Al Hammond

A New Model for Success at the BOP: Interview with David Wheeler, Part 4

Click to view Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of the interview.

What are the biggest challenges to creating Sustainable Local Enterprise Networks? How can these be overcome?

For all the great examples of SLENs that we described and that are featured on the NextBillion web site and elsewhere, there is no doubt that we are only scratching the surface of the true potential for what the UN has termed the ?Unleashing Entrepreneurship? agenda. The system conditions are simply not yet in place for this to take off yet. Trade rule disparities, political and institutional vested interests, the absence of property law and a whole range of cultural and economic disincentives to private enterprise get in the way.Then there are all of the ecological constraints that will need to be addressed if we want sustainable rather than unsustainable growth mediated by SMEs. Civil wars and climate instability do not help. We have argued for systemic challenges such as these to be addressed by all the ?powerful actors?–governments, the UN, trade bodies and so on. We have also argued for the roles of the powerful actors to be somewhat reframed in order to facilitate systemic change. If we wish to be optimistic we can work to build the conditions for a benevolent ?tipping point? as the world adapts to the systemic challenges and ushers in more sustainable forms of human economic activity. I’d rather not describe the alternative?