Barcelona women switch from tourism to delivery business

Published on : Thursday, December 24, 2020

When the corona virus started impacting Spain in March, Ariadna Serra realized that 2020 and beyond looked alarming for the cycling tours for foreign students that she co-founded ten years ago.

Hence Serra and five of her female co-workers thought of new opportunities. They decided to follow their passion for cycling to fund a delivery company that makes use of bikes in Barcelona, considering benefitting from the online shopping boom brought about by the pandemic.

The company, Les Mercedes, was founded in July by six women and is run by five of them, aged 35 to 45 from Spain, France and Argentina. “It’s not only a delivery company. We want to go a bit further,” said Serra at the company’s headquarters in Barcelona’s old town.

It aims promoting a more women-oriented and climate-friendly city, offering good jobs, boosting responsible shopping and supporting the struggling tourism-dependent local economy.

Above all, the company aims to be an “alternative model” to delivery bigwigs like Amazon and Glovo.

“Shops and bars are the culture of our neighborhoods. What we want is to join forces with them so that they can remain there and adapt to the changes,” said Serra.

Les Mercedes has around 50 core customers, mainly groceries, wine and flower shops as well as neighborhood shopping associations which have started their own online marketplaces.

“We bring gender perspective to a sector that is very masculine,” said Marie Dufouleur, 42, another company founder.

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