Lucía Coll – Managing Director – EPOSAK Foundation
2022 WE Empower Finalist, Latin America and the Caribbean
At a very young age, Lucia Coll developed an interest in hiking, nature, and climbing. At 18, she co-founded an adventure tourism company which helped her with approaching local communities. She is currently the managing director of EPOSAK Foundation, a nonprofit that has been working on stimulating the social and economic development of Venezuela over the past decade. Eposak aims to transform the lives of people via sustainable tourism. By 2025, Eposak plans to operate “in 40 Venezuelan communities and 10 more communities across Latin America; with Colombia and Ecuador being our first countries in the pipeline.”
Eposak supports the following SDGs – GOAL 4: Quality Education, GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth and GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.
Eposak and Women’s Empowerment
Eposak cares deeply about gender equality and promotes gender equality by empowering women who work in the tourism value chain. In fact, 50% of Eposak’s beneficiaries are women and they often promote and lead Eposak’s projects. For example, the Female Afro-descendant community in Birongo ‘formed a group called ‘Birongo’s Tourism Promoters’ to rescue, enhance, and showcase the community’s cultural and natural heritage.’ Furthermore, female partners lead the solar energy initiative in Kamarata and the musical heritage initiative across all of Eposak’s communities.
Eposak’s Contribution to High Quality Education in Venezuela
Access to the Internet is very important for Tourism Entrepreneurs to succeed. However, access to the Internet, particularly in rural areas, has proven to be difficult. Eposak has worked hard to provide reliable internet to the communities. This has not only helped the tourism entrepreneurs but also local schools. In fact, “the buildings where Eposak has installed satellite internet have become gathering places for students who need internet connection to work on their school projects. In this way, Eposak is supporting SDG 4, ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
Decent Work and Economic Growth
Some communities in Venezuela have rich fisheries and mining resources, however, the activities they are undertaking with these resources are not done in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. Eposak wishes to provide alternative revenue-generating options to these unsustainable industries. It promotes inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and decent work for all, especially for women, indigenous peoples, and afro-descendants through sustainable tourism. Sustainable tourism produces revenue, but it does so in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.
The WE Empower UN SDG Challenge is a first-of-its-kind global competition for women entrepreneurs who are pushing the UN Sustainable Development Goals and leading innovation in sustainability and climate change through their businesses. This Contributing Series highlights finalists of the Challenge whose work demonstrates how business models and social entrepreneurship can drive global impact.
by Fahima Ali