top of page

Bridging Worlds: Unveiling the Untapped Brilliance in Overlooked Communities

As a capacity builder, we navigate between two distinct worlds while working to bridge the divide. On one side, there are underserved communities where untapped brilliance lies dormant. On the other side, we engage investors and partners eager to support high-capacity change-makers, often looking for impressive KPIs and polished pitches.

While this approach is effective, it sometimes overlooks individuals who don’t fit the traditional mold but possess immense potential. These are people hungry to learn and grow and apply themselves but may lack a refined elevator pitch or business jargon to articulate their vision.

The Overlooked Brilliance

I once worked on a stellar international development program that was life-changing for participants. Yet, the selection criteria, including advanced English fluency, inadvertently favored applicants from privileged backgrounds with access to quality education and opportunities. 

As I reviewed applications from almost 40 countries, I couldn’t help but think of the many amazing leaders I’ve met in Brazil, Haiti, and Cuba who wouldn’t stand a chance. Their lack of English skills or inability to demonstrate “proof of concept” would disqualify them.

We might suggest they study harder and reapply, but this reveals a disconnect with the realities on the ground and a skewed measure of success. Plus, it highlights an even more glaring unmet need: accessible quality leadership and entrepreneurial training programs tailored to their environments.

This realization fueled a growing fire within me to make such programs accessible to those who wouldn’t typically have a shot. Who was going to see them? It's about recognizing their potential, the power of their dream, linking arms, and saying, "Let's make this vision a reality together." Many of these individuals don’t have the luxury of waiting for a “high-capacity” entrepreneurial unicorn or moonshot idea to reach them. We need them - and each of us - to be free and empowered to contribute their full brilliance to the world today. By partnering and working together, we can unlock untapped potential and create a dynamic ecosystem of human flourishing that benefits all.


Rethinking Growth and Development

Perhaps we too quickly overlook where sustainable growth and development can come from. There’s a need to reach underserved locations and make opportunities accessible to those in lower socio-economic brackets or unconventional backgrounds. By addressing biases about poverty and potential, we’ll come to recognize that mindset and access are the fundamental issues.

How many brilliant individuals have been written off because they don’t fit the standard expectation? Think of Malala Yousafzai, who defied life-threatening adversity to become a global advocate for girls' education; Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian children's rights activist who rescued over 88,000 children from exploitation and child labor; and Thomas Edison, dismissed as "too stupid to learn anything" by his teachers, yet went on to hold over 1,000 patents. These individuals, not unlike those we encounter in this work daily, exemplify how unconventional paths and overcoming adversity can lead to remarkable success.

In fact, these setbacks, resistance, trials, and heartache helped develop a tenacity, resilience, and character within them to have the carrying capacity to succeed.

Beyond the Unicorns and Moonshots

While supporting groundbreaking ventures is vital—and there are many within these communities— nurturing numerous impactful leaders within their communities is equally transformative. When more of these individuals come from and remain serving their underserved communities to create jobs, solve problems, and stand as mentors and role models, this uplifts their communities quickly and significantly. They help bring themselves and others out of poverty, contributing to sustainable development on local, regional, and even global levels.

In the small village of Poço do Boi, where the Sertao DreamRoot Training Center is located, Ana, a community member, owns a small bakery that serves as a cornerstone for the locals. In a community where many homes lack running water and the nearest grocery store is a distance away, Ana's bakery provides a lifeline, connecting community members and offering dignity.

Similarly, after opening the Arte Suave DreamRoot Training Center in a violent

neighborhood plagued by rival drug gangs, his mentorship, courage, and steadfastness paved the way for ceasing drug trafficking. Youth began leaving gangs, individuals overcame drug addiction, and community ties were restored. This transformation sparked the opening of small businesses, revitalizing the community from within.

Building Bridges

DreamRoot bridges the ecosystem, connecting those without access to opportunities with those looking to support and get involved, where we all create something remarkable, together. We equip people to carry their visions forward through leadership development, seed investment, networking, and coaching. Advocating for those qualified yet overlooked and help qualify those willing to put in the effort. We invite others to join in, connecting with individuals they might never otherwise meet. 

We're excited about our upcoming leadership accelerator and entrepreneurship incubator programs because they aren't typical initiatives. They serve as vital bridges for marginalized individuals, empowering them to take flight and improve their own lives and enhance communities. Tailored specifically to the unique circumstances faced by underserved communities like these, they are for those who do not want to settle for how things are but feel called to more and believe in the possibilities for themselves and others.

It aims to set participants up to walk in even more success and impact. They will develop foundational leadership skills, including self-awareness, navigating interpersonal dynamics, and building trust to foster community and drive systemic change. Participants will gain an international network of peers and mentors. As participants grow and develop, they catalyze transformation and exemplify what sustainable development looks like.

Meeting People Where They Are

We've identified a crucial unmet need for these accelerator and incubator programs to be made accessible to lower-income individuals. They are designed to accommodate those with busy schedules—juggling multiple jobs, waiting for buses, single mothers, and others who may not yet be familiar with business concepts but possess immense; valuing everyone in the ecosystem.

To investors searching for hidden gems, we appreciate your commitment. Your support and partnership yields returns that exceed even the wildest dreams and cultivate impactful and sustainable development.


bottom of page