Avina
Mercados Inclusivos

Context
In terms of income, Latin America is the region with the greatest economic inequality globally, with 46% of its 586 million inhabitants living in poverty (CEPAL, 2007). At the same time, it is estimated that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) generate between 25% and 40% of jobs in the region and produce between 15% and 25% of goods and services (CEPAL, 2007). In the Latin American market, grassroots communities, social enterprises, micro-entrepreneurs, and SMEs create business opportunities that, in addition to playing an economic role, have a clear impact on social inclusion. Successful and scalable models in this sector could multiply income generation and increase equity and long-term sustainability, benefiting tens of millions of Latin Americans.

 

Opportunities identified by AVINA and its allies
Improve the quality of life of low-income Latin Americans, demonstrating that it is possible to accelerate the creation of wealth and increase equity and sustainability, through innovation in inclusive markets and businesses.

 

Shared strategy for action
AVINA's Inclusive Markets Strategy for Latin America operates on three strategic fronts:

Inclusive Businesses (IB): seeks to demonstrate that large-scale IBs can prosper by building an IB portfolio and offering a package of services adapted to meet the needs of these businesses.

Inclusive Markets: encourages a regional network of players that can coordinate their actions in support of IBs, especially by influencing key sectors that shape processes, value chains and incentives for business.

New Perspective: pushes large-scale conceptual realignment across sectors in order to shift the way we think about the relations among companies, markets and society, through sharing innovative cases and lessons learned, promoting business school expertise, and strengthening collaborative and promotional networks.

 

International alliances
AVINA works with hundreds of social and business entrepreneurs, academics, grassroots organizations, companies, governments, international organizations, investment funds, international donors and technical cooperation bodies. At the regional level, AVINA has key collaborative alliances with FUNDES, the World Resources Institute (WRI), Ashoka, and the Social Enterprise Knowledge Network (SEKN).

 

Entrepreneur of the Rede Asta, a successful network that sells sustainable products from Brazil, benefiting low-income sectors of the community. AVINA provided the seed funding to get this initiative off the ground.

The Asociación de Mujeres Empresarias de Poás (Association of Entrepreneur Women of Poás) was established in 1999 in Costa Rica, by a group of 24 women who prepare medicinal products from natural ingredients, These women created a micro enterprise that "has strengthened us as women and has driven us to learn. The project has turned us into more useful women, and led us to explore an unknown world that has greatly inspired and satisfied us."

 

Inclusive Business in Latin American Business Schools
The Social Enterprise Knowledge Network (SEKN) is a network of top Latin American business schools that collaborate on developing practical knowledge regarding cross-sector alliances, social entrepreneurship and inclusive business. AVINA’s support to SEKN has helped disseminate and institutionalize these topics in the business schools of the region. At the close of its third research cycle in 2009, SEKN was able to incorporate its findings on IB into undergraduate, post-graduate and executive-education curricula as well as to spread knowledge worldwide through academic forums. SEKN has contributed to an evolution in the way that business administration is taught in Latin America, accruing concrete and quantifiable results in the process: 8,197 undergraduate, master's and doctoral students; 5,916 executive-education students; 250 courses on social entrepreneurship; 32 specific academic publications; 59 chapters in business-related books; 117 articles published in academic journals; and coaching provided to 320 social enterprises.

 

FUNDES improves the business environment in Latin America
The Procedure Simplification Program (SIMTRA) of FUNDES has carried out more than 80 projects to simplify government bureaucracy related to business in countries such as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and Guatemala. The goal is to improve the business climate by simplifying government procedures and eliminating unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles, leading to the creation of more new companies and accelerating job creation. The countries adopting SIMTRA measure success with the following indicators: 1) a reduction of 80% in the procedure completion time by cutting requirements in half; 2) a reduction in the number of steps in the business registry process by 60%; and 3) a reduction in the number of visits to institutions by 50%. AVINA has supported the international operations of FUNDES for more than a decade, and has sought to give visibility to SIMTRA throughout Latin America.

 

Bolivian Council for Inclusive Business (COBONEI) leads development of inclusive business and markets in Bolivia
AVINA, FUNDES, CARE and SWISS CONTACT joined together to create COBONEI as a way to catalyze IB in Bolivia. The council is comprised of 19 institutions from the business sector, government and civil society, and its main objective is to carry out coordinated training and promotion activities; identify, strengthen and stimulate IBs; and disseminate IB concepts and practices throughout the country.

 

Inclusive business incubator in Chile created at the Universidad del Desarrollo
As a result of a strategic alliance between AVINA and the Universidad del Desarrollo de Chile (UDD), UDD's business incubator began in 2009 to prioritize IBs. Half of its resources will now go to the development of businesses inspired by an IB vision. The UDD will focus its best talent on preparing business models, preparing and reviewing business plans, group coaching, negotiation, and investor matching to raise financial capital.