Conceptualization of community-based entrepreneurship: A case study of Ecofiltro in Guatemala

Abstract

Workplace innovation and community-based entrepreneurship (CBE) constitute a powerful combination which, if leveraged, could potentially solve society’s most pressing problems. This case study illustrates how an entrepreneur, Philip Wilson combined these two elements to pursue the ambitious goal of taking clean water to one million families in Guatemalan rural areas by 2020, through his organization, Ecofiltro. The research was conducted between 2014 and 2015 in three rural Guatemalan communities. Historical data, observations and semi-structured interviews with Ecofiltro representatives, community leaders and customers were used as data collection methods for this exploratory study. The main objective was to gain a deeper understanding of what made the firm successful in achieving its ambitious goal, whereas other enterprises, mainstream non-government organizations (NGOs) and government institutions fail in solving social, health-related and economic problems. Findings reveal an ingenious workplace innovation led by a visionary leader and a way of organizing which extends Ecofiltro’s workforce by drawing from the local community; a simple yet powerful water filter which fits with the local culture.

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Figueredo, A. & Chowdhury, R., (2019) “Conceptualization of community-based entrepreneurship: A case study of Ecofiltro in Guatemala”, EWOP in Practice 11(1), 77–101. doi: https://doi.org/10.21825/ewopinpractice.87116

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Alvaro Figueredo (Universidad del Valle de Guatemala)
Rashedur Chowdhury (University of Southampton)

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