According to the Oxford Dictionary, a network is, metaphorically, a group of people, bodies, or organizations that work together toward a common goal. And here at Raízes, we believe that it is precisely because of the power of seeking this common goal that collective solutions are more long-lasting and important than individual ones. Therefore, we work with the creation and governance of networks.
Managing challenges together allows one to access other angles and see richer and more creative alternatives. Working in groups or networks also has the benefits of distributing tasks for a lighter load construction and the possibility of achieving greater results. As the African proverb says ‘if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.’
Mutual support can help, for example, small entrepreneurs get through adversity. Working in a network creates advantages such as collective purchases, joint customer acquisition, and integrated communication, among other things. This is the case of Coletivo Casa do Frufru, from Periquito, in the countryside of Minas Gerais, Brazil, which we helped to form. They are women upholsterers who are Individual Micro-Entrepreneurs (MEI), but who have decided to unite their efforts in order to generate more competitiveness and reach the market as a single brand.
Benefits of collaboration in tourism
Collaborating is a matter of survival these days, as it helps to empower the small players; and there are many possible ways of doing it. It can be an associative format, a cooperative, a collective, or an informal network. It can also be a trade network (in the case of tourism); an official governance instance, with state connectivity, among other possibilities.
With tourism in particular, this is important because cooperation will create competitiveness for the destination. We always tell entrepreneurs that they are never competitors, even if they have the same type of businesses. By cooperating, they strengthen their products in order to better compete with other destinations. This understanding makes the difference for a destination to become successful, competitive, able to attract more tourists, and increase the length of their stay.
At Raízes, we have already supported the creation and governance of networks, associations, cooperatives, and collective businesses dozens of times. We also help with bureaucratic issues, but our strength is in the co-creation of the pillars and agreements of the new organization with the people directly involved in and/or affected by it – with regard to governance. Each group has an identity and a purpose, and the ways to organize and manage them will be different depending on each individual circumstance and reality.