More and more multi-national corporations have recognized that working with local small and growing businesses commercially viable ventures with five to 250 employees, and with significant potential and ambition for growth can boost a corporation’s bottom line and improve the lives of people in less-developed economies. Supply chains, distribution, technology, and reaching new markets are all key areas where the corporation and small and growing businesses can benefit.
Small and growing businesses, and social enterprises, often offer products or services that address specific social problems like access to electricity, access to clean water and safe food, or basic health care. Small and growing businesses create jobs in places and for people that have few employment opportunities. These businesses add value to corporate partners, help expand their customer bases, and even advance the Sustainable Development Goals.
But finding the right partners can be difficult: a corporation may not know where to look, or may have trouble finding local partners that meet all of their standards and expectations. Each market presents its own unique challenges that require a deep understanding of local business ecosystems.
Organizations that help entrepreneurs start up or scale up serve as important brokers between large international corporations and small and growing businesses.
Corporations that explicitly seek to develop partnerships with small and growing businesses can improve both their financial performance and their social impact, which is increasingly important to employees, customers and shareholders. Because of the mismatch between the scale and complexity of large corporations and smaller local and social businesses, a specialized intermediary who understands the specific business challenges of local businesses can increase the chances of success. Intermediaries are also looking for ways to engage global corporations, recognizing that these cross-sector collaborations can help them achieve more impact.
Given the business opportunities and social challenges found in emerging markets, the need for these collaborations is becoming clearer to corporations, local businesses, and the intermediaries that can help them find each other and partner successfully.