GCE interviews: Talking with Carolina

25 May 2021

Global Cooperative Entrepreneurs (GCE) is an innovative mentoring programme that brings together young entrepreneurs with a brilliant coop idea with mentors from both the cooperative movement and youth organisations. The GCE programme not only generates a global network of like-minded people, but it also works as a catalyser of new ideas to support young entrepreneurs to make their coop dream come true. It is an initiative by the ICA-EU Partnership (#coops4dev), inspired by the CoopStarter 2.0 Erasmus+ funded project coordinated by Cooperatives Europe.

Find out more about the programme in this brand-new webpage!


Meet some of the GCE youth ambassadors and mentors! Today we talk with Carolina!


Brief description of your start-up idea

Extraction of oils from by-products of passiflora


Explain us a bit why you chose this particular project? What elements made you think that there is a niche business and a social need for this service?

I wanted to link an environmental component with an economic one. Passion flowers are one of the most important supplychains in the department of Huila (Southern Colombia). It is a supply chain with great potentially for growth and increased added value, which includes the transformation of by-products.

How will your project benefit your community?

With this project we are generating value in the supply chain and we are reducing land pollution by decreasing the amount of waste sent to the landfill.

When you start up a business project in your country, what are in your opinion the most important elements to facilitate the accomplishment of your project (e.g. a mentoring service, access to finance, a supportive regulation, bureaucracy)?

Business consulting.

What are the main challenges that you have encountered/are encountering to move on?

- Technical research of the project

- Market research

- Linking the technical and market elements with the solidarity business model

- Find the economic resources to develop the aforementioned projects

Is the COVID-19 pandemic impacting your GCE agenda? If so, how is it impacting and what measures are you taking to continue with your start-up idea?

It did affected us as it challenged progressions in organizational management. However, we made progress in the technical parts of the project.

Is the cooperative model offering more elements of resilience to cope with the current COVID-19 crisis than other types of business models?

Yes, this is the case. The cooperative model linked to the creation of start-ups.

What is your projection for the near future?

With the project I want to have the product validated and positioned in the market.


How did you hear about the GCE programme?

Through a call between Utrahuilca Social Foundation and members of the interdisciplinary group.

Why did you decide to become GCE Youth Ambassador?

Because one of my life purposes is to link my profession with a social, cultural, environmental and educational dimension. I am passionate about entrepreneurship and my profession.

How can the GCE programme help you to make your entrepreneurial project happen?

Providing us with all the tools and contacts that allow us to advance in our business project.

Why do you think the cooperative is the best business model for your project?

Because the project has an environmental component that is linked to social awareness.


The ICA-EU Partnership on international development (also known as #coops4dev) was signed in 2016 between the International Cooperative Alliance and the European Commission to strengthen the cooperative movement as key actor in international development.
Read more about #coops4dev on our website.