Covia believes that we can make a positive difference in the world. This belief, and our core Values to Be Different and Act Responsibly drives our involvement in global initiatives and our communities.
For years, Covia has focused its international efforts around investment in our Mexican Communities including:
- Hiring a Community Investment Manager to oversee investment projects at our locations in Mexico and drive engagement with our communities
- Donating 75,000 USD (1,498,560 MXN) towards impactful projects that support education and social equality
- Providing 800 residents with access to clean water in Metepac and Metlaxixtla
The OECD Community Wellbeing framework identifies eleven dimensions of wellbeing in a community. Covia Mexico is currently working on six of those dimensions, which are the ones with greater gaps in our communities: Income, Education, Employment, Environmental care, Civic engagement, and Community integration.
We operate 14 facilities in Mexico, where our community engagement programs and financial donations exemplify our commitment to community investment. One of Covia Mexico’s most recent partnerships is with Balloon Latam.
What is Balloon Latam?
Balloon Latam is a social enterprise that promotes entrepreneurial skills in Mexican communities and generates a vision of territorial development through effective participation from community members.
Territorial development, which can include regional development or country and town planning, is an integrated multi-sector development approach that draws on public and private resources to improve the quality of life and fosters social and environmental welfare. Balloon Latam's mission is to reduce essential gaps for the well-being of everyone who lives in the territory.
Balloon Latam believes that existing solutions to close these gaps are not effective enough and are unsustainable. Their socio-territorial intervention model seeks better balance across environmental care, economic growth, and social welfare in three ways:
- Directly working with entrepreneurs
- Working with the community
- Working with the territory by considering the ecosystem and community that surrounds it
Covia's Collaborative Projects with Balloon Latam
Since June 2022, Covia and Balloon Latam representatives have gotten many initiatives off the ground that focus on enriching the lives of Mexican business owners. These initiatives include providing entrepreneurs with 82 training hours on entrepreneurship, business administration, finances, and marketing aimed at community members with small and mid-sized businesses looking to develop business ideas.
These efforts also include Balloon Latam representatives visiting 30 businesses to understand their business models and providing business owners with personalized advice. These rural businesses included family-owned cider houses, fruit jam production companies, wood craftsmanship, and sheep farming.
Additionally, Covia funded several entrepreneurship fairs and projects geared towards showing local business owners how to sell local resources while preserving them.
The Entrepreneurship Fair
Balloon Latam and Covia strive to empower entrepreneurs in rural communities. To support these entrepreneurs, we helped organize a successful two-day local Entrepreneurship Fair. Fifty business owners participated in this opportunity to market their companies and make themselves known in the community. For many, it was their first time selling a product.
The successful fair enabled most participating business owners to sell in two days what they usually sell in two weeks. Additionally, the event had a significant economic benefit for the community, with business owners who participated making $7,500 USD dollars (150,000 Mexican Pesos) collectively during this event in total.
Resilient Jáltipan is another example of how Covia and Balloon Latam believe in providing tools to help rural communities thrive. The entrepreneurship fair "Resilient Jáltipan," a partnership between Covia, Balloon Latam, and the Municipal Government of Jáltipan, finished its first stage in August 2022. These entities collaborate to promote:
- Local entrepreneurship, including training to provide essential business administration skills and management knowledge.
- Skills and competencies development for self-employment.
- Incubation and acceleration of environmental and social projects that meet the main challenges of the community.
Over 200 community participants graduated and attended the event with their families. Olivia Hirata, General Director of Balloon Latam Mexico, was also present, along with Syndic María Edith Ontiveros and six other government representatives from the Jáltipan Municipality.
"Through this collaboration between Covia, Balloon Latam, and the City Council, we will continue to work in a coordinated manner on actions that benefit citizens," said Jáltipan Government Representative, María Edith Ontiveros.
Micro and small businesses can thrive in mighty ways when given the right learning and growth opportunities. Balloon Latam hosted eight entrepreneurship workshops as a part of the Somos Resilientes initiative (We are Resilient) in Jáltipan, Veracruz; Ahuazotepec; and Puebla, Zacatlán. These workshops focused on business and administration training. Three hundred participants from micro and small companies participated.
Balloon Latam and Covia have also been working to include local government in these projects to gain support regarding ways to address social, sustainable, and environmental gaps. Through the Somos Resilientes initiative, Covia joined the three local governments (represented by the mayors of Ahuazotepec, Zacatlán, Jáltipan) and Balloon Latam's General Director Joshua Villaseñor in signing a Collaboration Agreement for Community Development.
Granjas De Peces
The pandemic has affected families all over the world. In 2020, Covia launched a Granjas de Peces (fish farming) initiative to promote entrepreneurship and local economic development in San Lorenzo, a community located near Covia's Jáltipan plant in Veracruz. Covia helped build 21 rustic lakes that produce fish for San Lorenzo families who lost their jobs during the pandemic. Each family in the program sells an average of 66 pounds of fish each month, creating a much-needed income stream.
A community can have financial stability when it learns how to responsibly use and conserve local resources. Covia partnered with the Civil Protection Agency to create a pollinator conservation project called Apicultara Comunitara (community beekeeping), which teaches people how to profitably harvest honey while conserving bees. Residents interested in owning a honey production company learn how to care for bees by working with local Covia Biologist Santiago Torales.
Twenty-five participants were in the program, with 50% being women who are breadwinners for their families. At the end of the program, participants said they had gained a tool that could provide them with a better quality of life.
These initiatives reflect Covia’s commitment to help our communities. “Our goal is to foster more prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable communities” said Mirthala Ledezma Treviño, Community Development Manager for Covia Mexico.
“Our Team Members and leaders are proud to have contributed to projects that instilled hope in so many individuals.”
Contact Covia today to learn more about our philanthropic efforts and how we consistently make a difference.