La Mezcladora, Promoting Open Innovation to Close Housing Gaps in Peru
Luis Enrique Flórez, GCL 2019, Peru, shares with LALP this initiative that he directs and brings together the academia, Habitat for Humanity, and seven large organizations from the construction and real estate sectors in Peru to close the housing gap, improve industry productivity and promote an innovation ecosystem in this sector.
The critical housing situation in Peru and the Latin American region, as well as my interest in innovation ecosystems and the impact they can generate, materialized in La Mezcladora. My experience in GCL was key in this process because the program, through academic classes, testimonies and networking, helped me advance my abilities to lead a business venture, strengthen my knowledge of the region, and share best practices with a network of changemakers across the region.
by Luis Enrique Flórez, GCL 2019, Peru
In Peru, 7 out of 10 inhabitants have built their homes informally, that is, without any professional technical assistance; 6 out of 10 have not had a construction license. If we go deeper into the statistics we can find data of different and equally critical nature: a housing deficit of 1.8 million families; every year approximately 70% of new households looking for a house (100 thousand families) resort to land trafficking; 70% of the urban area of Lima, its capital, has a high vulnerability to earthquakes as it is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, etc. We are facing a housing crisis - similar to other Latin American countries - that extends decade after decade, but consequently, we are in front of an opportunity.
Based on the country's housing situation, 9 leading industry organizations from the private and social sectors and academia joined forces through the contech and proptech innovation hub La Mezcladora with the challenge of achieving 3 main objectives:
- contribute to closing housing gaps in Peru and the region from the base of the pyramid and placing the person at the center of the solution;
- increase the productivity of the construction industry, which is below the average of other industries, considering environmental and sustainability criteria; and
- boost the innovation ecosystem in construction and real estate through active work with startups.
The work of La Mezcladora - hub operated by UTEC Ventures, the accelerator of the Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología UTEC - starts with the identification of 5 challenges: Access to Finance, Design and Massification of Housing, Sustainability, Productivity and Industrialization, Customer Experience and Digitalization. The search for solutions around these topics is channeled through its open innovation mechanisms which focus on incubating/accelerating ventures and stimulating relationships with partners. Precisely the ultimate goal of La Mezcladora is to promote corporate venture and develop pilots between startups and corporations. These pilots are short-term projects based on evidence and an existing user need and focused on generating reliable and functional MVPs that can later become products and services for the market. La Mezcladora participates in the management of these pilots and develops the management tools, processes and lessons learned that optimize the work between two actors with different characteristics and cultures such as startups and corporates.
Since its launch in September 2021, La Mezcladora has promoted 13 startups from 6 countries through its first acceleration program; convened 16 teams/startups for specific challenges in terms of access to financing for housing, and design and massification of social housing; developed 4 pilots aimed at professionalizing the work of the master builder, production of prefabricated concrete multifamily housing and financing for underbanked people; generated links with different organizations such as multilateral, technical institutions, investors, public sector organizations, etc., and all this hand in hand with the most important companies in materials, real estate, finance, social sector and innovation in the country. A collective whose work aims to reverse the housing situation in the region and generate a broad and dynamic ecosystem in the construction industry in Latin America.
Luis Enrique Flórez, GCL 2019, Peru is a Mechanical Engineer from the National University of Engineering and a Master in Public Administration from Columbia University. Currently, he is the Executive Manager of the construction innovation hub La Mixadora. He is a certified Project Management Professional - PMP and specialist in Project Management from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. Fellow of the Global Leadership and Competitiveness Program of Georgetown University and founder of the Maba social impact project of the University of Engineering and Technology UTEC to improve educational quality levels in vulnerable areas of Peru. Luis Enrique has studies in public management, governance, and public-private partnerships and has experience in research, social entrepreneurship, public policies to encourage innovation, and public-private investment modalities.