ABOUT US

About Spes Nova - Supporting Global Artisans

Spes Nova, meaning “New Hope” in Latin, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to help establish sustainable and inclusive development in the poorest regions of the world by collaborating with an extensive global network of academic institutions. The organization is built upon its proprietary Three Pillar Approach to economic development: market development, micro-credit, and micro-insurance.

While donations and aid are both welcomed and needed in undeserved communities, sustained and scalable improvements in income and living standards require new approaches to development that instill dignity and independence. Entrepreneurship is a potential key. However, many organizations seeking to assist these budding business owners, unintentially create more harm. Such schemes include expensive microfinancing that results in a cycle of debt, purchasing products then not returning, providing equipment but no training or maintence. The list goes on.  

Leading economists and development experts have carefully crafted Spes Nova’s model to create a new form of development that addresses these pitfalls. We identify and build relationships with global artisans in low-income areas through our network of reputable, mission-driven universities worldwide. We can strengthen these artisans’ businesses by providing interest free pre-production loans, product design assistance, and access to new markets on an ongoing basis. This process allows the businesses to develop, providing sustainable employment and income for the artisans, their families, and their communities.

Buy purchasing a product or providing a loan on our site, you are contributing to a positive cycle of growth and prosperity!

Three Pillar Approach

Spes Nova's proprietary model to development aims to alleviate poverty in some of the poorest regions of the world by offering local artisans access to capital, robust markets, and insurance products:

Micro-Credit

Academic institutions in the Spes Nova network analyze market trends and order products from artisans, which creates the immediate need for pre-production funding (working capital, funds to pay raw materials, and additional labor, among others). In general, local artisans rely on shark lenders, pawn loan providers, or microfinance institutions (MFIs) that charge them high-interest rates (typically between 20 to 40% per year). To help artisans reduce these financial costs, Spes Nova created a crowdsourcing section of this website, allowing consumers like you to sponsor small pre-production loans by selecting local artisans from the Spes Nova database. In addition, many partner universities raise funds for an initial purchase from our artisans, and then use the net earnings from sales to repurchase more products. 

Market Development

Many artisans and craftsmen in developing countries face limited consumers in their local markets and/or rely on tourism (which can be unpredictable - especially in a world with pandemics). Through its e-commerce site, Spes Nova provides a platform for these producers to access the global marketplace. Students and faculty at our partner institutions around the globe utilize market-research tools to assist artisans with product design, quality control, cost analysis, pricing, and environmentally friendly production. When products are finalized and recieved by the US university, they are then uploaded to this site...where they meet their future owner!

Insurance

The world's poorest regions are not only some of the most vulnerable to catastrophic events but also the least protected by insurance. The working poor is exposed to natural perils (such as hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes) that can simultaneously wipe out all their assets (housing, clothing, and personal possessions) and their means for making a living. At Spes Nova, we don't want to see our artisans, or any small-scaled business owner, work so hard building an enterprise for it to disappear overnight. That is why we are preparing low-cost insurance products to protect their hardwork and those of others in their region. 

These three approaches are mutually supportive, and when put together, provide a sustainable, inclusive path towards prosperity for the working poor.

Spes Nova Corporate

Erick Rengifo

Erick Rengifo Co-Founder, ED

Erick Rengifo is an associate professor in the Economics Department at Fordham University. He is a co-founder of Spes Nova Inc, a non-profit corporation whose main goals are to provide funding to microenterprises, assist in market creation, and provide insurance products for the working poor worldwide. He is also the founder and director of the Center for International Policy Studies and an active scholar interested in market development, microfinance, micro-insurance, market microstructure, behavioral finance, risk management, insurance, and econometrics.

Professor Rengifo is a private consultant in algorithmic trading, investments, risk management, microfinance, and micro-insurance. He holds a Ph.D. in economics with a concentration in finance and econometrics from the Catholic University of Louvain-Belgium.

Steve Carlsen

Steve Carlsen Co-Founder

Steve Carlsen is a co-founder of Spes Nova and continues to serve as a Director. Steve has a 35-year career in the insurance and reinsurance industries, specializing in underwriting, pricing, and managing catastrophic risk. He was an early developer of capital consumption models by applying modern portfolio theory to insurable risk. Steve Carlsen was a co-founder of Endurance Specialty Holdings (ENH), where he continues to serve as a Director and member of its Risk and Finance Committees. He also provides consulting services to private equity groups and hedge funds investing in the insurance and insurance services sectors. Steve has an undergraduate degree in Mathematics from Cornell University and received his Ph.D. in Economics from Fordham University in May 2013.

Dana Nelson

Dana Nelson Executive Director

Dana Nelson is an experienced researcher and practitioner in corporate responsibility, human rights advocacy, and sustainable development. In addition to running Spes Nova, she serves as a social impact consultant for a large-scale investment firm. She was previously sponsored by USAID to serve on the social compliance team of Ethical Apparel Africa in Ghana. She also served as a strategy and investment analyst for Equivico,  a woman-owned investment management firm focused on expanding access to capital for underserved entrepreneurs. 

She holds a B.A. in International Political Economy from Fordham University, where she served as President of Students for Fair Trade and the Strategic Lead for Spes Nova from 2015 to 2018. She also holds a Master’s Degree from the internationally recognized Center of Development Studies at The University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

Fordham University Team Members

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Saujan is currently studying in the graduate program in International Political Economy and Development at Fordham University. As an undergraduate, Saujan studied Economics at Kathmandu University, Nepal. His experiences before joining Spes Nova include working as a Research Consultant and as a Research Assistant in several think tanks and non-governmental organizations in Nepal. In the future, he is interested in working in the development sectors of Nepal with an emphasis on reducing poverty and promoting sustainable environmental practices. 

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Andres Montoya Public Relations

Andres Montoya is a first year student at the Gabelli School of Business at Fordham University. He is planning on majoring in Business Administration and minoring in Sustainability. Andres believes that the sustainable and ethical sourcing of materials is not only important, but essential for the continuation of all business. During his time at Spes Nova he hopes to learn more about what it means to practice business responsibly, and looks forward to helping Spes Nova in its mission.

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Gurbax Assie Finance

Hey, I am Gurbax, and I am the President of Finance here at SpesNova. I am a sophomore studying at the Gabelli School of Business and I have been a part of Spes Nova for over a year. My values perfectly align with SpesNova as I love to both give beck to society and I have a passion for art. SpesNova enables me to do both in a meaningful way!

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Kaitlyn Squyres Graphic designer

Kaitlyn Squyres is a first year student at Fordham University. She has a passion for sustainability and for improving the lives of children. Kaitlyn has worked as a graphic designer with Mercy Academy’s Catholic Relief Services Club and is excited to use her skills to support Spes Nova’s mission. At Fordham, she is also involved with Girls Who Code, Fostering Futures, and Campus Ministry.

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Natalie Kamble Sales Associate

Natalie Kamble is a current sophomore majoring in Business Administration with Management at Fordham University's Gabelli School of Business. Natalie is interested in business because she wants to understand the innovative ideas that go into making a product or service, which eventually change people’s lives. On campus, Natalie involves in Commuting Student Association as a Marketing Coordinator for the Class of 2025, library aide for Fordham’s Walsh Library, and ASCEND’s club member. Off-campus, Natalie volunteers as a swim aide to teach disabled kids to learn to swim and volunteers as a Host at her church. With these experiences and skills, Natalie hopes to support Spes Nova’s mission of not only helping artisans for a short time but for artisans to have an inclusive bond with the Spes Nova family forever.

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Sukhmani Kaur Social Media Manager

Sukhmani Kaur is a first-year student at Fordham University planning to major in
Finance. Sukhmani strives to support Spes Nova’s mission, as sustainability is essential in her
life. In the past, she was a volunteer ambassador at Liberty Science Center, where she promoted
science and positivity to everyone. She hopes to spread the message of what Spes Nova is around
the Fordham community and even further beyond as a social media manager. At Fordham, she is
involved in Smart Woman Securities, The Women’s Network, and the South Asian Student
Association.

Juliana Tulio photo

Juliana Tulio

Juliana Tulio is a first year student at Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business with an intended major in marketing. She is so excited to serve as this year's Spes Nova Sales and Events Manager! Juliana loves Spes Nova’s mission and wants to continue gaining support for the organization’s international artisan partners! 

St. Thomas Aquinas College Team Members

Desiree Bermudez

Desiree Bermudez / Team Member

TBD

Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Cali Team Members

Father Luis Felipe Gómez

Father Luis Felipe Gómez Director of Javeriana Cali University

Father Luis Felipe Gómez Restrepo S.J. is a lawyer with a master's degree in Economic and Business Sciences, a philosopher from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, and a theologian from the Sèvres Center of the Society of Jesus in Paris. He has been a teacher at the 2 Javeriana campuses and three other universities. He was also dean of the Faculty of Economic and Administrative Sciences of Javeriana Cali.

Silvio Borrero Caldas

Silvio Borrero Caldas Dean - Faculty of Economic and Administrative Sciences of Javeriana Cali University

Academic leader and professional manager with a doctorate in business, extensive teaching experience, and business experience. Expertise in consulting, research and teaching, strategy, innovation, organizational behavior, and management education.

He has relevant experience in corporate governance, business advice, engineering projects, retail businesses, and manufacturing. Key competencies include interpersonal skills, leadership, coaching, motivation, communication, teamwork, and problem-solving, developed in competitive and multicultural contexts.

Viviana Gutiérrez

Viviana Gutiérrez Director of the Organizational Management Department of Javeriana Cali University

Viviana Gutiérrez has an MPhil in innovation, strategy, and organizations from the University of Cambridge and a master's degree in Industrial Engineering from the Universidad del Valle. She is an assistant professor of business strategy, strategic management, and planning courses in the Department of Organization Management at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Cali. Her research interests are institutional theory, innovation, technological change, strategy, and discourse analysis. She is also a consultant in innovation management.

María del Pilar Gómez

María del Pilar Gómez Spes Nova project Leader of Javeriana Cali University - Fordham University

María del Pilar is an Assistant Professor at the Javeriana Cali University in Colombia and teaches entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial Mindset and Leadership, and teamwork. She led a joint Javeriana/Fordham University fair trade project that focused on Colombian artisans making handcrafts for sale in the U.S.

Her research interests include entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial education, motivation, leadership, and skills development on graduate and undergraduate levels. She also attends MBA students in their case study development for their degree. Her textbook, La Mentalidad Emprendedora (2019), is used in 14‐16 undergraduate courses at Javeriana University.

Professor Gomez received her undergraduate degree in business administration from San Buenaventura University and her Master's degree in education/human development from the same university.

María Camila Pascuas

María Camila Pascuas Secondary TitleSpes Nova Project Assistant of Javeriana University - Fordham University

María Camila is a business administration bachelor from the Javeriana university, Cali. She is the fair-trade interinstitutional project assistant between Fordham University, New York, and Javeriana University, Cali.

She has been involved with the project of Spes Nova because of her career's internship in entrepreneurship with Campus Nova Javeriana Cali University. Currently, she is working side-by-side with indigenous communities from Nariño, Colombia developing an all-inclusive brand which, in addition to contributing economically to these communities, makes ancestral knowledge visible and values. Thanks to her initiative, her project was one of the great undertakings of the Javeriana Cali University.

She communicates directly with the communities to learn about the products that the artisans will offer to the international market, and she ensures that the relationships last over time. She is a social entrepreneur willing to work for vulnerable communities to improve the complicated situation they are going through.

ITESO - Universidad Jesuita de Guadalajara

Paula Totajada

Paula Tortajada Valdivia

Paula is an undergraduate in global business at Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores ITESO, she is interested in project management and logistics, much so that she has been working for more than a year on a major logistics company, specializing on air exportations. Her experience has shown her the skills to find different and creative solutions, adding a special overview to this major project.

Paulina Franco

Paulina Franco Moreno

Paulina Franco is studying International Business at ITESO, is going to be a senior this 2022. Paulina has interest in logistics and sales in her professional life. What she likes the most about Spes Nova is that is focused on social economy and human growth, begin part of this project that looks for the development of the artisans is very exciting for her and means a lot that she can contribute somehow to change the life of them.

Santiago Diaz

Santiago Díaz Del Castillo Valenzuela

Santiago Díaz Del Castillo Valenzuela is an undergraduate student in Finance Administration at ITESO. He is interested in business creation with social and environmental focus, always taking care of the people involved in the process and the development of the community. He has worked in the agriculture, construction, and real estate industry.  He is working in HP Inc. as a Financial Analyst for the real estate team. As someone interested in the community development, he wants to offer his knowledge to grow with the people he works with and their life, creating a chain in which many people will be impacted by.

Edgar Castro

Edgar Amado Castro Palacios

Edgar Amado Castro Palacios is studying International Business at ITESO.   Edgar is a student fully committed to his work, a dedicated person always looking beyond what is expected of him.  Willing to work in multidisciplinary work environments and based on objectives, Edgar is glad to work with Spes Nova to learn more about strategic planning, real business situations and hopes that his work will leave a mark on other people.

Javier Ortiz

Javier Ortiz Trejo

Javier Ortiz is a current student of Design at ITESO University, from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.  Javier is interested in graphic design, motion graphic design and photography, as his carrier path towards the professional field. He has worked as a designer with different local businesses, aiming to expand his workplace to the United States.

He also thinks that Spes Nova is a great project that has helped him to put in practice his knowledge and skills of design, such as packaging, photography, and motion graphics. Hoping to give SPES NOVA an image, that fits the proper representation of the artisans and SPES NOVA as a brand, through the design point of view.

Josue Quezada

Josue Quezada Ramos

Josue is a currently an International Commerce and Business student at ITESO. His participation in different social-economy projects has made him aware of the global population necessities where he wants to have a positive impact.  He is currently working at IBM in international asset management. Josue is a passionate on innovation, he believes that to achieve a more sustainable way of living, as well as translating ideas into real-life projects with a responsible, equitable, and viable planned design we need it.

Alejandro Orendain

Alejandro Orendain Sánchez

Alejandro Orendain Sánchez is an undergraduate student in Industrial Engineering at ITESO. He is interested in manufacturing production lines, sales, international business but mostly in solving problems, organizing work processes, reducing waste, increasing efficiency and improving the end result.  Alejandro has worked in the tequila industry, acquiring experience in agriculture, production, and sales. He is currently working as sales director in a company that distributes construction material. Working with Spes Nova has given him better understanding of the process required to achieve and export, while working and learning from his teammates.

Carlos Riggen

Carlos Riggen Ramirez

Mr. Riggen is an associate professor in the Business School at ITESO, teaching International Business Consulting and as part of the PAP program, working with local companies and entrepreneurs for the development of their capacities for exporting.  His professional career in the private industry began in 1990 in companies of various types, always as head of the International Trade area. He is currently the Managing Partner of a consulting firm specializing in international business.  He holds an undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering and a master’s degree in Global Marketing, both at ITESO.

Valeria Lucero

Carmen Valeria Lucero Higuera

Carmen Valeria Lucero Higuera is an undergraduate student in Marketing from ITESO. Her interests are in sustainable business, marketing research and in creative industry. She has experience in promotion in social media, sales, and market research. Being part of the Spes Nova project is a great opportunity to learn about sustainable products, marketing research and working with people and institutions of other countries that will help her grow professionally.