The Esperanza Social Venture Club is designed to give young men the opportunity to start their own sustainable businesses in Casco Viejo and this week, we were lucky enough to have Luis Moreno present Lava Autos Plaza Amador, the first official car wash in the neighborhoods of Chorillo, Catedral, Plaza Amador, and San Felipe.
There was a jury of three Esperanza judges (below) and a room of about eight other people, including a couple of investors and support staff.
The name “Shark Tank” is really just for fun, in case anyone has the US television show in mind when they see the name. The truth is that the mood and spirit of the event is much more collaborative and with the obvious goal of getting a business like Lava Autos launched. No one wants to see someone walk away without a clear path to be on their way to getting their business up and running.
Luis is a larger than life sort of guy with an infectious smile that makes you want to root for him. As one of the judge’s rightly pointed out, his best tool for promotion of the car wash around the Casco and San Felipe areas was going to be his personality.
Luis presented his case in about 6 slides, keeping to the 6 minute limit, and did a great job of explaining his model, location, cost structure, pricing model and competitive differentiators.
After each judge had an opportunity to ask questions and give feedback, they left the room to deliberate. At this time, other attendees had an opportunity to discuss Luis’ idea with him: quick questions and a lot of ideas as to how he could make this car wash a bigger success. Luis was grateful for the feedback.
Finally, the panel of judges came back and had one significant change to getting Luis funded:
Luis wanted to add a valet option for monthly clients to the car wash. However the jurors felt this was unnecessarily risky, and not needed in Phase 1 to get the core business of the car wash up and running. They left it with Luis doing one more review of the numbers this week and then deciding on the funding number he would receive so he can get started as soon as possible.We will keep everyone updated on businesses like Luis’: low investment, low risk businesses with a high impact and even greater opportunity for the entrepreneurs and the entire community as a whole.
As one attendee put it, “These are the kinds of experiences that allow me to believe that we can actually make a difference and create REAL, long-term sustainable value through the inclusion of a city’s most valuable asset, its people. This sort of event has catalyzed very specific ideas on how to influence growth (economic, social, educational and spiritual) on a national scale.”
Esperanza would like to thank community members Chris Dowd (video), Matt Harbison and Jaime St. Malo (text), and Carlos Agrazal (photos) for compiling this post.