Mexico City, Mexico
To give continuity to the anti-corruption “De Empresas Para Empresas” (DEPE) training for female entrepreneurs, given in September in Mexico City, the Alliance for Integrity launched a new format for women in business on 23 October: the Integrity Coffee.
In this first session, 15 business women gathered at Casa Victoria 147 (an entrepreneurship academy for women) to talk about business integrity. The DEPE trainer Erika Díaz, Head of Law, Intellectual Property & Compliance at Covestro, and Ana Elena Cadena Ramos, Project Assistant for Mexico & Colombia at the Alliance for Integrity, led the discussion.
The attendees had the opportunity to exchange on corruption-related challenges they have encountered along their entrepreneurship journey. The participants named outrageous facilitation payments and finder’s fees, outdated regulations, lack of trust and doubts about women’s abilities and emotional suitability for business, as the main barriers that have undermined their entrepreneurial activities.
Having shared the obstacles, they also gathered ideas on how to overcome them and the lessons learnt from past experiences. With the guidance and advice of Erika Díaz – one very active trainer of the Alliance for Integrity’s network and member of the Advisory Group in Mexico – the female entrepreneurs identified a series of good practices for business integrity that come in handy in the fight against corruption.
Among these are clear guidelines on discounts, gifts and hospitalities; learning how to say “no”; implementing telephone helplines; seeking trainings on female leadership; and making sure that all the employees of the company know how to react whenever there is a risk of corruption.
As next steps, the attendees asked the Alliance for Integrity to create a working group for women to discuss business integrity issues on a regular basis. Moreover, the entrepreneurs were also reminded of the tools that the Alliance for Integrity offers to support SMEs to implement an integrity programme, such as the DEPE training, TheIntegrityApp, the initiative’s website and its online resources, as well as the No eXcuses! Guide.
With the Integrity Coffee, the Alliance for Integrity pays special attention on gender-related challenges in the field of business integrity and jointly develops solutions and tools to tackle corruption. The Integrity Coffee is planned to be replicated in other regions. As Mariana Díaz de Vivar from iik Technologies mentioned during the event, “it is always good to surround yourself with people who share the same values as you. That makes all of us stronger”.
Author: Ana Elena Cadena Ramos