From tourism to COVID-period deliveries – Barcelona ladies reinvent bicycle enterprise

BARCELONA (Reuters) – When the coronavirus slammed Spain in March, Ariadna Serra realised that 2020 and beyond appeared dreadful for the biking tours for overseas pupils company she co-started 10 decades ago.

So Serra, 41, and five of her female co-staff explored new chances in excess of virtual beverages. They made a decision to comply with their passion for biking to fund a shipping business working with bikes in Barcelona, aiming to advantage from the on the net shopping growth prompted by the pandemic.

Les Mercedes, as the enterprise is called, was founded in July by the 6 women of all ages and is run by 5 of them, aged 35 to 45 from Spain, France and Argentina. It is organised as a cooperative and describes itself as “ethical, sustainable and inclusive.”

“It’s not only a supply enterprise. We want to go a little bit further more,” stated Serra at the company’s headquarters in Barcelona’s outdated city.

It seeks to promote a more girls-oriented and local climate-friendly town, present superior work, stimulate dependable searching and assist the having difficulties tourism-dependent neighborhood economic climate, she said.

Over all, it intends to be an “alternative model” to shipping and delivery giants, this sort of as Amazon and Glovo, she stated. Both of those have dropped rulings in latest months in Spain around labour circumstances and the rights of so-termed gig economic system employees.

Amazon’s affect on local shops is at the forefront of a political debate in Barcelona and the municipality is mulling a tax on huge on the web browsing platforms. Barcelona’s mayor Ada Colau has named on citizens to boycott Amazon in the course of the Christmas year and store regionally.

“Shops and bars are the lifestyle of our neighbourhoods. What we want is to be part of forces with them so that they can keep on being there and adapt to the improvements,” Serra mentioned.

Les Mercedes has all-around 50 main clients, mainly groceries, wine and flower shops as well as neighbourhood buying associations which have introduced their have on-line marketplaces.

“We carry gender perspective to a sector that is extremely masculine,” said Marie Dufouleur, 42, a further enterprise founder.

Remembering the rough start from scratch when the females had to use their discounts, she reported: “I assume no-one considered we would do it so speedily and so effectively.” She reported the 12 months would conclusion with dollars in their bank accounts.

Serra said of 2020: “It has taken our career away but presented us one more. In spite of everything, we are quite happy.”

“In 2021, I imagine we will however be in this article, we will retain fighting.”

Reporting by Joan Faus Extra reporting by Luis Felipe Castilleja Modifying by Ingrid Melander and Janet Lawrence