We share tools to incubate ventures and generate cooperative ecosystems

The thematic agenda of our 23rd Regional Conference culminated with a series of testimonies aimed at strengthening the capacities to create, accompany and consolidate new associative processes in the territories.

To close the academic proposal of the Conference that we held in Comayagua, Honduras, on November 29 and 30, we had the valuable participation of José Ariza, director of the Andalusian School of Social Economy, who encouraged us to continue weaving links to form, incubate and reactivate ventures. “We are obliged to create more cooperatives.”

This entity has been a reference for cooperative education in the south of Spain and internationally for more than two decades. It is, in fact, strongly involved in promoting the Center for Development and Training in Social Economy (Cedefoes) where the Conference was held, with the help of the Honduran cooperative Coacehl and with the support of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (Aecid).

“We feel very American and very Caribbean,” said Ariza. As a corollary of this fraternal relationship of the Andalusian School with entities in our region, the signing of an agreement with Cooperatives of the Americas was announced during the Conference, which will allow the results of this initiative to be multiplied at a continental level.

The panel opened by Ariza, titled Accelerate Economic Reactivation and Incubate the Future: Cooperative Entrepreneurship 2.0, It also offered views and experiences such as that of the Cooperative Investment and Development Fund (Fidecoop), of (Puerto Rico).

Its executive president, José Julián Ramírez, explained the formation of the Fund on behalf of the League of Cooperatives, the University of Puerto Rico, the Cooperative Development Commission and the support of the local government, which allows the provision of tools such as seed capital, loans and risk to generate a cooperative business development ecosystem.

In another experience of strategic linkage between cooperative organizations and the State, the Incubacoop program was presented, promoted in Uruguay by the Cudecoop confederation, the Inacoop National Institute and the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining.

Among other tasks, these entities carry out an analysis of opportunities for cooperative insertion in different sectors of the economy, for which they carry out awareness-raising and exchange actions between different associative groups.

Training, technical assistance, tutoring, support teams and coordination between actors are other proposals they have in the pre-incubation, incubation and graduation phases.

A cooperative incubator based on sustainability and innovation was the experience shared by Gricel di Bert, leader of Sustainable Strategic Management at La Segunda Cooperativa de Seguros.

It is an entity with 90 years of experience that, in addition to providing insurance services in rural and urban areas of Argentina, is dedicated to strengthening emerging cooperative projects.

Finally, the executive director of the Coopeuch Foundation, Natalia León Pardo, recounted how, from that arm of the emblematic university cooperative chilena are promoting the cooperative socio-business model with a focus on children and youth.

To achieve this, they carry out different initiatives aimed at promoting the creation of school cooperatives and generating associative groups in university settings.

The intervention of Ricardo Rodríguez Campollo, from VISA, the financial operator, followed. Campollo has presented the VISA tools in favor of financial inclusion and how he is working hand in hand with cooperatives and groups of agricultural producers in Guatemala.

This has represented an unusual moment of innovation and openness to possible market-oriented alliances and partnerships with which all our savings and credit and financial cooperatives that operate in the sector must necessarily relate for their operations.

As part of the Executive Committee of Cooperatives of the Americas, the panel was closed by Fernando Faith, who left an encouraging message for the future: “As cooperative members we have to believe it. The ACI is the most important cooperative organization on the planet. Comayagua was the capital of cooperativism in the Americas these two days. The most important thing we have is the people and our ability to intercooperate.”

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