O Trade’s story begins in 1994. Our founder, Monica Ospina, worked as a foreign exchange trader for Colombian banks and became intrigued with the impacts of foreign trade on community development. Particularly, how the private sector was able to have a greater impact on generating wealth, employment opportunities and conditions for poverty alleviation locally. These insights inspired Monica to learn the dynamics between trade and community development, ultimately prompting the ideation for our company.
Monica went on to study in Toronto and London, leveraging her experience as foreigner to understand the value of identity and culture in a new market, and its correlation to trade relations. A theme elaborated on during her graduate studies at the University of Westminster and the London School of Economics, where she focused on the private sector’s ability to contribute to a community’s socio-economic development whilst honoring its local culture, identity and traditions. Understanding that the private sector could either become a source of conflict or an enabler of sustainable economic livelihoods within its areas of influence.
Founded in 2007, O Trade was created to offer the private sector mutually beneficial solutions for industry and community development. Drawing on insights from over a decade of experience, Monica designed the Local Community Procurement Program (LCPP), a sustainable supply chain model, based on value chain integration, capacity building and market access. The LCPP enables companies to maximize project efficiency, while meeting social investment goals, because it builds local supply chain networks and therein strengthens industry, secures value and is socially inclusive.
In 2012, the World Bank awarded our approach to local procurement, operational and social development, recognizing the LCPP model as one of the Top 15 Innovations in its Procurement Innovation Challenge. Our mission and impact has only strengthened since. Trade enables individuals, communities and companies to thrive by offering mutually beneficial solutions that create sustainable livelihoods for all those our projects impact.