At SABMiller, our business success depends on local entrepreneurs and their business success, at every step of the value chain. We have to cultivate and support them in order to grow. We have programmes focused on smallholder agricultural producers, suppliers of goods and services, distributors and retailers and entrepreneurs within the communities where we operate. Across our different programmes in Latin America, we find we are working with two distinct types of entrepreneurs: opportunity entrepreneurs and survival entrepreneurs.
- Opportunity entrepreneurs are in business by choice. They have an appetite for innovation and ambitions for growth. We tend to find these companies on the supply side of our value chain.
- Survival entrepreneurs, on the other hand, are often in business by default. In Latin America, we find hundreds of thousands of these entrepreneurs within our customer base. They are the small scale shops and kiosks that buy our products and retail them to consumers. Perhaps they inherited a store, or decided to start selling goods because they couldn't find jobs, or needed to stay at home to care for their children.
What have our panellists and the broader Business Fights Poverty community learned about the needs and expectations of these two distinct types of entrepreneurs, and how to support them? Specifically,
1) What are the most important constraints facing opportunity entrepreneurs, and what are the most important constraints facing survival entrepreneurs? What methodologies have people used to "diagnose" and prioritise their needs?
2) What can a company like SABMiller do to meet the needs of opportunity entrepreneurs and of survival entrepreneurs? Are there things a company like ours can or should do?
3) And where do we need to bring other players into the ecosystem - like banks, government agencies, NGOs, other large companies - to support each type of entrepreneur? How can we incentivise these players to participate?
Please post your comments below!