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The Nucleus Approach


Nucleus and SME statistics

Statements of chambers and SMEs

Impact: What changed? Interview with Jordi Castan


Legal property of the Nucleus Approach



Types of Nuclei

Manual for the Nucleus

The start

9 criteria for the selection of a sector

How to kill a Nucleus

Chambers and Associations

Lobby and Public Private Dialogue

Benchmarking of chambers

Concerning this site about the "Nucleus Approach"

Milestones of  the development and dissemination of the Nucleus Approach

The objective of this site is to ease the exchange of know how and experiences about business chambers, associations, Nuclei and participating entrepreneurs crossing country and language boundaries.

Since the beginning of the development of the Nucleus Approach in 1991 in the south of Brazil, more than 1,000 chambers and associations in Latin America, Africa and Asia organized several thousand Nuclei with tens of thousands of entrepreneurs.

The Nuclei provoked numerous political and organisational changes in the chambers. In the best case, these "entrepreneurs clubs" changed into professional institutions for services and lobbying.

At the same time, emerged from the Nuclei countless stimuli for change in small, medium and large enterprises. Many of them succeeded in increasing their competitiveness and ability to survive. In some cases, "producers" of products and services developed into "entrepreneurs" in the sense of the word.

During these years, a broad expertise developed, many experiences, successes and failures have been made. There are every day new ones. They are at least partially documented through publications, presentations, databases, etc. Some is translated, some not.

This material - and additional from other sources about the organizational development of chambers and associations  - should be gradually made available here.

Everyone is invited to contribute with documents, ideas, questions and doubts.

The authors of this site:
Amina Yoosuf, NEF, Sri Lanka
Jairo Aldo da Silva, Brazil
Jordi Castan, Brazil
Rainer Mueller-Glodde, Senegal
Simone Lehmann, Germany

Common arguments in the context of the dissemination of the Nucleus Approach

"This may well work in your region. But here, everything is completely different!"
Typical objection during the first presentation of the Nucleus Approach .

"Nobody denies differences to the neighbouring town,  to another region, to another country, to another continent. But let us talk about what the entrepreneurs and chambers have in common. This is much more interesting!"

"Everyone has a right to his own mistakes and experiences!"
An old saying.

"Sure. But it is not necessary to repeat all mistakes and absurdities."

06.02.1991 Start of the partnership project between the three Chambers of Commerce and Entrepreneurs (ACE) of Joinville, Blumenau and Brusque in the northeast of Santa Catarina, Brazil, and the Chamber of Crafts and Small Industries (HWK) for Munich and Upper Bavaria.
The project is financed via GTZ by the German Federal Government (BMZ).

Beginning of a continuing sequence of partnership visits and internships of SMEs in Bavarian companies: learning by comparison.

03.1991 First meetings of groups of bakers and carpenters.

07.1991 Project planning: The ACEs decide to change their institutions, to open them for SMEs and to provide them with services.
On a proposal by Egon Stein, Blumenau, the sector and SME working groups are called "Nucleus".

At the end of the year, four Nuclei with 30 entrepreneurs are functioning.

1993 In the context of the discussion of goals and objectives ACEs analyze their entire organizations: services, lobby, management.

Other ACEs of the region join the chamber partnership project.

GTZ publishes the case study "Organizational development in Brazilian business chambers".

1994 Start of the dissemination of the Nucleus Approach in Brazil and many other countries in Latin America through international workshops and consultancy missions.

SEQUA enters as financial promoter of the partnership project.

14 ACEs of the region with 64 Nuclei and 688 SMEs.

1996 17 ACEs with 123 Nuclei and 1.645 entrepreneurs found the Fundação Empreender (FE) / Foundation Entrepreneur as a kind of regional federation. Its task is the support of the member chambers and the further dissemination of the Nucleus Approach.

1997 FACISC, the federation of the chambers in Santa Catarina and SEBRAE SC start the "Programa Empreender SC" / Program Entrepreneur for the introduction of the Nucleus Approach in most ACEs of the state.

1999 CACB, the confederation of the Brazilian chambers, and SEBRAE Nacional start the "Programa Empreender Nacional". The application of the approach occurs gradually in all Brazilian states.

The project ProPymes - GTZ, Montevideo, Uruguay, starts to organize Nuclei.

2001 End of the promotion of the partnership project between the HWK Munich and the FE through the German government. The project is "ready". The institutions continue their partnership.

2002 - 2007 Introduction of the Nucleus Approach in the Central Region of Sri Lanka through ESSP - GTZ. Starting in 2005, the approach is also applied by PMSME - GTZ in the costal regions damaged by the tsunami in 2004.

In mid-2007, NEF (Nucleus Entrepreneur Foundation) is founded. Ex-ESSP staff members continue the initiated development processes on own force.

2004 Programa Empreender Nacional in Brazil: 820 chambers with 3.300 Nuclei and 45.000 enterprises. Afterwards starts a consolidation phase.

2006 AAPOP - GTZ, Algeria, starts the application of the Nucleus Approach in chambers of arts and crafts and in chambers of commerce and industry, which are mostly dominated by the government.

German consulting enterprises integrate the Nucleus Approach in offers to GTZ (Mozambique, Ghana, Senegal, India). None of them wins the contract..

HWK Munich, SEQUA, GTZ and FE sign the "Statement Regarding the Nucleus Approach and its Dissemination": Nobody defines any legal property rights on the Nucleus Approach and every other institution or person is authorized to apply the approach.

2007 José Maria Melim publishes his thesis about the formation of "Social Capital" among the Nucleus enterprises.

At the 5th Congress of the World Chambers Federation in Istanbul CACB wins in the category of "International Cooperation between chambers' with the" Programa Capacitar Nordeste "- training program in the northeast - in front of competitors from Germany, Spain and England.
The project bases on the Nucleus Approach and was supported by the BMZ via SEQUA and the regional federation KHW Essen, Germany.

"What you are doing there with the Nuclei in the chambers in the northeast of Santa Catarina, in fact, this is very simple - but very difficult to understand."

Vinícius Lummertz