Setting up our 6 week Immersion programme in Rio wasn’t just a big move for _SocialStarters, it also marked the start of a new chapter in my own life by turning my dream of living and working in a new country into a reality.

The launch of our Immersion and Innovation Bootcamp programmes in Rio also represented a bold step for the Trainee Social Impact Consultants that joined us from around the world. Professionals from a range of backgrounds and sectors that were looking to pursue their own dreams of travelling with purpose, learning how business can be used to create a real social impact, and how social enterprise could offer them a fulfilling alternative to the former careers and industries they had decided to leave behind.

Rio provided the perfect backdrop to the Immersion and Innovation Bootcamp programmes; a city filled with natural beauty and a vibrant culture and people, with sights and sounds to stimulate all the senses and many powerful issues affecting different sections of society. We’ve had the opportunity to work with some truly inspiring Brazilian social entrepreneurs who are striving to develop solutions to the social challenges facing people within Rio’s favela communities by setting up micro businesses, NGOs and fledgling social projects. Working in fashion, art, education, sport, music, literature, film and dance, all of the projects we worked with were finding a way to combine their passions with their determination to address social issues affecting many Brazilians today.

Our Brazilian clients and Social Impact Consultants were often unsure of what to expect from the programme or what they could hope to get out of it but had a shared ambition to create more impact and a commitment to working together to develop new ideas and approaches to strengthen their work. Both the Brazilian clients and international volunteers learned a lot from the experience and from each other from basic business concepts, financial strategy, and marketing techniques to discovering increased self-belief and confidence and a willingness to embrace the unknown.

Our Social Impact Consultants and clients were pioneers of the first _Social Starters programmes in South America. The first wave of alumni on a career development and training programme that is set to grow, iterate and develop in 2016, creating social change in communities in Rio and beyond via our clients and Consultants who take their learnings and experience to shape and build their what next.

Learn more about _SocialStarter’s impact in 2015 by visiting our celebration of 2015 online. Meet the Consultants and clients who made big changes in their communities and within themselves.

Interested in #joining us in either Brazil, India, Sri Lanka or the Phillippines in 2016?

Check our website out for all the details and dates of our various programmes and opportunities and apply for upcoming programmes here.