Startup Weekend Favela, which is the first in the world to happen inside a slum community, aims to bring together over 100 entrepreneurs to produce solutions to improve the quality of life of local residents.
According to soulbrasileiro.com, its first residents were ex-combatants in the Canudos War and settled there around 1897.
Some 10 thousand soldiers came to Rio after the government promised them they would receive houses in the then federal capital, but political and bureaucratic red tape led to delays in construction of the residences. So, the ex-combatants began to occupy the hillside temporarily, and ended up staying there.
The major urban reform conducted by engineer Pereira Passos accentuated the occupation of the hillside. With the destruction of slums and low-income dwellings, the needy population had no alternative but to build residences at the top of the hillsides. With rapid occupation came social problems. At the end of the 1910s, Morro da Providencia was known as the most violent place in Rio.
In April 2010, Morro da Providência received a Police Pacification Unit (UPP). Residents now await the long hoped for peace. As in other communities in Rio, the UPP of Morro da Providência is promising to eliminate drug trafficking and free the residents from the power of the criminal groups. Many promises have been made, since this community is part of the Port revitalization project and the “safety belt” that the government wants to create for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. Among the promises are the construction of two cable cars and an elevator to facilitate access to the top of the favela, which can only be reached by climbing 365 steps.
Startup Weekend Organizers took notice of the areas needs and are focusing the weekend around these themes:
- Trash Destination
- Income Generation
Fun fact: Brasilian actor, Luigi Baricelli, is doing all he can to help Startup Weekend achieve success this weekend in Morro da Providencia. He is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, runs a social project for favela’s in Brasil, and is very engaged with the community. He also has been a speaker in TEDx and other e-ship events.
Here is a short invitation-video Baricelli put together for Startup Weekend Favela.