Growing Together report: Guidance to businesses to support them in helping micro-enterprises in their value chains to thrive

by 29th Sep 2016
Growing Together report: Guidance to businesses to support them in helping micro-enterprises in their value chains to thrive

Growing Together, a new report launched on 29 September by CARE, SABMiller, the Harvard Kennedy Corporate Responsibility Initiative and Business Fights Poverty, sets out why businesses should take a much more proactive and collaborative approach to supporting the micro-enterprises in their value chains, and provides practical support to doing so.

CARE has engaged with this process because of the important development gains to be had from helping micro-enterprises, and supporting micro-enterprises is a key element of our work in value chains (for instance cocoa, coffee and dairy products).

The guide is intended for large companies, and their development partners, to enable them to help micro-enterprises in their value chains to thrive, with a view to unlocking greater commercial and social value for all. It...

  • shows how collaborative action to strengthen micro-enterprises in value chains can achieve improved business performance and positive social impact
  • shares practical examples of how companies are achieving this
  • provides key questions, tips and tools for business managers and programme managers to develop collaborative and effective approaches.

We hope therefore that it will influence company strategies, policies and initiatives related to micro-enterprises, and , more broadly, support advocacy efforts to encourage more collaborative approaches to micro-enterprise development.

CARE and the other sponsors of this report have worked collaboratively with one another and with many other partners on micro-enterprise development. We have also attempted to work at the level of market systems rather than simply value chains. We know that this approach is not easy. Collaboration introduces competing agendas; it extends dialogue and timeframes; and it requires new ways of thinking and operating. Working at a market system level adds yet further complexity.

However, working collaboratively can realise benefits far beyond what any single organisation can achieve alone. It opens up access to broader expertise and different perspectives; it brings together collective investment, people and other resources; and it creates a unified voice and a platform to influence together for change at scale.

We therefore hope this report provides companies with a valuable tool for shaping the role they can play in making real change happen for micro-enterprises, and for the people, communities, companies, economies and societies who depend on them.

(An online discussion launching the report took place on 29 September with a wide variety of participants from business and civil society – the discussion can be viewed here)

Gerry Boyle

I lead CARE International UK’s policy analysis and advocacy around value chains and dignified work. I originally joined CARE as the Senior Policy Adviser on Private Sector Engagement. With the advent of our new Global Programme Strategy which put a particular emphasis on women’s economic empowerment, my focus changed a little, although I still work extensively with issues in the private sector and with CARE’s corporate partners.

Until recently I spent a lot of my time on financial inclusion, now looked after by my colleague Fiona Jarden. I also co-chair the Bond Private Sector Working Group.  Immediately before I joined CARE I worked for Oxfam as Head of Business Relations for about three years, but the vast majority of my career was spent as a management consultant including being a consulting Partner at Deloitte, where for a time I led Deloitte UK’s Consumer Business consulting practice, serving many major multinationals. My original degree was in Law from Oxford University, and in 2008 when I left Deloitte I did an MSc in Philosophy and Public Policy at LSE.

One good thing I've read

Amartya Sen’s Development as Freedom. It provides a framework for many people’s modern understanding of what is development, based on a profoundly human-centred approach rather than anything instrumental. And to check whether one personally is doing enough to fight poverty, I recommend Peter Singer’s The life you can save: Acting now to end world poverty – it’s very clear and easy to read but very challenging! Finally, Ha-Joon Chang’s Bad Samaritans: Rich nations, poor policies, and the threat to the developing world is a very readable guide to economic development which argues strongly against many of the prevailing orthodoxies.

Email: boyle@careinternational.org

Twitter: @gerryboyle10