Collaboration: A challenge of the organizations for inclusive business and sustainable development.

June 1, 2017

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Published in General News

By: Sandra Gutiérrez P.

Thinking of companies who include social and environmental development, along with a profitable finantial model, seems to be a titanic work. However, it is possible to achive. A starting point is through adequate collaborative mechanisms for development of models of sustainable and inclusive business.

This matter was presented by María Helena Jaén (professor of Universidad de los Andes School of Management and Director of the SCALA Observatory) in the Mastering Change, Reigniting Growth, during the seventh edition of the World Strategic Forum, organized by The International Economic Forum of the Americas, which was held in April 2017 in Miami, Florida. (For more information click here).

Besides professor Jaén, Michael Schlein president and CEO of Accion and president of the Economic Development Corporation of New York; Gonzalo Rivas president of the National Council of Innovation of Chile; and Bermuda's Premier, Michael Dunkley, also participated in the forum Cultivating an Ecosystem of Entrepreneurship, that was moderated by Federico S. Burone, Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the International Development Research Centre of Canada (IDRC).

In this scenario, Jaén explained her progress in a research she is working with her colleagues Ezequiel Reficco and Roberto Gutiérrez, from Uniandes School of Management and Nunzia Auletta, from IESA. The objective of their work is to understand which are the best praxis and the experiences of collaboration that are behind the development of the sustainable models and the inclusive businesses.

Professor Jaén highlighted that including this topics in the organization’s identity is fundamental: "Collaboration and inclusion are in the DNA of the organization. The point of view of the company, based on values that promote the inclusive and sustainable business, reinforce the business identity, which, in addition, is closely linked with the leader, his thoughts, values and assumptions with this topic."

That stamp given by the business DNA can be linked with a macroculture of shared values, because "there are rules and process that embrace this vision of the sustainable models, both in the identity of the business and in the macrosystem to which it belongs". Besides, Jaén indicated that the collaboration mechanisms "promote the innovation through the complementarity between different companies and business, for example, non-profit organizations".

In the research developed in SCALA Observatory and SEKN Network frame, researches have been studying different ways of doing these businesses: "from a focal organization, like Corona, which decides having a unity for the development of inclusive businesses, to a company that from his origins arises under the concept of sustainability and also pursues the generation of economic, social and environmental value". The Runa companies, located in Ecuador, USA and the Patagonia are clear examples of this stamp, and although the restaurant food chain Wok didn't began with this stamp, they still search the creation of economic, social and environmental value. (More information about SCALA Observatory http://bit.ly/2rTgPz1) (More information about SEKN http://www.sekn.org/en/).

Additionally models of sustainable businesses that include a variety of companies and link Non Gubermental Organizations (NGO), just like Nestle and the Adopem Bank from Dominican Republic, or Danone (in Brazil) with Visión Mundial, have been developed: "This is why the collaboration mechanisms are so important, because they incorporate vulnerable communities in the value chain, and this value is not just for the investors, but also, for the vulnerable groups, especially women".

At the end of the intervention, professor Jaén asked to her forum partners and the audience, what is missing to the companies for a real promotion of collaboration to accomplish better results. The answer was "time". The entrepreneurs and businessmen are very busy and they lack the time for building and maintaining the relationship networks that allow the collaboration".

Professor Jaén said that "to be able to generate an entrepreneurship ecosystem which incorporates the low income population, especially women, and a real improvement in a big segment of the Latin America population's lifestyles, it is required the development of mechanisms of collaboration in economic and social features. If there is no cooperation, this objective will be barely achieved ".

(Photo: Federico Burone, Michael Schlein, Gonzalo Rivas, María Helena Jaén and Michael Dunkley)

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