Gathered for five days (Feb. 17 to 21), members of the 15 businesses selected by the Partnership Platform for the Amazon Acceleration Program participated in a business modeling and building indicators workshop in order to support them in the construction and improvement of business models and result and impact indicators.
The program was aimed at evaluating the status of the business, creating an individual development plan and deepening a personal look at entrepreneurs, promoting an environment for exchanges and building networks as much as possible. Flow and business model, revenue generation, evaluation and monitoring and organizational culture were also addressed.
The meeting was facilitated by Sense-Lab and Move Social, partners of the Program and creators of Model C, and also by Maniê, a consultancy that supports the development of people and organizations that seek to generate a positive impact.
Model C helps impact businesses to draft, in a unique narrative, its two dimensions – impact and sustainability -, integrating efficient tools that have been used to model these businesses: Business Model Canvas, which focuses on business design, and the Theory of Change, which looks at the results chain.
The result of this first workshop was the implementation of a modeling based on the model C of each business, a matrix of indicators elaborated from this modeling and an action plan that will guide the entire journey of the Program.
One of the particularities of the PPA Acceleration Program is the customization based on the needs of the accelerated businesses themselves. Thus, in addition to the individual action plans built over these five days, the group suggested themes to be addressed in the next face-to-face meetings, which should take place in April and June. The program lasts six months, and also includes individual mentoring, legal, accounting and brand advice, scholarships for participation in events and courses.
“We are extremely excited about this new group. They are businesses and entrepreneurs who have the potential to transform the region’s economy, each in its own area, in its specialty. And the construction of the business models and the Theories of Change for each of them allowed us to assess in depth the impact that each one wants to generate and also build the indicators that will evaluate the growth of these businesses. It is an extremely promising group”, says Mariano Cenamo, director of new business at Idesam, an institution that implements the PPA Acceleration Program.
The Program coordinator, Ana Carolina Bastida, evaluates the first meeting of the entrepreneurs very positively, highlighting the fact that they have defined, through the strategic planning elaborated based on Model C, which challenges to focus on in the coming months. At the same time, the Program’s coordination also began to understand the weaknesses and challenges of each business and how to contribute to their progress. “Another point to note is that, with the Theory of Change and the matrix of indicators built over these days, we already know what the main items to be measured in the next stages of the program are, in terms of change, impact and results”, she adds.
Immersion provided connection between entrepreneurs
The first workshop in 2020 lasted five days, three of which entrepreneurs were immersed in a hotel in the jungle, with no internet connection. During this period, the group worked intensively on Model C, at the same time that it established more in-depth ties, finding similarities in the challenges of their business and possibilities for cooperation.
“It is a diverse group, but complementary. This provides a very rich exchange and strengthens the network. They leave this workshop very united in the sense of purpose, of the Amazon, of this greater cause. And we noticed a very significant alignment of intentions in the PPA Acceleration Program, in the care with the selection, with the group of facilitators, our feeling is that of workflow. We left excited about the great potential for impact of these initiatives”, evaluate Vitor Motomura and Julia Florez, from Maniê.
Yurik Ostroski, from Sense-Lab, highlights that the well-done selection process to reach the 15 accelerated businesses made all the difference in the composition of the group, and that during the application of Model C, when looking more closely at the structure of each one of them, a great consistency in the day to day of the initiatives became evident. “They need to be polished here and there in the business model, perhaps in the indicators, but in essence they already have a very strong cause for transformation. We tried to create an energy, during the facilitation, so that the contents didn’t get too boring, and we put in many days of connection moments between them. When working with systemic problems, we need to encourage this union, exchanges between those who have already tested things and can help. I saw this happening at various times. Although they are often working with different chains, they have a lot of common learning in the ways of doing things. For us, being in this network of partners that Idesam, the Acceleration Program and the PPA provide is formidable. We learned a lot.”
Antônio Ribeiro, from Move Social, recalls that the field of impact business is new, and that it is being built collectively: “The proposal for the PPA Acceleration Program appears very attentive to this collective construction of an impact investment and business field. We see this in our daily work with entrepreneurs. It is nice to see partners, entrepreneurs and everyone connected to the PPA trying to think together what this field is, as actors in the social and environmental field, resisting the various pressures that are happening. That is the strength of a program like this. Bring the different voices of the different actors of the ecosystem to work together. It is a collective and resistance perspective.”
The group participating in the PPA Acceleration Program in 2020 is comprised of businesses that bring solutions in sustainable agriculture and livestock, forest management and production, environmental products and services, education for environmental conservation, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, among others. Three extractive cooperatives are part of the group, which also provided for very constructive exchanges between them from day one.
“A training like this should be offered before becoming an entrepreneur, because we made a lot of mistakes. The desire to be an entrepreneur and the need are greater than the knowledge we have to do so. On the first day of the workshop, we really ‘hit’ the sore spot, looking at where our problems are, where we need to improve, for our organization. And being together with other cooperatives is helping us to think about problems we have in common”, evaluates Hélia Félix, from Cacauway, an enterprise of the Transamazon Agroindustrial Cooperative, located in Medicilândia, Pará, which manufactures chocolate from the cocoa extracted by the group.
Of the 15 participating businesses, six are located in the state of Amazonas, four in Pará, two in Mato Grosso, two in Rio de Janeiro and one in Santa Catarina. For the first time, during the business selection process, the Acceleration Program opened the possibility of enrollment for companies based in other regions of the country, as long as they were willing to open an address in the North within six months after the beginning of the Program.
“We know our project so well, we know how to talk about it, but when we have to put it on paper, we have a little difficulty. With this workshop, we managed to do so, and we saw how beautiful our project is, it really makes an impact. This gives us an expanded view of our business, and it is opening my mind to many things,” says Adriano Lima, from Prátika Engenharia, a business that takes solar energy to isolated indigenous and quilombola communities in the northern region of the state of Pará (Calha Norte).
Maria Eugênia Tezza, from Academia Amazônia Ensina – a project that promotes immersion trips to the Amazon to discuss sustainability, technology, conservation, economic development and other 21st century themes with young people, students and entrepreneurs – assesses that participation in the PPA Acceleration Program will help to define indicators that will provide a better understanding of the impact that the business generates on the lives of people, both those who live in the communities visited during the expeditions and that of the people who participate in the process, coming from other regions of the country. “I am discovering important things about me also during this process, as an entrepreneur, as a woman, as a young person who is inserted in this universe of impact entrepreneurship. Being in this group of businesses, which all look at the Amazon, makes all the difference.”
About the PPA Acceleration Program
The PPA Acceleration Program stands out for being 100% dedicated to the entrepreneur who works in the Amazon rainforest, to his/her demands and to regional realities. In addition to the business incubation and acceleration process, the program offers opportunities for investment, cooperation, networking and the creation of an interconnected sustainable business community.
It is led by a group of PPA companies, coordinated by Idesam and has strategic and financial support from USAID, CIAT, Instituto Humanize and Fundo Vale.
The PPA (Partnership Platform for the Amazon) is a collective action platform, led by the private sector, which seeks to build innovative, tangible and practical solutions for sustainable development, conservation of biodiversity, forests and natural resources in the Amazon. It operates through four thematic groups (WGs): (1) Entrepreneurship, impact investing and accelerating sustainable business; (2) Strategic investment opportunities, based on tax incentives and the bioeconomy; (3) Strengthening Amazonian value chains and local sourcing; (4) Strengthening relations between communities and companies based on integrated territorial management and the Social and Environmental Uses of Private Reserves. The Acceleration Program is part of WG1.