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At the IDB, we believe that together we can go farther. Our partnership network is making positive differences in Latin America and the Caribbean every day, and this blog is our channel for telling that story. Stay tuned for literature on partnership perspectives, stories from the field, changing trends, outlooks for development and the region, information on ways and opportunities to partner, and more. Thanks for stopping by.

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Fermenting Entrepreneurship in Latin America

By - Dec 6 2014

SAB small blog
From Australia to Colombia, Zambia to El Salvador, SABMiller is a beer and soft drink company operating in more than 80 countries. The world’s second largest brewer employs 70,000 individuals worldwide, whose work uplifts communities everywhere they operate by investing in their value chains and consistently believing business can play a leading role in tackling society’s future challenges.

In Latin America, SABMiller does this through the region’s tenderos, the keepers of the millions of small shops or “tiendas” sprinkled across the Latin American and Caribbean region. Hear from Andres M. Peñate Giraldo, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at SABMiller Latin America, as he talks about 4e Camino al Progreso: work with mom & pop stores in the region; and partnership with the IDB Group around Prosper, SABMiller’s latest evolution of its approach to sustainable development and a key element of its business strategy. We applaud SABMiller for this new strategic approach, and we look forward to jointly implementing its first shared initiative to accelerate growth and social development through value chains and a focus on promoting entrepreneurship.


IDB: As a global company, where do you see the opportunities and constraints of Latin America versus other regions in the world?

SABMiller: The Latin-American region has being growing in the past decades lifting millions of families out of poverty and into the middle class. If the region maintains its commitment to market economics, continues improving the quality of its social investment and democratic institutions, it may double its income per person by 2025 creating more just and stable societies. This possibility albeit ambitious is within our reach only if governments and business work together.

In SABMiller we believe that we can and should play a key role in promoting economic development and social inclusion in today’s Latin America.  Beer making is after all a magnificent engine of formal economic activity, employment and tax generation and human capital development. As an example, in Colombia, according to FEDESARROLLO, an economic think tank, each direct job in Bavaria, our local subsidiary, sustains 37 jobs throughout the economy. This situation is explained by the strong upstream linkages to other economic sectors which characterize our industry. Indeed, Bavaria directly contributes with 0.45% of the GDP of the country, but its participation increases to 1.24% when its multiplying effect over other sectors is incorporated.

But in SABMiller we believe that we can do more.  We have learnt that the decision we took to work with small local suppliers to improve their productivity has not only been good for our business but also for society. In fact, 75% percent of our suppliers in Latam are today small-family owned formal businesses.  Our business today, via our supply chain, has become a generator of a strong eco-system for entrepreneurship and formal economic activity.

We have now taken the deliberate decision to use our supply and value chains to amplify our multiplicator effects on reducing poverty and improving the wellbeing of the communities we serve, while underpinning the bottom-line of our business.


IDB: How does SABMiller leverage national brands to promote the socioeconomic advancement of LAC, specifically through your “Ten Priorities, One Future” program?

SABMiller:  In SABMiller Sustainable Development is about understanding and managing the risks and opportunities that social, environmental and economic impacts present to our business now and in the future.  Accordingly, the health and prosperity of the communities in which we operate is linked to our ability to grow sustainable. But this is possible if we operate in a responsible and accountable way. Behaving responsibly towards all our stakeholders, understanding their local needs, is part of our beliefs and fundamental to building sustainable markets.


IDB: In working to incorporate Tenderos into your supply chain you can provide these entrepreneurs the tools they need to escape poverty. But what impact does this project have on communities in a larger sense?

SABMiller: In the LatAm region, there are about 780.000 Tiendas and they represent 40% of the total sales volume of SABMiller LatAm. These small businesses provide daily sustenance for as many families, that is, about 3,3 million people. Many of these Tiendas are owned and serve people in vulnerable economic and social situations.  In fact, 65% of the Tenderos operate their businesses in poverty areas and 49% of the total, are survival businesses.

With the help of the IDB-FOMIN we developed and launched “4e, Camino al Progreso”, a special program that will increase the productivity and formalization rate of informal and vulnerable retailers, Tenderos, as well as the well-being of their families and communities. “4e” offers business and life skills training to 40,000 retailers at risk of falling below the poverty line in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Honduras, Panama and El Salvador. These retailers, Tenderos, are essential to supply food, beverages and services to more than 2.000.000 homes in some of the poorest neighbors in Latin America, thus the program has the potential of reaching more than 10 million people in the region.

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2 Responses to “Fermenting Entrepreneurship in Latin America”

  • It’s great to hear that a corporation as large as SABMiller is partnering with millions of small business owners. It appears that sales of SABMiller products is helping many survival businesses. My question, is if these retailers are carrying diverse line of products that consumers can choose from. While it is important that SABMiller is giving tenderos the tools to succeed, I think it’s equally important for stores to carry healthy products and other alternatives.

  • […] hard to make this possible, supporting the role of women in the banking sector, uplifting them as entrepreneurs, integrating them into inclusive distribution networks, and fostering overall gender equality in […]

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