Chachaklum, a viable initiative? : a stakeholder management approach towards a community enterprise
Abstract: Due to poorly functioning local and regional markets, the smallholders in San Francisco, Petén, were dependent on intermediaries that took advantage of the smallholder’s distance to markets. In an attempt to secure income and strengthen their bargaining position, 189 smallholders joined forces through the creation of a social smallholder network, held together by a community based enterprise. This enterprise was initiated in 2011 with the help of government incentive programmes and NGOs that within a few years will leave the enterprise to auto regime. This study treats the sustainability of a community forest based enterprise, Chachaklum, in northern Guatemala. The study identifies factors that enable smallholders to organize themselves in order to obtain business practices that support an improved standard of living. The viability of the enterprise and its relation to external business partners are analyzed through a stakeholder approach. The findings of this study shows that the development of Chachaklum is highly dependent on a large number of stakeholders to which it has created very positive relations. One determining success factor was found to be that the business idea plays well with the municipal development plan. It was also found that the social idea of the enterprise appears to have a positive effect on stakeholder relations with NGOs and government representatives. The conclusions drawn in this study are that even though Chachaklum has not reached economic sustainability, the social vision of the enterprise and its currently strong stakeholder relations creates many possibilities. It was found that Chachaklum’s future viability cannot be predicted by solely consider its auto sustainability since the enterprise may not need to be auto sustainable within a forseable future. Its complex stakeholder relations also require an in depth analysis since Chachaklum does not function as an independent entperprise but is created by several stakeholders and for several goals. This study has also found that there is a general need for more studies of community based enterprises.Whether the model would be successful or not in other communities was found to depend on several determinative factors which are considered throughout the study.
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