TAIS and the competition that changed everything
EDITOR’S NOTE: This post is a collaboration from Grupo Guayacán, as part of its 25 Days of Giving campaign.
For food recycling company TAIS, garbage doesn’t exist. The company is dedicated to turning food waste into compost, which nourishes the soil and allows more vegetation to grow. It also uses photosynthesis to capture the carbon that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere.
However, Oscar Meléndez, TAIS’ chief business development officer, says they are not certain TAIS would still exist if it weren’t for the support from business education programs.
Carlos Enrique Pacheco and José Miguel Pacheco are Melendez’s partners, who together in 2019 won five prizes in the EnterPRize business competition. This represented thousands of dollars in seed capital prizes to fund its ongoing development.
These prizes, in addition to the skills acquired to hone the structural aspects of their company, proved to be a catalyst in an extremely critical moment.
“If it weren’t, in part, for what we won at EnterPRize, I don’t know where TAIS would be. That gave us the resources to survive the difficult times we went through initially with the pandemic and the opportunity to develop residential services,” says Oscar. When the global crisis hit due to the pandemic, they were at the final stage of negotiating a few major agreements, which were put on hold for months.
TAIS explored its options and focused its efforts on receiving and processing household waste, something that was always part of its business plan, albeit on a smaller scale. Now it makes up almost one third of their operations.
Meléndez says they were able to “launch a new segment, which we largely owe to the fact that one of the awards we received was hours of mentoring with Lianabel Oliver. Her initial commitment was two hours, but the first meeting alone was more than two hours long, and she ended up being part of our board of directors in 2020.”
Such expert technical assistance and genuine interest in the company’s development has been a key factor for TAIS.
“This is support that goes beyond money. It helped us get organized, trace a strategy, and set goals in tune with our strategy,” the entrepreneur says.
Oscar stresses that it is because of this reason that every contribution made to Grupo Guayacán is highly valuable.
“It is important to know that there are high-quality professionals who spend time helping the entrepreneurs who participate in these programs. And that is possible due to the funds raised to pay for that support,” he says.
Considering everything that the company has endured to stay afloat, Guayacán’s support has been undeniably essential in TAIS’ success.
“We are collaborating with municipalities to create municipal collection programs. We are also collaborating with local produce delivery company PRoduce, and we are still working closely with households, because 40% of the waste generated is residential, and 25% is from restaurants and cafeterias,” says Oscar.
Meanwhile, they are getting ready to resume the negotiations that were in process when the pandemic began.
There should be no doubt: TAIS will continue existing and growing.