El Champal: A space for innovative and humanitarian projects

From September 21 to 23, El Champal, a Profit and Economic Interest Company (BIC), will participate in Expo Alimentaria, a new business creation and knowledge exchange fair. Purpose: To present the most natural and sustainable scallops, with a new technology.

It is difficult to separate the company from its creator. Above all, Yves Lequay is a seasoned facilitator and coordinator. Initially an engineer in the food industry for a large company, it was a real-life path that led him to create El Champal in Peru seven and a half years ago. From the streets of Buenos Aires, he would open the doors of the Franco-Argentine Chamber of Commerce, then spend a few months in a rural community where he would undertake his first social projects. Yves’ career is first and foremost about confronting others.

I understand that these multinationals are responsible for the disaster we are in. (…) 20 years from today, a symbolic date, I have decided to resign.

Calm and passionate, the man rejects his actions as opportunistic with his commitment to environmental and social causes. From educational projects to ecotourism, agribusiness and innovative technology development, El Champal’s missions are as varied as they are numerous. Because what is most important to the former engineer is a “place of expression where one can find room to develop what one wants to do”.

Can you summarize the birth of El Champal?

“I met my partner Rafael and moved to Chosica near Lima to be with him. The opportunity to manage a hotel presented itself. From there I created the company with him as a partner. We had the idea of ​​building a business around a hotel-restaurant, which I learned in Argentina. I wanted to combine two very important elements from the beginning. On the one hand, the objective is to be able to work with the community. On the other hand, integrating volunteers and interns in charge of hotel-restaurant activities or social project development. »

Credit: L Champal

How does your business meet these social impact goals?

“The idea since its creation has been to develop commercial activities that are self-sustainable and that also finance projects with the community. Environmental aspects are always present in our activities, but the projects we develop are mainly designed to support rural communities in their development. »

Champal Slogan: Human, Indivisible, Sustainable and United Development. (…) The objective is to convey this vision to different domains.

What projects have you already completed?

“The first project we started was teaching French to primary school children. We taught them language in the form of games and dances. As a result, it has become possible to introduce new methods in education. (…) Later, we developed preventive activities specifically for oral health. We also set up research projects in archaeology, in coordination with the school. »

El Champal: A space for innovative and humanitarian projects
President of the National Association of Artisanal Dairy Producers, Yves Lequay will organize the first National Cheese Fair next year with the Minister of Agriculture. Credit: Carolyn Rohr

“Also, I am passionate about cheese. I want Peru to develop dairy products like France. It is estimated that there are about 10,000 artisan producers of dairy products in Peru, but they are not registered and are facing problems to bring them up to standard. A roundtable meeting with the Prime Minister to develop Peru’s dairy sector requires a lot of coordination and coordination. Due to my professional experience, we are going to work on support and knowledge exchange. The work is huge but exciting and fully aligned with the company’s objectives. »

You basically survive from tourism. What is the vision of El Champal in this area?

“Our vision is that when we host visitors to eat and sleep, we offer as many healthy products from local producers as possible. Eggs, honey, meat, cheese… 85% of everything we put on the plate comes from small local producers. We have also created projects to highlight Lima’s artists but also all activities related to visiting natural and cultural sites. Their specialty: the care and discovery of these places is directly related to the local population. »

Your last line of work within the company is related to internships and volunteer work. What changes are planned in this area of ​​activity?

“I have been rebuilding internships for a long time since the start of the pandemic. This is a very interesting project for trainees because it allows them to know Peru in a more integral way. I engaged them to bring their skills and learn to different communities, in very different productive contexts: on the coast, in the Amazon and in the south of the country.

In addition to the missions of consulting, tourism, innovative solutions and social projects, we want to create a fifth pillar fully dedicated to conducting volunteering and internships. With two jobs here and possibly two in France, it will be a non-profit activity with social and environmental goals »

Comes from Champal Champagne in Quechua. It is pasture but also grass growing in the middle of canals, lakes. It means green zone in Spanish. When I learned this, I immediately connected it to the development idea I had for the company.

You are going to present an innovative project at the ExpoAlimentaria show: biophotonics. What does it consist of?

“Three years ago, shortly before the pandemic, I met Ivaneth Silva, an expert in biophotonics. He presented the project to me and I, who have worked a lot in water management and quality, saw a lot of interest in it. The function of this plate is to capture photons from sunlight or artificial light. It converts photon vibrations into infrared vibrations. With it we can change the parameters of the water or liquids we want to treat, such as pH and conductivity. We can separate particles and heavy metals. At the microbial level, this system makes it possible to block the growth of pathogenic or harmful bacteria or viruses. And it’s as simple as that: put the plate in a channel or tank and it purifies the water, put it in a room where we process food and it maintains protection. It’s really impressive. »

El Champal: A space for innovative and humanitarian projects
Biophotonics comes in the form of 3D printed paper with nanotechnology particles: green, black and red dots. Credit: L Champal

With only two employees and little capital, how did you finance the project?

“With the pandemic, everything has been blocked. But in these two years we have consolidated the company. We applied for state funding programs for innovation. That’s when we were able to set up ISO certification with three standards. Finally, we won an innovation competition with a client that allowed him to validate biophotonic technology in a scallop factory in northern Peru. We are the first country in the world to commercially develop biophotonics. »

“A major difficulty beyond the pandemic is the general crisis that Peru is facing. Not to mention Peruvian culture that can be very closed to science with a lack of trust in innovation. This forces us to display again all the work we’ve done. »

In 18 years, there are more than 20,000 studies that have confirmed the effectiveness of this process.

What’s the point of introduction? Blockchain In this business model?

“It is a completely independent traceability system. Once the information is entered, no one can tamper with it. Which is especially not the case here in Peru. with the system BlockchainProducers pay very well for the raw materials they produce. In the production of scallops, an entire first step is done exclusively by women, From the shell washing process to opening and processing the meat. »

“Our project is to support women working at the initial level of the chain with a system Tokenization It is a work related cryptocurrency payment system. Generally, they are paid in cash at the end of the month, but often this money is used by the husband. The idea is that women can buy products in stores dedicated to food or health with this cryptocurrency. The main objective is related to the development of the family. »

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