Becoming Biocultural Entrepreneurs in the Upper Ecuadorian Amazon

Since 2015, Amazon Frontlines (AF) has worked directly with Indigenous communities to uplift women’s leadership and develop women-led economic alternatives to fossil fuel extraction. In 2021, as a means to scale this work regionally, AF launched, alongside Ceibo Alliance, a novel Women’s Leadership and Entrepreneurship School designed to provide training for Indigenous women from the Upper Amazon in Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru in leadership skills, business administration, and revitalization of biocultural practices, increasing their capacity to run income-generating projects and to be biocultural leaders in their communities.

After two successful years and +40 women trained, in 2024, the School will expand to offer training to 50 participants, including members of seven women-led associations from Ecuador and Colombia. The School’s courses will include business administration, accounting, marketing, team building, and communications but will also incorporate rights, politics, and territorial defense training in efforts to honor Indigenous women’s frontline leadership in the collective fight for the protection of Indigenous forests.

To deepen participants’ impact in their communities, Amazon Frontlines will provide mentorship to 4 of the women’s associations participating in the School to implement tailored plans for growth and productivity. These associations are:

  • Suku and Shamecco (from the Kofán nation, specializing in traditional jewelry and clothing),
  • Romi Cuaro (from the Siekopai nation, sells ancestral Siekopai food products) and
  • Nomi Wa’ya (from the Siona nation, produces organic raw sugar).

The common denominator: they all center the values of reciprocity, regeneration, and respect for nature in their business models, representing a viable solutions-based alternative to the extractive sector in their territories.


Posted on

September 29, 2023

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