Q: How Do You See Business as the Solution to Poverty Alleviation and Sustainability?

A:  Collecting revenues improves the ability to serve more people in better ways, and well into the future.

This guest post by the three co-founders of the Global Social & Sustainable Enterprise MBA team Siembra Orgánica reflects on the above question.

Since the beginning of our GSSE MBA program we have pondered the Hedgehog Concept which asks three questions:

  1. What are you deeply passionate about?
  2. What can you be best in the world at?
  3. What drives your economic engine?
Siembra Organica Co-Founders Presenting their Business Model

Siembra Orgánica co-founders presenting their business model

Throughout Siembra Orgánica’s development, we have considered all these questions as we aim to create a Bolivian-run organic fertilizer company to help quinoa farmers reclaim higher yields. The third question – what drives the economic engine – has been especially relevant to us.  While we have seen some organizations address poverty alleviation with effective economic tools and business strategies, many struggle just to stay afloat. During our time in Bolivia, we were incredibly fortunate to meet with several NGOs, international development contractors, farmers, organic certifiers, associations, banks and companies all working in the organic farming industry. What became increasingly clear to us was that the “economic engine” was the key component to success or failure. Rather than a charitable or grant-driven approach, our time in-country reinforced that we would need to rely on business revenues to ultimately create a long-term and sustainable solution.

Learning Best Practices in Organic Agriculture from Proinpa

Learning best practices in organic agriculture from Proinpa

From the start of our time in La Paz, Bolivia we met with people who told us about the organization Proinpa, and insisted that we should meet with them. Generously, a contact of ours set up a meeting for us to visit Proinpa’s facility in the central Bolivian city of Cochabamba. Proinpa focuses on the conservation of natural resources, food security and competitiveness of the agricultural sector, with an emphasis on reducing poverty in rural and urban areas. They do biological research on various plant sciences, technology, and organic fertilizers to improve yields and fund their new technologies and products through sales of organic fertilizers. After meeting with a few directors at Proinpa, we were impressed with the people, their detailed agricultural research, the labs and especially the development and sales of their organic fertilizers. This was the answer to our economic engine! In Proinpa we’ve found a partner who embraces a business approach that matches our goals for Siembra Orgánica.  By collecting revenues, Proinpa can better benefit the farmers they work with and the land they are improving. They are truly a Triple Bottom Line (people, planet and profit) organization.   Following in Proinpa’s footsteps, we will continue to refine our hedgehog concept and develop a sustainable business solution that will enable Bolivian farmers to reach their potential and significantly improve their daily lives.

This entry was posted in Global Orientation, Highly Applied Curriculum, Sustainable Enterprise. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Q: How Do You See Business as the Solution to Poverty Alleviation and Sustainability?

  1. Pingback: What Gets an Entrepreneurship Geek Going? | Make a Difference

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