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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.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Inter-American Development Bank, its Management, its Board of Executive Directors or its member Governments.

Can Big Business and Small Business Win Together?

By - Sep 15 2016


Is a win for big business a loss for small business? Or is it possible for both to win together? Thanks to a new initiative from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), I’m inclined to go with the latter. One of the things that I like most about working at the IDB is that I find it to be an innovative institution that is constantly looking for ways to improve lives of the people in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). In this effort, ConnectAmericas — an IDB-led non-profit initiative that works with Alibaba.com, DHL, Google, Maersk, and Visa to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) go global — has developed Made in the Americas, a program connecting LAC-based SMEs with buyers from around the world. By allowing users to publish purchasing announcements and participate in the design of tools, information, and support programs, Made in Americas aims to better integrate SMEs into more demanding supply chains, thereby helping big and small business win together.

Extensive evidence reveals that SMEs participating in more demanding supply chains strengthen their business processes and become more competitive as they learn to comply with the standards required by premium buyers. At the same time, increased access to competitive SMEs allows buyers to diversify their supplier base and expand the flexibility and control of their supply chains.  But perhaps the most relevant benefit from this program is that the whole region profits as more opportunities are created for SMEs, which are the most powerful engines for employment and growth from Mexico, to the Caribbean, to the Southern Cone.

Given Made in Americas’ role in facilitating SME-buyer connections and providing information about business opportunities, it’s clear that the program is a win-win for both SMEs and larger corporate buyers. But the perks go beyond this, with the program also offering SME suppliers information and support that can help them comply with the requirements imposed by these more intensive supply chains and encouraging collaboration between suppliers to meet large sourcing requests.

Earlier this summer Grupo Calvo, a global Spain-based company offering quality food and a wide variety of healthy products, became part of the program, joining corporates in making mutually beneficial connections with SMEs from across the region. Arcos Dorados, Grupo Britt (which has identified a Mexican provider of moles due to this service), DHL, and Globein (a San Francisco-based platform selling handcrafted products that has reached an agreement with a loofah sponge provider in Colombia) are among the companies who joined this initiative.

Victoria Sanchez Jimenez, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at Calvo, neatly summarizes the benefits of the program, remarking that “the Made in the Americas program is an excellent opportunity to expand and diversify our base of suppliers and partners in the Americas, while helping to create opportunities for companies that otherwise might struggle to engage in the procurement processes of international companies like ours.”

Because we believe that empowering our SMEs is a vehicle for empowering employees from across the region, we hope many more large companies join the program. Together we can help LAC SMEs go big and go global, while helping big companies to expand their supplier base and continue to grow. Join Made in Americas today!

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