Peruvian company Empanacombi triumphs in Paris with its disability-inclusive business model

9 Jul 2019

On April 8-9, the Harkin Summit was held, with the support of former US Senator Tom Harkin and organized by Humanity & Inclusion (HI). This session was devoted to discussing policies and good practices on employment and people with disabilities. It brought together leading organizations and businesses from all over the world.

Social start-up Empanacombi, with 6 years of experience in the Peruvian market employing young cooks with disabilities, was chosen as an example for inclusion in SMEs. The heads of Empanacombi, Carlos Sánchez and Cynthia Rodríguez, presented the challenges SMEs in emerging countries face with relation to the labor inclusion of people with disabilities. They presented the case of Empanacombi, which currently employs 13 people, 7 of which with disabilities. They also introduced ‘inclusive cooking’ as an innovative practice within the reasonable adjustments needed to adapt kitchens for cooks with disabilities. They received the ovation of the audience and generated several partnerships with companies and governments from France, the United States, India, Colombia, and others.

Social start-up Empanacombi had already crossed borders two years ago, when its CEOs were invited to represent Peru at the Global Business and Disability Network, at the headquarters of the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland. This innovative company is planning its expansion through different points of sale in malls, convenience stores and restaurants. By 2021, they aim at generating 20 more jobs, and at setting up a cooking school for low-income people with disabilities, with the view of training 50 students in its first year.

Empanacombi is one of the more than 20 companies in the Peruvian Business and Disability Network, which meets every month to exchange good practices between its members, and whose objective is the inclusion of people with disabilities in the Peruvian business sector. They have the support of the Bureau for Employers’ Activities of the ILO Subregional Office for the Andean Countries.