Juan Andrés Cano describes himself as a “professional entrepreneur,” one who began by selling candy at school. Today Cano isn’t selling a product, but is working directly with businesses and entrepreneurs to enable them to follow ethical principles and to create sustainable peacebuilding solutions.
A law degree from the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia, and a Diploma in Culture of Peace from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain, gave Cano the foundation he needed to start Semilla Consultores Ltda, an ethics consultancy based in Bogotá that works with clients to develop ethical and sustainability criteria for business management.
The search for sustainable economic models is “the ethics of our time,” Cano says, and Semilla — Spanish for seed — believes that businesses need to prepare “for a market that increasingly requires ethical, transparent, respectful of all people and the environment and, therefore, sustainable practices.”
In addition to Semilla, Cano is Chief Executive Officer of Value4Chain, an organization which helps companies identify areas of improvement in managing ethics, compliance, corporate governance, and generating social and environmental value. Value4Chain utilizes the Index SLA, the Index of Sustainability and Environment Legislation, a tool to record, evaluate, and compare the management of CSR (corporate social responsibility) and sustainability of enterprises and supply chains, based on compliance with international norms and standards.
PeaceStartup, a joint initiative of Value4Chain and Business & Human Rights (Spain), is a recent Cano venture. With PeaceStartup, he and his partners in Colombia and Spain can better work together creating sustainable peacebuilding solutions for businesses and entrepreneurs.
As Cano says, the path of entrepreneurship can be a solitary one and it “is easy to get lost in a jungle of unlimited opportunities. My main personal challenges: to find, understand and support a team and focus on a single problem, one solution. No need to take on the world in one bite.”