E2-S3 Addressing Economic Inequality Through Social Entrepreneurship with Paulina Toro

Summary & Key Takeways

While Craig and I were lost in a social innovation lab a young an amazing women helped us find our way and very very soon we knew she needed to be a guest at The Social Change Career Podcast.  Recently graduated from the Wagner’s School in NYC, she returns to her native Colombia to develop Kalpatta, her social entreprerprise bringing opportunities to underserved women through a gourmet restaurant experience. Listen to Episode 2 of Season 3 to learn what it takes to address economic inequality for women through social entrepreneurship.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Paulina’s early years, privileged background and education and how it shaped her
  • How she was bullied her fancy school
  • Growing up witnessing the contrast of wealth while witnessing the struggle of her care taker, Rosalba, as she struggled in life and how Paulina chose a career to bring about solutions to address inequality
  • Paulina’s law school experience was her initial way of figuring our how to bring about social and systemic change.
  • What law school gave her and why she doesn’t recommend it anymore
  • Why Paulina argues on the importance of hard skills e.g. how to do a budget, etc
  • Figure out what you need to get there (what you lack, what you need)
  • How Paulina found her why: understand the root causes and how to address them and why law was not her preferred set of tools to solve her why
  • Paulina shares her super successful tips to how she successfully secured scholarships for Graduate School
  • Is grad school in the U.S. worth it? This is Paulina’s perspective on Grad school from the perspective of an international student considering a U.S. degree
  • How Paulina sees her return of investment (ROI) of her grad school experience
  • Paulina’s return to her native Colombia after completing her Masters
  • How Paulina learned about social entrepreneurship in NYC and doing grad school
  • The struggles of non-profits with financial sustainability and how Paulina learned about new forms of creating impact with social innovation
  • Paulina tells the story of Kalpatta, her social enterprise
  • Kalpatta means “empowered women” in Quechua (Andean Region Native) a social enterprise that empowers underserved women while providing a unique gastronomy experience
  • Women that work in Kalpatta are non or under-employed Kalpatta is also a school that is training the women (in economic empowerment around the food industry)
  • How Kalpatta works based on a fellowship model for a year long
  • A % of the restaurant revenue goes to the fellowships
  • A % of the alumni profits from their business is reinvested in Kalpatta
  • Kalpatta will launch in Medellin but the plans are to go national
  • What scares Paulina as she builds Kalpatta?
  • There is a demand of the socially conscious, gourmet, nutritious food and Paulina is feeling that gap with Kalpatta
  • What motivates Paulina
  • Best career advice Paulina has received and why
  • How has failure shaped Paulina’s career?
  • How Paulina looked for 1 year for a job and how this propelled her to get her MA and become an entrepreneur
  • Three things needed to pursue a career in social impact according to Paulina
  • What to do with families, friends that don’t believe or are too afraid of you failing


Wagner School

Ruta N

Social Innovation

Related topics

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