Scaling Corporate Social Enterprise in Latin America

By Elizabeth Boggs Davidsen, Principal Specialist, Multilateral Investment Fund, Inter-American Development Bank

Scaling Corporate Social Enterprise in Latin America

Support for social entrepreneurship has grown rapidly in the last decade, and individuals seeking to launch new social enterprises now have a variety of options for networking, support for converting an idea into a tangible venture, and raising funds. But, despite these advances, social enterprises rarely have the opportunity to scale operations and, thus, impact. The avenues to connect with corporate value chains are few. And, social intrapreneurs face constraints to scaling both inside the company and in the external environment. Unlocking scale will require new collaboration between businesses, governments, academia, specialized consulting firms, and civil society organizations to establish a robust supporting ecosystem.

On November 20-21 in Santiago, Chile, key social enterprise ecosystem stakeholders will come together to discuss the barriers to scaling corporate social ventures and to develop common strategies to overcome them. The inaugural Scaling Corporate Social Enterprise Conference will be hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank Group (IDB Group), as part of its efforts to advance private sector development that benefits the poor and vulnerable in Latin America and the Caribbean. The event is being organized in partnership with Sistema B, AVINA Foundation, the Corporación de Fomento de la Producción – CORFO (the entrepreneurship and innovation promotion agency of the Chilean government), and Business Fights Poverty.

The event aims to build a framework for scaling that can catalyze broad support and collective action through: (i) defining the essential roles of key actors in empowering social intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs; and (ii) galvanizing multistakeholder partnerships to develop a robust ecosystem that facilitates scaling across sectors. The first day will be devoted to hearing from global and regional leaders on corporate social enterprise. Featured speakers include, Claudio Muñoz Zuñiga, the President of Telefónica Chile, who will share some of his experiences working internally and externally with a spectrum of stakeholders on projects that enable social enterprise and impact. Dr. Ron Adner – Professor of Strategy & Entrepreneurship, Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth University and author of the acclaimed book, “The Wide Lens: A New Strategy for Innovation,” will talk about the relationship between innovative ideas and the ecosystems that make it possible for them to have impact. Harvey Koh – Director, Monitor Inclusive Markets, will discuss what a robust supporting ecosystem for scaling social enterprises might look like. And, Sonal Shah, Executive Director, Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation, Georgetown University, will moderate a discussion about how public, private, and nonprofit stakeholders can form effective alliances that benefit all partners and achieve social impact.

The second day will be organized into breakout sessions where participants will work together to build a common agenda by identifying concrete actions (public policies, funding arrangements, training activities, accelerators, etc.) that the IDB Group, in collaboration with key partners, can take to support the scaling of corporate social enterprise and the strengthening of the social enterprise ecosystem in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Approximately 200 public and private leaders and experts from within and outside Latin America and the Caribbean will attend. While this is an invite-only event organized by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the IDB in close coordination with other parts of the IDB Group, panels taking place on November 20.

Stay tuned for follow up posts on the outcomes of the event and next steps.

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