It feels like it was yesterday, but it has been 10 years already. Seat, because here comes our history 🙂

It feels like it was yesterday, but it has been 10 years already. Raízes was born from the common dream to use tourism as a development vector. The company went along its journey recreating itself, sometimes focusing on details, other times looking at a bigger picture. We tried different king of business models, we accumulated some successful stories and also “bought some learning”, as we like to refer to investment of time and money that didn’t brought us the results we were hoping for. It was surely with blood, sweat and smiling. Lots of smiles. Because well, if it’s not fun, it’s not sustainable! Our great motto.

Amazing people bet on this dream and shared this path. A lot left for other paths, definitely or temporary. Distant or parallel paths that eventually still get into each other. This is life flowing. But somehow, all of them are still here, rooted. Were are the sum of our stories. And this is this story that we’d like to share with you, very summed up though is this time line.

Historic

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2002/2005

Raízes was officially born in 2006, but the first steps for the business actually happened before. We (the co-founders) met at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), when we started the course in 2002. From this encounter we created Território, a UFMG junior company of tourism. And in 2005 we graduated with the anxiety of entrepreneurship.
2006

Raízes popped up from a real worry and from the desire to make differently. We went through a lot of dreams we idealized, of debates we built. Co-creating name, brand, portfolio… At this time, we were four partners. The first year, 2006, was marked by the ecological and economical zoning work in Caeté and Sabará. We also started working for the executive coordination of the Brazilian Association of Ecotourism and Adventure Tourism (ABETA).

2007

During this year we assume the coordination and articulation of ABETA. We participated to a lot of significant events of the sector, such as the Tourism Fair of Minas, the National Fair of Tourism and technical events of the Safe Adventure program. It was also in 2007 that Raízes created its first website. We were still conciliating the company with external works (City Hall, tourism agencies, NGO), but running after the dream of making a living with the company only.
2008

A big achievement marked the third year of the company: the organisation of the Adventure Travel World Summit, for which we operated a lot. It was a year of intense work along with ABETA for the International Promotion of Ecotourism and Safe Adventure programs. We, MM and Mari, moved to São Paulo and hired our first inter, Eliana.

2009

We kept going in the ecotourism and adventure tourism segment, but this time, collaborating for the construction of a new branding. We also expanded our work in Brazil: while Marianne was working on a community-based tourism project in Aritapera (Santarém – Pará state), with the artisan women making handcraft bowl, our sustainability consultant, Lucila Egydio, operated in the same municipality on the Reference Destination for Ecotourism project.

At this time, our concern to make more significant works increased. We got out on the field at Jequitinhonha Valley, in northern Minas Gerais, and we mapped 20 communities. Thus, Raízes Artesanato emerged. A Project devoted to the fair trade of handicraft in the north of Minas and in Jequi. The tourism expert Tauana Costa also joined our team, in São Paulo.
2010

During this year, we had a headquarter and a storage for Raízes Artesanato at the Impact Hub, in São Paulo (São Paulo state), and an office in Belo Horizonte. The work got intense correcting the inventory of the touristic offer of Minas Gerais (422 municipalities) and also with the project ROTA (‘route’) of the Estrada Real program. At this period, we had more than 20 interns in Belo Horizonte and our dear Japa (the first one of a lot!), Ana Paula Simamura, in São Paulo.

We realized the Minas Handcraft Show at the House of Minas, in São Paulo, and we participated to many events of handcraft. We also worked hard in São Paulo, helping the Aliança Bike to formalize their association, which we were working with since 2009, and helping BLTA (Brazilian Association of Luxury Tourism) and Braztoa (Brazilian Association of Tourism Operators) to develop themselves. Ufa! Full throttle!
2011

In 2011, we participated to the Sustainable Tourism Show in Foz do Iguaçu. We worked for Piranhas and Marechal Deodora (AL), empowering the Marca Brasil Institute, and in São Miguel das Missões (RS). The Pantanal Expedition, led by our “Sustainy” Lucila Egydio, went through the all bioma, looking for sustainable practices.

We also participated to the Bom de Copa project, qualifying bar and restaurant employees in Belo Horizonte. After that, we traveled to Jequi, we met with the community and decided all together to change our focus from the work on income generation with handcraft to community-based tourism.

We got a great Japanese reinforcement when Raiza Kato and Mayra Sayuri joined our team!

2012

2012 was a very strong year! We were finalist of the Social Entrepreneurs Award of Futuro Folha. Mari’s daughter, Maria Luiza, was born. And we organized the first Brazil Cycle Fair with Aliança Bike.

Jussara Rocha, our consultant, nowaday partner, joined the team, while already working in Mantiqueira and Baixo São Francisco.

The ArteCarste project gathered a team of weight of consultants, including us, for a craftman valorization project in 8 municipalities of the Circuito das Grutas (Cave Tour);

New interpretative packages were created for the Raízes’s handcrafts, thanks to our first crowdfunding. And we created a new website, at least. Meanwhile, in São Paulo office… Mônica Rezende started her internship with us.
2013

Another year of gratitude. We were finalist of the Sustainability Braztoa Award!

In 2013, we opened a new office in Belo Horizonte too. We followed the ArteCarste project, assumed the challenge of remodeling the RedeJur and we hired our dear Bela Braichi.

We took over the executive management of ABETA in São Paulo. Rebeca Yoshisato joined the team in São Paulo, with the first man of the intern team, Gabriel Batista.

Around Brazil, we handled the project (and what a project!) of Tourism Development in the state of Maranhão and also the project of Tourism Revitalization of Baixo São Francisco region, for which after finishing the development and segmentation plan we entered the team for the formation of entrepreneurial network.
2014

We look suspicious saying that every year was special for the company. But in 2014, we created the community-based itinerary Do Barro à Arte (from clay to art), our favorite, and we had the pleasure to work with the Arara Azul Institute in Campo Grande.

Meanwhile, Lucila was managing the SOS Pantanal, pretty close to us. We were still working in São Bento do Norte (RN). Our dear Maria Luiza Spolaor, whom had already worked with us on Arte Carste, consolidated herself as consultant in the team for this project.

We got certified as Empresa B and entered this global community of better companies for the world! We were still executing our first Abeta Summit while being ABETA managers and, to complete, Marianne participated to Vital Voices, an international program boosting businesses led by women.
2015

Each year, the projects were amplifying. In 2015, we went back working on the Projeto Bagagem, an important organization of community-based tourism, and worked side by side with Artesol and the Public Ministry on a beautiful project for the Vale cultural rescue. We have been responsible of the II TuriSol Meeting organization in Brasília, which was a unique opportunity to resume the dialog between the main community-based tourism initiatives in Brazil.

In Minas Gerais, in the neighborhood of Agua Quente, we started a project of Women Empowerment in partnership with Vale. We already initiated a movement about a new way to think and live the “local”, at the Guarda do Embaú, in Santa Catarina, with the help of Marli Luísa.

The travel curator Maria Sônia Pinho, integrated the team for some jobs, especially for the organization of Sabores do Morro together with Poliana Martins, the local mobilizer. For the executive management of ABETA, Matheus Marques replaced Rebeca in the team. We did a benchmarking work of sustainable practices for Toyota Brazil, with a lot of fun.
2016

2016, setting the 10 years of the company, now finished, has been intense and precious! Mariana was finalist of the Claudia Award. Mayra, our dear supervisor, got out to live a sabbatical period in Austria. In Brazil, we won a space in Rio de Janeiro and concentrated the administration with Jamile Chadud arrival in the reinforcement team. It was the Olympic Games year and Raízes was involved too! In partnership with Passaporte Verde we realized initiatives for a responsible tourism, with Endaira Santos help in the team.

Marianne created with other social entrepreneurs the #33diassemMachismo campaign that has been a success! And she didn’t stop here: she is now completely dedicated to the creation of Vivejar. A new company of positive impacts focused on offering experiences for persons and Brazilian traditional communities, reconnecting values and bringing closer realities. A proposal that emerges, inspired by Raízes action in Jequitinhonha Valley, and wining the world from this learning!

And what embody and celebrate all of this? This website talking to you!