Cooperative relationships are built upon  mutual interest, the aim being to support each other as well as create an interactive environment without restraints. A balance between a cooperative and a competitive interaction amongst businesses in the same sector is however a big dilemma and what needs to be ensured is that neither one of the two ways of conduct can harm the other or its strategies. It remains however the recipe for success and market sustainability when balanced and implemented in an ethical context.

Developing countries need more and more an enabling environment in order to create economic growth within the private sector. Since the confirmation of two of the biggest world events in Brazil, the FIFA World Cup 2014™ and the Olympic Games 2016™, the country has been targeted by large, international companies of all sectors in search of opportunities in this promising market.

Local business owners have since then experienced a whole new competitive environment and guided by SEBRAE[1], a private business funded by the local government and focused on the development of small businesses, have created cooperation committees based on a mutually beneficial exchange. These relationships are built on a distribution of activities and resources among actors embedded in the same business network.

According to SEBRAE there are 778 active business cooperation committees in Brazil (2011) and the results vary by segment.

Using the tourism industry as an example, small businesses get together and share valuable information regarding their purchases, suppliers and prices. Power of negotiation can be very limited when a small business stands by itself, but when 30 establishments get together to purchase linen, toilet paper or whatever they may need, they can achieve a much better result, increase profits and provide economic growth. This format is used to purchase an infinite number of products and services that are vital to their businesses and enhance competitiveness.

In some committees, even marketing strategies and efforts as well as environmental solutions are shared for the benefit of a destination, especially in the tourism segment. Business sustainability is about an integrated strategy that allows financial growth, community development and environmental  awareness.

“If we do not hang together, we will all hang separately”, Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), American statesman, scientist and philosopher.

[1] The Brazilian Service of Support for Micro and Small Enterprises.

By Paula Guino, Brazilian, MBA with emphasis on sustainable development, partner at CentroTour Travel and owner of 3G3 Consultancy Services.
Contact:; twitter: @GuinoPaula; Facebook: /3g3consultoria