Tymo Nakao

Programa Vivenda: Housing, bonds and community

With vast housing construction and expansion programs under way across Brazil, the construction market appears saturated.

Programa Vivenda is taking a different approach to the market, and has managed to spot unexplored demand and positively impact many families in the process. The startup delivers better quality of life to the population through home renovations, kits and technical assistance aimed at improving comfort and covering the expenses of owning a house. Social entrepreneurs Adilson Motta, Fernando Assad, Igiano Lima and “Lelo”, each with experience in the housing and social business sectors, conjured up an opportunity seldom followed by other institutions: improving of existing constructions, as opposed to the erecting new buildings. Even though the construction of new homes is a recurring theme supported by various development initiatives and base of the pyramid businesses, home improvement is not yet met by many of these programs and represents a gap in unserved demand.

One of the program’s many strengths is that home improvement leads to an expansion of the community’s own social capital. This is because a person’s work, education, friendship circle and sense of community – the person’s history in that community – are all preserved. Alternatively, dislocating a family to a housing complex, creates the risk disrupting their lives, such as moving them too far away from workplaces and social circles with which they’ve already bonded.

Programa Vivenda works in cooperation with local non-profits, especially with those involved in health and education. After the non-profit’s inspection of necessities, the job is carried out: from credit analysis, personal, specialized face-to-face than a traditional bank’s, through the formulation of the project itself, to the project’s construction and administration. For a successful project, co-creation is indispensable to ensure the customer’s needs and perspective are is considered. As the focus is on local development, the program seeks to make use of the local community’s resources as much as possible – such as local construction materials and local labor.

Programa Vivenda’s marketing is based on the simple, yet powerful, word-of-mouth. As the communities harbor a collective spirit and a neighborhood more mingled than an urban metropolitan center, news of a service or product spread quickly, particularly among housewives, the ones who most often solicit Programa Vivenda’s services. This way, the startup soon becomes locally known.

As tips to future social entrepreneurs, Programa Vivenda’s team has left us the following:

  • If you have a good idea, carry it out quickly. Premeditation and calculation are important, but don’t forget to act. When you do act, make sure to receive feedback, analyse it and redesign your product or model. Only this way will you truly be able to perfect your product.
  • Balance the impact, the cause and the business model well: this leveling is necessary in order to have a sustainable and autonomous business.
  • Believe in action and impact. Don’t give up on the causes you fight for.

Programa Vivenda is an excellent housing startup that spotted demand still unsupplied: Home improvement which preserves both a family’s house and their history inside their community. Because the company supervises the projects from beginning to end, the communication and fluidity of their work are astounding. These social entrepreneurs are certainly providing an excellent service of great impact and much professionalism.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on NextBillion Brasil, and is available here in Portuguese.