the Sacred Valley of the Incas (Cusco) in the economic dynamics of local tourism, through the use of llamas as pack animals on the rides offered by travel agencies. This proposal has as an added value the protection of the Andean ecosystem.
The co-founders of Llama Pack, Jorge Gálvez Aramburú and Alejandra Arias-Stella, are confident that the endeavor will generate a long-term impact benefiting the Cusco community, sensitizing tourists and strengthening the preservation of the environment.
Creation of Llama Pack as a social business
Llama Pack was founded in 2012, upon realizing that hiking tourism in the Sacred Valley excluded community members and native animals, fundamental pieces in the local environment.
Since that time, its main objective has been to work to recover the breeding and traditional uses of the llama as a pack animal, through its offer to the tourism industry. Currently the above-mentioned industry uses mules, horses and donkeys, whose impact affects the ecosystem and does not generate income for the local population.
In this way, the use of the llama would be considered as a tool for sustainable rural development and, in addition, it would contribute to the conservation of mountain ecosystems in the Urubamba Mountain Range in Cusco, Peru.
“We seek to revalue the llama as a pack animal, because, although Cusco families have these animals, they are of little use.”, says Alejandra who adds that the llamas have been crossed with alpacas, causing their size to be reduced, as well as their load carrying capacity and wool quality.
“The idea is to make families take advantage of their llamas to generate alternative income and reduce the use of animals such as horses, donkeys and mules”, says the entrepreneur.
Also, Jorge adds that the llamas bring “local flavor” to hiking and contribute to the sensitization of the visitors, who are nourished by the dynamics of the community. He comments that another contribution of Llama Pack is to work to naturally strengthen the genetics of these camelids, since the pure bred llamas have almost disappeared in the Urubamba Mountain Range, since many families of Cusco have small llamas crossed with alpacas that have poor fiber quality and cannot carry a significant load.
Social and environmental objectives
The fundamental objective of Llama Pack is to stimulate a sustainable and eco-friendly economy that allows the local population to use llamas as pack animals, thus obtaining economic income and a better quality of life with this activity. Thus, they will not be forced to migrate to urban centers in search for resources for their families.
In economic terms, Alejandra indicates that under the model they propose, a llamero who works 12 days a month, in one year, would have enough money to get his family out of poverty.
On the other hand, in environmental terms, working with llamas minimizes the ecological impact generated by tourism, since they are native animals of the ecosystem. Likewise, the idea is that the llameros manage their own resources of the environment, protect their habitat and be participatory actors in the conservation of the environment.
The sustainability of the business is based on the promotion of the use of llamas as part of the local tourism dynamics; the generation of jobs that did not previously exist such as: breeders, interpreters, guides and project leaders; as well as the responsible management of environmental resources.
The idea is that families and breeders of llamas from Cusco organize themselves and can supply the increasingly growing demand for pack animals.
“When someone participates in llama hiking, they learn a lot in an experiential way, about the culture of the community members, their lifestyle and the importance of these animals for the community. In this way, tourists get involved first-hand in this initiative to generate long-term change action”, says Alejandra.
The main allies and partners of Llama Pack have been the communities of Urubamba that are part of its social endeavor. “Thanks to the personal bond that we created and that we have strengthened, gaps have been reduced, to the point that it is precisely they who raise the possibility of working under the experience with the handling and use of llamas,” says Jorge.
In addition, the entrepreneur recognizes the valuable contribution of
veterinarians and specialists from Cusco, Puno and surrounding areas, because
without them it would not have been possible to begin the program of genetic
improvement of llamas and the creation of the gene bank, to improve the future
generations by recovering their morphological characteristics, in order to
optimize their features, through a natural process of selecting the best
specimens of females and males.
“The biggest challenge at the organizational level is basically to find the ideal moment so that at the internal level we can grow as a team and assume more responsibilities and scale the project”, says Alejandra.
Wiese Foundation Entrepreneurial Fund
Thanks to an approach of the Wiese Foundation to the social entrepreneurs of the area, in Llama Pack they learned about the Entrepreneurial Fund and feel very excited. They believe that their endeavor will generate a very deep impact that will last over time.
“We have high enthusiasm and support from the community members, because they want to participate, so we are growing. Being part of the portfolio would help us strengthen ourselves and generate greater benefits in social and environmental issues. We know that with the support of the Wiese Foundation Entrepreneurial Fund we will have a greater reach”, adds Alejandra.
The Due Diligence process has allowed Llama Pack to organize the information it already had and obtain more value from it. In addition, it has been an enrichment process through new tools that allow them to generate solutions to problems of the organization.
Respect and trust have been fundamental to approach the community of Urubamba and to build relationships through fair work, the valuation of their culture and the involvement of their families. If you want to learn more about Llama Pack endeavor, visit https://llamapackproject.com/