December 2, 2021

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The story behind the venture that conquered five sharks from Shark Tank México

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“Mom, I’m no longer a baby, I want to work and earn money,” were the words of Ángel Gabriel Nava Mendoza to his mother one day when the young man was returning home.

Cortesía de Shark Tank México

“Ángel came from school and told us that he was no longer a baby, ‘Mom, I’m not a baby’, I want to work, earn money, and he also told us that he wanted to get married,” says Gabriela Mendoza in an interview with Entrepreneur in Spanish .

From that moment on, Gabriela Mendoza and her husband Francisco Nava took on the task of looking for a job for their son, a young man with Down Syndrome , but the opportunities weren’t many and it was difficult for them to find a space.

“For about six months we were looking for a job for him. In some places they told us yes, but that we had to be with him throughout the three months of training, until we saw him learn. For this reason, we began to investigate the way in which he could make his own project because we saw that there were no possibilities, ”explains Gabriela.

In this way, four years ago the path of Pavo Down began , a cooperative in charge of the production of organic turkeys with the participatory inclusion of young people with Down Syndrome.

Image: Courtesy of Shark Tank México.

Ángel’s parents found a place that offered training and the opportunity to develop a business idea as well as the financing to start it. Upon completion of the training, Gabriela Mendoza, who used to be the administrator of a company, decided to quit her job and dedicate herself completely to helping her son with his project.

“We looked for where we could train ourselves, what we could do with it, where it could be integrated, and finally we found a place called FONDESO [Fund for Social Development of Mexico City], there we started going to the courses… Until We arrived at the “Emprende Workshop” and that training lasted six months, after taking it they were going to give us a resource with which we could start our own project. That’s where I decided to get off work. I told my husband: you know what, I’m going to leave work because I do want to support Ángel, I want to be with him and move forward, ”says Gabriela.

“What can we do, what does our son like?”

Gabriela and Francisco report that their son was a young animal lover, he was fascinated by dogs and when they went to his grandfather’s birthplace in Puebla, “Ángel used to ‘run around’ the turkeys [turkeys], instead of they will ‘chase’ him ”.

“He really liked being with the birds, the chickens, collecting the egg, doing all this part. And we evaluated what was the best, we were afraid that it was a boarding house for dogs because one could arrive with rabies or sickness or with something that could infect or hurt them, ”says Gabriela.

“Walk hand in hand with our captain”

Francisco Nava, Ángel’s father, also joined this adventure to “walk hand in hand with his captain”, the man who until that moment was dedicated to the federal public administration decided to leave his job of 25 years to help in the project of his son.

“I had 25 years working in the institution, and it is a watershed, there you put on a balance what you want: to continue at work or you are going to adventure with the family … I left work, I did all the courses … I didn’t know anything outside [of my work], but then when I went with Ángel, the windows and doors opened for me, I saw life in a different way with my wife and my son, ”says Francisco Nava.

Ángel Gabriel Nava Mendoza and Francisco Nava. Image: Pavo Down via Facebook.

This is how Ángel and two other young people with the same condition began the necessary training to launch their first production of turkey meat, which they also achieved thanks to two people who guided them on this path: “Mr. Julián and the engineer Verónica ”.

Pavo Down has been operating as a cooperative company for four years, and according to its founders, the brand has grown 90% annually and has achieved sales of one million 300 thousand Mexican pesos.

“We see the values [of teamwork] and the principles with which a cooperative works, that was what prompted us to establish ourselves in this way and above all to protect, in the future, young people, who were treated on an equal footing in what will become their area of permanent opportunity for their entire life… This form of constitution protects that part, in which they are part of, and that they have that true inclusion as we call it… A true place … We have scholarship holders and these young people are integrating, they do not have disabilities, but they are working together with the boys in that equal conditions and they also learn to develop work together with people with disabilities, ”explains Francisco.

Harvesting the road with sharks

Image: Courtesy of Shark Tank México.

Go to Shark Tank Mexico? Why not? As other entrepreneurs who have traveled this path say “you don’t already have it” and if they look for you with the opportunity to participate in a program like Shark Tank México that airs every Friday at 9:30 p.m. on Canal Sony , nothing you lose with trying, and that’s how the 12 guys who were so far part of the “Pavo Down” cooperative thought, who encouraged their founders to represent them in the show .

“We decided to accept the opportunity, the boys encouraged us a lot in this part, which was quite a big opportunity for them, and we said: if God wants more young people, more boys, more people can join,” says Gabriela.

This is how Gabriela went to the tank in the company of Alexis Estrada, a girl who is also part of the cooperative. The Pavo Down entrepreneurs asked for 342 thousand Mexican pesos for 10% of their company.

However, the five sharks, Alejandra Ríos , Marisa Lazo , Marcus Dantus , Arturo Elías Ayub , and Rodrigo Herrera, decided to get on this boat contributing 120 thousand pesos per head for 5% of the brand for each one, that is, 25 % of the cooperative. Gabriela and Alexis accepted the deal and took 600 thousand Mexican pesos for Pavo Down.

An investment that will reach the sky

Angel Gabriel Nava Mendoza. Image: Pavo Down via Facebook .

Unfortunately, the founder of Pavo Down, Ángel Gabriel Nava Mendoza, died at the age of 25 on July 31, 2021. However, his legacy will remain so that his other colleagues can develop in farm and agricultural activities.

“In truth we are moving forward with sadness and deep pain, it is inexplicable, however, the boys speak to us every day and tell us that now they are our children, that they are Pavo Down and that he is going for Ángel. We are not going to rest until we achieve what our captain told us because we told him that he was the captain of the team … Today I think that the path was perfectly traced for us and I am sure that Pavo Down is also already in heaven, I am sure that the investment of the Shark Tanks is also going to go there, ”says Francisco.

With the investment made in the program, the company will develop its own farm and will employ more children with disabilities every day. Currently, they have 32 young people on the waiting list, whom they will join their team after setting up their own production unit.

“I think [Ángel] leaves a good path of opportunity for his teammates and we will be there pushing until the end… They don’t have time, at any time, due to their cardiac complications, their heart, their conditions, it might be a short time That they can enjoy… If right now young people have difficulty finding a job, much more people with disabilities, they are at a great disadvantage, and I think that is why we should turn to see them, help them, and support them. Society needs to be humanized, and it needs to work together with all girls and boys, or people with disabilities ”, Gabriela adds.

In Search of Excellence

The founders of Pavo Down explain that it takes a lot of patience to include people with disabilities in business, however, they say it is “worth it”.

“I dare to say that in all the activities we do they surpass us, they always seek excellence and perfection. Yes, we go at their own pace, but afterwards we no longer reach them because if we have any commitment and for example: we must meet at six in the morning at the office, they arrive at five, they do not like to be late, they enjoy everything, everything that we cannot see, they do observe it ”, says Francisco.

In this context, to achieve true inclusion in your business, Gabriela and Francisco share three tips:

Look around you: see what people with different abilities have and can offer to your business.

“Turn to see the boys, they exist, they are part of our society.”

Work from love: include from this point of view, with passion towards it, if you do it, working with disabled people is never going to be a job.

“It’s like finding your passion, if you find that passion you will never work … Ángel was passionate about everything he did, he was very dedicated, always a perfectionist, always wanting to do everything perfectly well and in that part all Down boys are the same.”

Never give up and do everything with joy

“Regardless of everything that happens, do not give up, we have gone through thousands of things, ups and downs that came our way along the way, and today that Ángel is not here is like the worst thing that could have happened to us, he no longer has his presence. , his support, his love and with everything he did. But, he taught us to do everything with joy, we never see a photo where he is not smiling, so he was always very happy, very happy ”.

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