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Estudios sociales. Revista de alimentación contemporánea y desarrollo regional

versión On-line ISSN 2395-9169


VAZQUEZ-MAGUIRRE, Mario. Sustainable development through social enterprises in Latin American indigenous communities. Estud. soc. Rev. aliment. contemp. desarro. reg. [online]. 2019, vol.29, n.53, e19617. ISSN 2395-9169.


This article explores and describes the role of social enterprises in fostering sustainable development in indigenous communities.


Through a qualitative method based on a case study research strategy, two indigenous social enterprises located in Peru and Mexico were analyzed. The main method of data collection was interviews, and secondarily observation and analysis of documents.


The local leadership in both organizations seeks to involve and empower the community through different strategies such as decent employment, the creation of new companies, environmental awareness, the building of infrastructure, and new markets for local products. In addition, the worldview of each indigenous group allowed the creation of organizations aligned to the values and culture of the community, enhancing synergies with the main stakeholders. The development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem also allowed the creation of new enterprises that have turned communities into poles of regional development. Finally, social innovation focused on reducing negative environmental impact has legitimized the operations of social enterprises, promoting diversification, and obtaining certifications related to sustainable development.


The worldview of each indigenous community limits the scope of the results in other cultural contexts. The exploratory phase of the phenomenon invites to be cautious in establishing causal relationships.


The lessons derived from these indigenous social enterprises contribute to question tradicional logics in the field of regional development and business administration. This work contributes to the literature by examining the role of social enterprises in the development of indigenous regions. This conversation presents scarce empirical evidence from Latin America, even more from a context with high levels of marginalization and exclusion.

Palabras llave : regional development; social entrepreneurship; social enterprises; indigenous communities; sustainable development; community-based enterprises; social innovation.

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