In development co-operation there is a trend that the private sector is seen as an integral part of the solution to reduce poverty. As a result pro-poor businesses emerge, involving actors such as private businesses, the public sector, farmer ...
organisations and NGOs. There are some challenges in bringing these different actors together in a social enterprise. Generally, there is a need for a facilitator to align interests, bridge cultural differences, fill in gaps in skills, and deal with power differences, wrong expectations and prejudice. The Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) has experience in playing this role. But over time our role has changed. From being an advisor with little mandate to act and no ownership, to being a full business partner, backed by investment. Through this new role we have achieved more direct influence on the conditions under which smallholders are active participants in business. But other roles are also important. The five cases in this bulletin (ginger in Sierra Leone, tuna in Ghana, organic cocoa on the Dominican Republic, biodiesel in Mali and a trade house in Mali) illustrate that each type of facilitating role has its advantages and disadvantages, and that there are many factors a good facilitator needs to take into account when bringing together the public and private sector and civil society to form a pro-poor business. We hope that other organisations recognise themselves in these roles and are inspired to make similar (or better) choices so that more people will benefit.
Number of pages: 72
Date of publication: 01/01/2011
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