Beyond the Lab: Changing Lives through Hardware Technology Enterprises


How can social enterprises integrate hardware technology into their business models and thrive in the market despite significant obstacles?

Beyond the Lab presents five case studies of enterprises operating in Peru. It includes best practices and the conditions necessary to position these enterprises to achieve maximum growth and impact.

Invention-based enterprises face extreme uncertainty when launching an innovation into the market. These same innovations have the potential to solve critical social and environmental problems in low-income and marginalized communities in Latin America and the world.

NESsT in partnership with the Lemelson Foundation has been supporting a portfolio of hardware technology enterprises in Peru since 2007. These enterprises develop and distribute new technological products that generate sustainable income and employment, preserve the environment and significantly improve the quality of life of people who live in vulnerable communities. This alliance has supported inventors and entrepreneurs with innovative and sustainable models who have become social change agents.

What others are saying:

“The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) is pleased to endorse this seminal publication. The cases featured illustrate clearly how technology and innovation can be used to address social challenges. In our work on strengthening the ecosystem for social innovation in Latin America and the Caribbean we hope to be able to partner with NESsT and other social enterprise organizations to seed new technology driven firms and employment opportunities.” 

– Elizabeth Boggs Davidsen, Chief, Knowledge Economy, Multilateral Investment Fund, Inter-American Development Bank.

“The Ministry of Production, in its goal to foster productive development in the country, is deploying a mix of policies aimed at reducing market failures that prevent Peruvian businesses and entrepreneurs from innovating and from incorporating knowledge into their production processes. It is through these efforts that NESsT has become an important ally of the public sector, promoting social innovations through creative, feasible and scalable solutions that seek to improve the living conditions of people and increase regional productivity. Given that many of the cases presented in this book have been funded by the program Innóvate Perú of the Ministry of Production, we also feel a part of this work and are pleased to support this valuable publication.”

– Sergio Rodríguez Soria, Director of Innovation, Ministry of Production

“This month we completed the transfer of the intellectual property rights of the filtration system for contaminated water in rural areas to the enterprise YAQUA. This historic moment represents the first time that such a transfer of technology to a social enterprise has ever taken place in Peru. In this sense, I would like to infinitely thank NESsT for investing time and resources in this type of initiative. And to congratulate you for this publication that highlights the importance of taking effective, low-cost technologies to the market, and demonstrates models of cooperation between inventors and enterprises in creating innovative and sustainable solutions on behalf of invisible communities.”

– Manuel Chavez, Inventor

(72 pages; 176 mm x 250 mm)
ISBN: 978-1-930363-43-4


Available online in eBook format in the following languages:


For more information, contact us at: nesst[at]