The launch event took place at the ILO offices in Lima, Peru in January 2017 convening professionals from more than 35 different organisations in Latin America to discuss the importance of the IM-Approach (Inclusive Market Systems Development) for Latin America.
Important Network for Latin America
For various reasons (including language barriers), Latin America experiences have not been fully integrated into the Inclusive Markets knowledge sharing community, which has been typically more focused on project design and implementation dynamics in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe. In particular, there is growing interest in Inclusive Markets approaches, which amplifies and deepens the traditional value-chain approaches by looking at the entire targeted market system from a facilitator’s point of view. Because of this more holistic approach, higher impact and longer-term sustainability of the intended system changes can be expected.
A Network for Knowledge
In launching the network, Swisscontact is seeking to support dissemination of innovative and best practices by building the platform on its internal knowledge management and information exchange systems. Initially, the new network will start a knowledge-generation and exchange process among its members with a long-term view to make resources available to the international development and cooperation community. The network will offer members training and mentoring in the IM-approach.
Basing the knowledge sharing model on its Rural Markets Project in Bolivia, financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Swisscontact emphasizes the importance of compiling and integrating the knowledge generated, along with the methodological steps of the approach, to Latin American contexts. In addition to relying on data and information provided by development IM implementers, it will be crucial also to add universities and more businesses to the network to bring in important experiences and different points of view. The new network will also seek to connect to other related groups in the region, such as the SEEP Network.
In expanding the awareness of Inclusive Market approaches in Latin America, Swisscontact has already presented its findings at the international conference on «A Practical View on Inclusive Businesses» in Madrid, Spain on February 22-23. Organised by the CODESPA Foundation, the conference attended more than 100 representatives from the private sector, government, NGOs, donors, consultants and students (mostly from Latin America and Spain) eager to learn more about how to tackle the challenges that come along with inclusive businesses in general, and their scaling-up.