Roberto Milk is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Novica.com, a mission-driven company that works with artisans around the world in association with National Geographic. Prior to Novica, Milk worked as an investment banker for Prudential Securities, where he helped raise over $1 billion in capital markets transactions, M&A transactions and venture capital financing. Roberto is a member of the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO) and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). He has long written about creating an economic development model for artisans in Peru and other developing nations around the world. Reberto's Peruvian grandmother was one of Novica's first artisans. He received his BA in International Relations with Honours from Stanford University and is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
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- For-profit Social Enterprise
- Latin America; Indonesia; Arts and Culture; Brazil; Workforce and Employment; Peru; Future of Economic Progress; Mexico; United States; India
- Areas of Impact
- South Asia, North America, Africa, Latin America, USA, Thailand, Brazil, Ghana, Mexico, India, Peru, Indonesia, Guatemala
Novica works directly with artists and artisans to reduce the effect of the two most significant factors that prevent them from earning a living from their craft and keeping traditions alive: geographic distance and multiple layers of middlemen. Novica has opened up global markets to those long restricted by local distribution, and has helped artists set their own prices, often earning 10-50% more than the going local rate. In addition, consumers benefits by paying below-market prices.
Novica works with a growing pool of over 3,000 artisan groups representing over 15,000 artisans and their families worldwide. Novica taps into a growing market for handcrafted home decor, gifts and apparel that exceeds $10 billion in the USA alone. It takes advantage of two effects of globalization: one is a social phenomenon, wherein more consumers care about how their items are made, who made them and under what conditions; the second is technological, the increasing speed and potential of the Internet.
Novica’s website not only promotes handmade goods but also the people whose inspiration is embodied in their works of art. One of the major goals of Novica is to communicate the personal stories of the artisans on the website. This allows artists to see the actual price their work is being sold for and receive feedback from buyers. Novica is strengthened through key partnerships that include National Geographic, eBay, Amazon and National Public Radio. In 2009, Novica announced a partnership programme with the Grassroots Business Fund, which started with Guatemala in 2010.