Regional Workshop on South-South Cooperation: Development of Digital Services in Business Organizations to support SMEs

On February 14 and 15, 2023, the “Regional Workshop on South-South Cooperation: Development of Digital Services in Business Organizations to support SMEs” was held in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, organized by the Bureau for Employers’ Activities (ACT/EMP) of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and financed with the support of the ILO South-South Cooperation Program 2022-2023.

The event brought together representatives of different employers and business membership organizations (EBMOs) from Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Honduras, and Uruguay. The opening session was attended by Diego Coatz, Executive Director of the Argentine Industrial Union; Claudia Coenjaerts, Director of the ILO Regional Office for Latin America, and the Caribbean; Deborah France-Massin, Director of ACT/EMP and Andrés Yurén, ACT/EMP`s Regional Specialist for Latin America and the Caribbean. Anita Amorim, Head of the ILO’s Special and Emerging Partnerships Unit, who participated virtually, stressed the importance of South-South cooperation in the area of SMEs, considering that the countries of the participating organizations pursue common objectives in this area, and therefore mutual support is important in order to expand institutional capacities through the exchange of skills, resources, and know-how.

Deborah France-Massin highlighted that “the world in which companies operate is increasingly more complex and challenging and the organisations that represent them, EBMOs, must understand and navigate that complexity to be able to provide quality service to and advocacy on behalf of their enterprise members.  This means being able to challenge old ways of working, reimagining, and diversifying services to members, accelerating digitalisation and being at the forefront of building a vision for inclusive, productive economies and labour markets”.

Accordingly, one of the key points of the event was the exchange of experiences among the representatives of the different EBMOs and the implementation of activities related to the productive digitalization processes of their companies.

During the workshop, the Regional Report 2022 “Where are the business organizations in the journey towards digitization? A look at Latin America” was presented, which includes five national experiences as case studies, best practices, data on the current situation and recommendations for business organizations embarking on the road to digitization.

The “ACT/EMP Digital” platform was also presented, which makes available to business organizations reports, guides, manuals and technical notes prepared by the ILO specially for EBMOs; and the ILO’s “Women and Business Network“, a resource center that aims to support women entrepreneurs in Latin America.