The Austrian external trade policy statement (Außenwirtschaftsleitbild) of 2008 advocates as one of its goals a strategic partnership between external trade and development cooperation. It seeks to enhance partnerships between private business and development cooperation as a means of strengthening the private sector in the partner countries and help companies to build up new markets.
Greater emphasis on business in this context is essential for creating the kind of framework necessary for local private sectors to emerge and grow in developing countries, thus fostering economic and social development.
In order to make the public aware of the complementary nature of business and development, to enhance the strategic and economic focus of development cooperation, and to improve the framework conditions for entrepreneurial commitment, the Federal Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth (BMWFJ) supports the corporAID platform for business, development and global responsibility, which is implemented by a private, independent non-profit organisation known as ICEP (Institut zur Cooperation bei Entwicklungs-Projekten).
The corporAID platform aims to achieve a greater economic understanding of development cooperation. Its main task is to provide relevant information on business and development, to identify areas of economic and development potential and to raise Austrian public awareness in this field. Moreover, the corporAID platform will inform about international best practices of development cooperation strategies and programmes, thus helping Austrian business and industry to expand activities and assume a stronger role in emerging markets. In addition to decision- and policy-makers, the key target group are Austrian entrepreneurs.
The corporAID platform is currently preparing reports and analyses (policy papers) of how Austrian businesses participate in global development and support the discussion process taking place at the Austrian institutions concerned. Its corporAID magazine and corporAID web portal serve this purpose. In addition, various meetings on current topics are organised, involving Austrian and international experts and practitioners. Targeted public relations (contributions in publications) is intended to make the issue more visible.
As early as 1996 the ICEP began focusing on issues related to the global fight against poverty. Based on empowerment approaches, the ICEP assists people on-site in developing countries to enter business processes, while ICEP’s task in Austria primarily consists in showing companies ways and means of participating in the social and economic development processes of these countries. The corporAID initiative has been launched by the ICEP to mainstream the topic and to provide a platform for information, communication and implementation of global social responsibility of businesses. The corporAID magazine is the voice of the initiative and distributed together with the Austrian business magazine WirtschaftsBlatt.