15 years of Esade Alumni Social
Esade Alumni Social also works to generate a productive economy in developing countries. This academic year, four new projects were launched in Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay, with the active participation of eight Esade alumni.
These international consultancies are known as the Together project, since they are managed in coordination with the Esade University Development Service (SUD) – further proof that together we can all participate in actively building a fairer society and a more sustainable world.
1. Peru: CCAIJO and Sumac Ausangate
Since 2012, CCAIJO has been supporting more than 500 families in the rural communities of Ocongate, in the region of Cuzco (Peru), in milk production and entrepreneurship in the development of dairy products. This collaboration is focused on:
- Strengthening cost-control systems for better and fairer pricing and transfers between the groups involved.
- Standardising production processes in family-owned plants and the cheese ripening chamber.
- Designing and developing a marketing strategy that involves all associates.
- Providing support for the planning of the development process for the milk production chain in the district of Ocongate.
- Enriching the business management skills of the CCAIJO technical teams involved in productive and entrepreneurial social initiatives.
2. Peru: CIPCA and APPROCAP Association (cocoa production)
APPROCAP was founded in 2003 in the department of Piura, in northern Peru, with the aim of strengthening cocoa production processes. Over the last five years, CIPCA has supported APPROCAP in improving its agricultural and ecological practices, enabling the association to increase dry cocoa bean output per hectare threefold. The aims of this consultancy are as follows:
- Introduce business management techniques in order to make the administration of the organisation more efficient and increase the sustainability of the initiative.
- Enhance the productive and commercial performance of the organisation by improving the quality of its product range and expanding its markets.
- Develop a technical and academic framework that provides conceptual support for the practical experience of the initiative.
3. Bolivia: Oxfam Intermón. “Businesses That Change Lives” programme, APROMAM peanut cooperatives.
SRL is a company based in Mizque, Cochabamba (Bolivia). It receives budget support from Oxfam Intermón and helps more than 200 small peanut-producing families to increase their sales and stabilise their income. The main problem has to do with cash flow, due to production times and dependence on coyotes (middlemen). Therefore, the consulting work is focused on:
- Providing support to define the annual cash flow for 2018, especially during the peanut-selling period, which runs from April to July.
- Diagnosing and proposing improvements for internal management, which is currently very traditional. The manager is a jack-of-all-trades. We need to help him organise processes and find people to delegate certain tasks to.
- Defining a new commercial policy that includes a mass-market sales channel in order to complement current customers by diversifying risk.
4. Paraguay: Oxfam Intermón. “Businesses That Change Lives” programme, soybean cooperatives.
The programme was launched in 2014 to promote the development of small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries. The focus of the programme is on rural enterprises that are in the early stages of development and have the potential to make a large impact in the fight against poverty among small rural farmers. The collaboration is focused on:
- Providing knowledge on strategies to build the client portfolio.
- Supporting organisational improvement for more efficient management control.
- Working to identify synergies and develop an action plan among the various soybean farmers’ associations in the area.
What does this international volunteering offer?
It offers alumni a chance to participate in consultancy projects in Latin American countries. The objective is always to help small local businesses, usually cooperatives, to turn a profit for the benefit of local residents and communities. The work formula involves interaction between senior alumni and current students. The alumni go first, carrying out a three-week consultancy visit on site. They return having identified actions that SUD students will subsequently implement over the course of their two-month internships.
During their stay, the students are tutored remotely by alumni via Skype on a regular basis. As an inclusive project, the model involves long-lasting collaborative relationships and involvement over time, with the aim of contributing to the sustainability of the enterprises. Volunteers are usually involved in monitoring the project for more than three years. This system allows the evolution of each project and the implementation of the recommendations for achieving the goals to be monitored. The participating alumni are professionals with a background in business ownership, startups, family businesses or entrepreneurial ventures.
They always have experience in developing countries and are people with a sense of social responsibility, sensitivity, empathy and commitment. These consultancy projects are particularly complicated when it comes to defining the assignments. That is why, in the volunteer selection process, priority is given to people who are professionally resolute, versatile, multidisciplinary, action-oriented, flexible and adaptable.
Recognition at the Annual Conference in Lima
On 21st April, a large gathering of alumni from the Peru Chapter was held in Lima. The alumni community in Latin America met on the occasion of the 1st Esade Alumni Forum in Latin America, the central theme of which was innovation as a strategy in a global environment. After several panel discussions and before the networking dinner, the event highlighted Esade’s Together project. Two alumni working in Peru – at CCAIJO, a cooperative of local dairy farmers – were presented an award for their social contribution.
Alumni Alessio Cusín and Teresa Portero receiving an award for their contributions to the CCAIJO cooperative in Peru.