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Cristóbal Colón

After finishing his military service, Cristóbal Colón joined the staff of a mental hospital, seeking a job where he could be useful to others. He worked for 10 years in several institutions initiating work therapy programmes. In 1981, he came to the conclusion that real jobs for mental patients can only be created in a real enterprise and decided to put into practice what had long been his dream. When Cristóbal spoke to the mayor and authorities in the region about starting La Fageda, they thought that he too, was crazy. As Colón points out: “Imagine someone wanting to set up a business, except it will be employing crazy people and is run by a psychiatrist whose name is Christopher Columbus!”.

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La Fageda
Model
For-profit Social Enterprise
Sectors
Mental Health; Workforce and Employment
Headquarters
Spain
Areas of Impact
Europe, Spain

La Fageda

Competing with some of the world’s largest food producers, La Fageda offers high-quality dairy products while ensuring social and labour integration for people with mental disabilities. The company was founded in 1982 with the intention of integrating people suffering from mental illness by providing them with real jobs in a real company. La Fageda has now become the third yogurt maker in Catalonia, thanks to the milk of 500 cows owned by the company. La Fageda also provides gardening services to cities and towns in the region as well as plant breeding for reforestation.