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Scaling Corporate Social Enterprise Conference Opens

Nov 20, 2014

Santiago, Chile, November 20, 2014.- In order to increase private sector impact and help to improve quality of life for vulnerable populations in Chile and throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, the first conference on Scaling Corporate Social Enterprise opened here today, organized by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and various partners.  

Key stakeholders from private companies, government agencies, academia, and civil society will participate in the event. Participants include Luis Felipe Céspedes, Chile’s Minister of the Economy; Maria Emilia Correa, co-founder of Sistema B; Claudio Muñoz Zúñiga, President of Telefonica Chile, and Hans Schulz, Vice President of the private sector of the IDB.

“In Latin America and the Caribbean, people at the base of the pyramid have a total purchasing power of over $500 billion,” said Nancy Lee, General Manager of the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the IDB Group. “These are real markets, and well-targeted social enterprises can improve the quality of life in poor and low-income communities by increasing access to goods and services and creating jobs. They can also deliver significant profits and growth to the companies with the most effective reach.”

Social enterprises are businesses that target poor and vulnerable populations as part of their business models without sacrificing profit. Vulnerable populations are defined as people who have risen out of poverty, yet make $4 - $10 a day per capita. In Latin America and the Caribbean, despite progress in fighting poverty, an estimated 40 percent of people still live in vulnerable conditions.

The creation of social enterprises has exploded in the last decade. An example is the growth in “B Corporations,” or businesses recognized for their rigorous standards for environmental and social impact, accountability, and transparency. Currently, there are over one thousand certified B Corporations worldwide, 136 of which are in Latin America (62 in Chile, 29 in Brazil, 28 in Argentina, 14 in Colombia, 1 in Ecuador, 1 in Peru, and 1 in Uruguay).

However, social enterprises rarely have a chance to scale up their operations and, therefore, their impact. The challenges they face include limited opportunities to connect with the value chains of large companies, and lack of support for "social intrapreneurs," or employees within companies who develop and promote solutions to social and environmental challenges.

The Scaling Corporate Social Enterprise Conference will therefore seek to define the next steps in building a strong ecosystem to support the growth of corporate social enterprise. 

The conference is sponsored by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) and the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC), members of the IDB Group; Avina Foundation, Sistema B, CORFO, and Business Fights Poverty. Its Advisory Council includes the BMW Foundation, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), Monitor Deloitte, the Georgetown University Beeck Center for Social Innovation, the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), B Lab, Sistema B, Avina Foundation, and Chile’s National Innovation Center for Competitiveness (CNIC).

For more information on the conference, visit:
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