Build leadership capability among the members of the young entrepreneur’s network and coach them on the best organizational strategy to enter the European market.
Since November 2017, the program has been working with a group of 30 young entrepreneurs to form a network for the exchange of knowledge, experiences, and contacts. The idea of forming this network came out from the observation of bad business practices by Dominican firms and the emergence of a new exporters generation. Among the negative aspects mentioned by international buyers are the lack of consistency, professionalism, rigor in communication, fluency.
On February 2018, the program helped the young entrepreneurs officially launch their initiative with an agreement reached on internal operating procedures, membership, and an agenda. The objective of the network is to create an environment that promotes collaboration and the exchange of knowledge and experiences among young exporters, and that lays the foundations for a business model based on good business practices and sustainability. Members agreed to carry out monthly meetings on a different topic using the Farmer Field School peer-to-peer learning methodology. In addition to this monthly forum, Exporting Quality also provides a series of trainings aimed at specific needs and areas of focus.
Entrepreneurship is a challenge and through this network Exporting Quality offers for the first time a unique space for young exporters to interact with each other’s. Knowing that they are not alone is a comforting feeling, and also surrounding themselves with like-minded smart people can be a differentiating factor for success. Through this network, Exporting Quality pretends to shorten learning curve and reduce costs associated to it. Also it wants to contribute to generational renewal and to building cohesion within the different actors which represents a basic step towards the promotion of a country brand.
However, currently the network members belong to individual companies, so that competition is still ruling the game. The network has had four sessions so far, two of them focused on establishing the network and defining the internal rules and procedures. Collaboration has been limited to information sharing but some members have shown interest in moving towards a deeper integration and collaborative effort as part of a marketing strategy. Others are also opposed because of the challenges and difficulties that any form of deeper integration would involve.
IESC’s Exporting Quality Program wants to coach them on how to consider different business models that will allow them to achieve economies of scale to reduce per unit costs, ensure quality, and enter into better contract arrangements. Above all, what business model should they consider to become more reliable business partners. Business politics is complex and full of financial and political risks and they need to consider options and tools available to move forward. Ultimately, they need to own their decisions and the program can be an honest broker of information and options to consider. They need to figure out as a group what the risks are and how they plan to set up structures to de-personalize those risks and how to maintain transparency and fairness for all participations. A shares-based cooperative structure is one of many options but the work and opportunity costs spent on establishing a cooperative cannot be allowed to distract from other things related to market and market development.
General Responsibilities – This consultancy is required to complement the expertise of the Leadership and Business Specialist, who will also function as the primary lead instructor and who has expertise in leadership development and coaching, export readiness and cooperative models in developing countries. This consultant (European Market Conventional Produce Specialist) will have expertise in market trends, market standard requirements, supermarket purchasing model across the European Union. He/she should have significant private sector experience in working with spot-markets, wholesalers and importers for conventional fresh produce. The two experts will function as a team and develop a plan for dividing up subject areas and training responsibilities.
Together with the Leadership and Business Specialist, the selected consultant will walk beneficiaries through an introspection process consisting of carrying out a reflective examination of their own mental processes, strengths, weaknesses and inherent leadership qualities. The consultant will contribute to building trust among members and make them aware of the agents of change they can become for the Dominican Republic’s export sector. In order for the young entrepreneurs to understand the importance of working together and create unity in the sector, the consultant will provide information on today’s European market dynamics, distribution channels, and will present organizational options to best penetrate the market and position DR as a strong and reliable supplier of tropical products.
Phase I -Preparation
- Understand Dominican position in the European market and barriers which have prevented the sector to position itself as a strong player.
- Get an understanding of the cultural aspects which frequently hinder the development of strong Dominican associations and cooperatives.
- Review cases of success of Dominican associations and cooperative
- Develop the agenda of the workshops with IESC field office
Phase II -Trainings
- Deliver a 1 to 2-day workshop for the young entrepreneurs including trust and leadership building exercises, market information (trends, competition, distribution channels, private standards), strategy to penetrate the market
- Deliver a workshop for other Exporting Quality beneficiaries on European market trends, distribution channels, private standards, marketing tips
Phase III –Deliverables
- Produce learning artifacts on EU distribution channels and private standards
- Educational background in business administration, international trade, agriculture
- Significant private sector experience in spot-markets, wholesalers and importers for conventional fresh produce sales.
- Knowledge of European market trends for conventional fresh produce, private standards requirements, purchasing model
- English proficiency required. Spanish fluency highly preferred.
IESC provides comprehensive support to experts before, during, and after the anticipated assignment in Dominican Republic. Support to include the following:
- All travel and logistics arrangements and costs to be provided (reimbursed) by IESC including airfare, visas, medical examination, medevac and emergency travel insurance, and transit expenses;
- Project management and oversight from the home office in Washington, DC;
- All accommodation, transport, meals, and incidental expenses throughout the duration of the assignment in Dominican Republic;
- Translation and communications support;
- Follow up and administrative support for the production and dissemination of the final report and deliverables for the project.
About the Organization
IESC – the International Executive Service Corps – is a U.S.-based nonprofit that seeks private enterprise solutions to problems of poverty in developing countries and around the world. By providing a mix of technical assistance and volunteer expert support, IESC works with emerging industries, financial institutions, and governments to stabilize economic environments, increase opportunity, and promote growth.
The Exporting Quality Program is being implemented in the Dominican Republic. It works with five value chains, pineapple, cocoa, avocados, greenhouse, and Asian vegetables, and takes a “field to fork” approach, providing technical assistance all along the value chain, including producers, packinghouses, and exporters.