Team Peru 3 get down to work – Cámara de Comercio y Producción de La Libertad

The entrance to our office

Monday was the beginning of the real reason why we are here in Peru. We held an official kickoff here at the hotel, where we were formally introduced to our clients. #ibmcsc peru

The 15 strong team have been divided into 5 groups, tackling 5 very different areas.

  • Patronato Trujillo ¡Ahora!: Nadia Kallel (France/Tunisia), Rajesh Parthasarathy (India) and Weiwei Kou (China) will be developing a Marketing and Communications Plan
  • WindAid Institute: Ashish Devadiga (India), Hang Li (China) and Cecilia Mesterhazy (Hungary) will be developing a Business Model Strategy for the Green Energy NGO
  • Belén Hospital of Trujillo: Ellen Huson (Ireland), Hernando Borda (US/Colombia) and Lilla Tagai (Hungary) will be proposing very much needed Process Improvements for the External Consultation Department at the hospital
  • National University of Trujillo: Doug Lagore (Canada), Saurabh Gupta (India) and Cate Shaw (USA) will be developing a Strategy for Engaging with the Alumni Network
  • Cámara de Comercio y Producción de La Libertad: I am working with Harald Patzer (an Austrian from Spain) and Sophie (Ji Hae Ma – from the Republic of Korea). We are looking at developing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy for the Chamber of Commerce of La Libertad.
Cámara de Comercio y Producción de La Libertad (Chamber of Commerce of La Libertad)
Cámara de Comercio y Producción de La Libertad (Chamber of Commerce of La Libertad)

The Chamber of Commerce of La Libertad is a non-profit organization located in Trujillo, Department of La Libertad, representing the most important business association in northern Peru. The Chamber serves as a liaison between the business community, the government (national, regional and provincial levels), and other important civil society groups. As a whole, the Chamber represents industries and businesses, enabling economic development in La Libertad. This ranges from advising on environmental issues, to building networks and infrastructure. The Chamber also offers a range of business services to increase the efficiency and competitiveness of its members (Associates).

We have now been working with the Chamber for 4 days and I am quickly getting used to both the Spanish and the Peruvian ways of working.

Our office is in a beautiful old building with a warren of corridors and open rooms. Like many buildings here there is a central court area open to the elements, but as it rarely rains this would never cause an issue.

The entrance to our office
The entrance to our office
The inside courtyard of the office.
The inside courtyard of the office.
Laetitia, Sophie and Harald
Laetitia, Sophie and Harald

The days are long, from 8.30am to 8pm, which for IBM isn’t exactly unusual, but here in Trujillo we have the benefit of a 3 hour lunch break, which is required to provide the time to eat the very huge Peruvian lunches… I am also getting used to the huge Peruvian lunches and trying not to eat very much at night.

During our 3 month preparation, we had learnt a little about Peruvian culture and what to expect in business. We had been told that in Peru meetings will never start on time, that we should spend the first part of the day discussing health and family and being sociable. But with the Chamber we have found that business is on the whole very prompt, and although we try not to be too forceful and we don’t get straight to the point, we can get down to business fairly quickly.

When you greet and when you depart, the women give one kiss on the right cheek, the men shake hands. I like this tradition.

Our key contact with the Chamber is Señor Ricardo Hernán Varillas Santisteban. He is responsible for the management of the Chamber’s Associates and has helped us with arranging interviews with the head of each service provided by the Chamber. This has ranged from legal advice, training and event management, environmental development and compliance, credit checks, accounts, mediation, foreign trade, and technical services.

As my Spanish improves I find I can understand some of what is being said, and there is much use of the word ‘Claro’. We also have the very great fortune of having Joseph Rojas as a translator. He is excellent and provides a really good commentary to Sophie and myself, while Harald s able to continue in Spanish.

Discussing Mediation and Legal Advice
Discussing Mediation and Legal Advice
Discussing the Environmental Compliance service
Discussing the Environmental Compliance service
Discussing Foreign Exchange.
Discussing Foreign Exchange.

As we speak to each department we are finding some common themes which will help us build our final proposal.

As the Chamber would like to develop their service portfolio, we also asked if we could meet with some Associates, the members who receive the benefit of the services. Our first meeting today was with a restaurant manager, Alcides J. Goicochea Cruz, who is also the President of AHORA la Libertad a regional association of hotels and restaurants. He spoke with great passion about supporting the community and providing an environment where business can not only grow but develop.

We held the meeting in one of his restaurants, Los Herrajes, where we enjoyed a very refreshing fruit juice. All the fruit is grown on his own organic farms. After the meeting he invited us to visit his farm and one of his other organic restaurants. We of course jumped at the chance and will be arranging the visit for next week. I think we could introduce him to the Wind Aid team… it’s all about networks.

A very serious (!) meeting at the Los Herrajes
A very serious (!) meeting at the Los Herrajes

Tomorrow we continue gathering more information and to consolidate our findings which will enable us to refine our Statement of Work.
I had also noticed that the Chamber is hosting an International Women’s Day, so I got us all an invite (I’m not sure that Harald was so impressed 🙂 ).

Series - Corporate Service Corps

  1. Corporate Service Corps – In the beginning I had a plan…
  2. CSC – From Application to Acceptance
  3. Team Peru 3: Final Week of Preparation
  4. Team Peru 3 meet in Trujillo
  5. Team Peru 3 get down to work – Cámara de Comercio y Producción de La Libertad
  6. Pyramids in Peru
  7. Trujillo Montage
  8. Team Peru 3 visit an Organic Farm
  9. A ‘Smarter Cities’ Community Day in Trujillo
  10. A cheeky weekend to Cajamarca
  11. Our time in Trujillo comes to an end…

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