Julio Alvarez believes in the promise of an educational program to raise the environmental consciousness of a nation.
While still a university student, Julio traveled often to Mexico’s beautiful Acapulco beach on family vacations. However, he was appalled by the apathy people had toward the environment. Visitors littered all over the beach, and the evening tide brought in plastic bags, diapers, and empty bottles. His frustration moved him to action; he started an organization that prompted beachfront restaurants to pay for the installation of trash bins, yet, 200 bins later, people still did not seem to care.
Julio was driven to do more. Over the next few years, he created environmental initiatives, green reports, reforestation programs, ecological holiday agendas, and environmental workshops for 26 companies. Again, however, the same stubborn apathy reared its ugly head. Realizing how difficult it was to change an adult’s mind about living a more sustainable life, Julio knew he had to craft a quality environmental education program targeted at youth. Thus was born the concept for Promesa.
Julio gathered a group of psychologists, biologists, and environmental engineers, who together formulated a K-12 program that not only involved every student, but also included important milestones to measure progress. As an additional bonus, he structured the model so that it would be completely self-sustainable by collecting and selling the recycling from the enrolled schools. Schools could therefore enroll in the program free of charge. Moreover, the ripple effect of this environmental initiative would reach beyond the students, touching their teachers, families, and administrators.
The results were stunning. Post-program surveys revealed steadily increasing numbers of students who recycle, and a partnered school has already developed a compost zone, vertical gardens, and pluvial water collection, with plans to install solar panels.
Julio was ready to scale. He applied to Agora’s Accelerator, looking to gain valuable consulting on how best to expand his company. With access to a network of successful social entrepreneurs, a consultant whose hands-on approach showed him his full potential for growth, and an experience at SOCAP where he was confident enough to ask for larger investments than ever before, Julio’s ambition was fully unleashed. He emerged from the Accelerator program with a stronger financial model that could be pitched to international investors, a clearer idea of the team he needed to scale his company, and a more solid communication strategy that allowed him to successfully secure investments six months later.
Promesa is now on the fast track. With an astonishing 100% retention rate of enrolled schools and a rapidly expanding team, Julio hopes to reach 250 schools in the next two months, 1000 schools by 2018, and 7000 schools by 2022. He is building connections across Mexico and the U.S., joining with foundations and associations to champion his environmental cause.
Julio wants to share his passion with everyone, believing that his program is the key to awakening the environmental consciousness of its many students.
Promesa is fueled by the passion of its incredible team, and it is changing the world, one school at a time.