'Sustainable Enterprises Network'
Shell LiveWIRE Brazil’s sustainable network members achieve US $5m sales
A recent survey of the Shell Iniciativa Jovem business network, the Shell LiveWIRE programme in Brazil, shows that its 34 sustainable business members generated some US $5m in sales over the last 12 months.
The 'Sustainable Enterprises Network' (SEN) consists of young businesses which have been helped to start up through their participation in the Iniciativa Jovem programme. The young businesses are eligible for membership of the SEN once they have completed the programme's 'Business Factory' stage, where they have researched and produced a viable business plan. At this point, an audit takes place to assess the business on three criteria: Model Management; Environmental and Social Impact; and, Economic Impact. Businesses which successfully complete this assessment are then awarded the programme's prestigious 'Sustainable Enterprise Seal', to acknowledge that the enterprise has a sustainable business model, and receives membership of the SEN. Members are audited annually by way of staying active and participating in the SEN and Seal renewal.
The aim of the SEN is to: foster entrepreneurship; generate business by creating an opportunity for trade; and enhancing business knowledge in different markets, with different profiles. Leonardo Filardi, Iniciativa Jovem Programme Manager describes the network as, 'a living organism that feeds this exchange between participants'.
The SEN provides one network meeting each month and the topics for discussion are chosen by the members. Also, the SEN has established strong ties with other leading enterprise networks, such as 'Endeavor Entrepreneurs', 'Redetec' and 'Sebrae', that are traditional institutions in fostering local entrepreneurship, providing mentoring support and fundraising.
Membership of the network is coveted by its young entrepreneurs, as it really makes a positive difference to their businesses. Fabio Lewin of Coco Legal (www.cocolegal.com.br), who participated in the programme's 'class of 2005'. defines the importance of the network for his company: "Our factory had a production capacity of 10,000 litres per month and we used 20% of this total; today our production capacity is 50,000 litres. We are building a new facility with a production capacity of 300,000 liters per month. I discovered that I was an entrepreneur and that my company was sustainable as a result of my participation in the Iniciativa Jovem programme. This was the first time that someone really believed in me. I benefited greatly from the knowledge and networking, which has got me to where I am today. Certainly, without the support of Iniciativa Jovem, everything would have been much more difficult, and my business would perhaps never have got off the ground.” Coco Legal currently employs 54 people and plans to double that size in 2014.
Another example is Julia Vidal (www.juliavidal.com.br) who participated in the programme in 2010 to create a brand which celebrates and preserves Brazil's cultural heritage, through design, fashion and performing arts. Julia says that, "Thanks to Shell Iniciativa Jovem's training, I became a creative entrepreneur, aligned to the values and mission I set for my business and not just a designer with entrepreneurial initiatives."
The SEN has also delivered important financial backing for one of its members, Marcos Bortolato of Network Solutio (www.solutionaweb.com.br). Following a conversation between Marcos and someone who came to deliver a lecture at the SEN lecture, Marcos secured US $50,000 from a governmental investment fund for the development of new products and prototypes.
Leise Duarte from Shell says about the SEN, "For us, it is extremely important that the programme continues to support our young businesses even after the end of the training cycle. The network is in fact a living and sustainable mechanism that feeds the interests and strategies of the members, thereby contributing to their continued growth and success."
Matéria publicada no site Shell Live Wire, na segunda feira, 24/03.