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

By Team: Private Sector Engagement 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

Gerry Boyle is CARE International UK's Senior Policy Adviser on Private Sector Engagement. He has previously been Head of Business Relations at Oxfam GB, and before that was a management consultant for 30 years, including being a Consulting Partner at Deloitte and leader of their UK Consumer Business Consulting Team for several years.

He has worked extensively with global blue chip organisations on both mainstream commercial projects and on development issues, with a particular focus on financial inclusion and value chains.

He has an MA in Law from Oxford University and an MSc in Philosophy and Public Policy from LSE.

Follow Gerry on Twitter: