Collaborating to Compete: The Value of Trust and Inter-firm Cooperation
On September 4, 2008, Ruth Campbell and Rob Henning presented, "Collaborating to Compete: The Value of Trust and Inter-firm Cooperation" The seminar was the 34th installment of the Linking Small Firms to Competitiveness Strategies Breakfast Seminar Series sponsored by the USAID Microenterprise Development office.
The panelists discussed what relationships are in the value chain, why they are important, how they can be analyzed, and strategies to transform them. Inter-firm relationships foster both cooperation and competition which enable firms to respond to market demand and facilitate the transfer of information, skills, and services. Several examples were presented to demonstrate how relationships are assessed and how they can be transformed.
Ruth Campbell, Managing Director for the Enterprise Development and Competitiveness portfolio of ACDI/VOCA, is an enterprise development specialist with 12 years of experience in program design and management, gender issues, training, needs assessments and strategic planning. In her current position, she manages ACDI/VOCA's Enterprise Development and Competitiveness portfolio team. Prior to this, Ms. Campbell developed new business initiatives for the Africa and Middle East Division and ensured program quality and the integration of gender and HIV/AIDS issues into the portfolio. Ms. Campbell formerly served as ACDI/VOCA’s country representative in Mozambique, directing the Cooperative Development Program which provided technical assistance to over 4,000 members of agribusinesses, producer associations and local NGO facilitators and identified regional and international marketing opportunities for a range of agricultural products. Ms. Campbell designed systems and documentation for the development of crop marketing with the 100,000 member-strong National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi.
Rob Henning of the OTF Group is currently serving as an Advisor to the Afghanistan Competitiveness and Innovation Project. Prior to this, Mr. Henning was working on the two-year Rwandan National Innovation and Competitiveness project — he managed the financial services sector. The challenge had been to design and to implement a sustainable strategy for financing the investment needs of industry clusters within the Rwandan economy. Before joining the OTF Group, Mr. Henning was an economic analyst at the U.S. Department of Labor, where he focused on pricing issues in the domestic textile industry. He also worked for the Peace Corps in West Africa; he supervised micro-credit and small enterprise development in Benin and Guinea-Conakry. He earned a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) from The McDonough School of Business, at Georgetown University, as a John F. Connelly scholar. Mr. Henning also earned a B.A. from the University of Vermont with a double major in Economics and French.