What it takes to be an inclusive business

An interview with Christian Jahn, project lead of the Inclusive Business Action Network (iBAN)

leverist.de: What is Inclusive Business?

Christian Jahn: Inclusive Business has one core goal: to provide goods, services and livelihoods to people living on less than US $8 (purchasing power parity) per day. Currently, this group comprises 4.5 billion people and represents a global consumer market of $5 trillion USD. This demographic, which is referred to as “base of the pyramid” (BoP), has long been neglected as suppliers, distributors, retailers, or customers. Inclusive Businesses counteract this by purposefully integrating BoP communities into value chains on a commercially viable basis and in a manner that seeks to generate net positive social impact.

Watch the iBAN video: Welcome to iBAN (inclusivebusiness.net)

leverist.de: Why are inclusive businesses important?

Christian Jahn: Inclusive businesses provide poor people with improved income and livelihood opportunities or better access to relevant and affordable goods and services. Inclusive businesses are viable businesses and therefore have a long-term and sustainable impact. Thereby, they are the private sector contribution to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. By generating income opportunities and affordable, high-quality products to meet basic needs, they help to diminish poverty (SDG 1), create gender equality (SDG 5), enhance decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation (SDG 9), and reduce inequalities (SDG 10). Many inclusive businesses also contribute to climate action (SDG 13) by introducing sustainable production methods or promoting a circular economy. By partnering with a broad array of stakeholders from the public, private, and non-private sector, they also contribute to SDG 17, “Partnerships for the Goals.”

leverist.de: What does IBAN offer to companies?

Christian Jahn: The Inclusive Business Action Network (iBAN) is a global initiative supporting the scaling and replication of inclusive business models. Through its strategic approach iBAN supports companies with tailormade investment readiness programmes and develops national inclusive business policy strategies with policymakers.

On a global level, iBAN manages the largest online knowledge platform on Inclusive Business. Among others, the platform contains an investor and technical assistance database, the inclusive business online magazine CLUED-iN, and the multimedia series Inclusive Business Impact Stories.
Additionally, companies can find events, training and funding opportunities pre-selected for inclusive businesses.

leverist.de: Inclusive business opportunities on leverist.de

Christian Jahn: Many business opportunities identified by development workers already aim at creating employment, services and infrastructure for the BoP. This is why development cooperation is an ideal starting point for companies to engage in inclusive business opportunities. leverist.de as a digital facilitator connecting entrepreneurial innovators with business opportunities in the realm of development collaboration frequently publishes relevant opportunities for inclusive business companies:

  • In Rwanda, a team of local development initiatives, the Rwandan government and UNWomen is looking for a company to help scale an app for the financial inclusion of refugee women.
  • INATrace is a digital solution designed to establish transparent supply chains and improve the economic circumstances of smallholders. The developers are seeking company partners who will use the software and build a community that updates the open-source code.
  • The GIZ Accelerator programme for Climate Change Innovations was looking for early-stage companies in Benin, Cameroon, and Niger that deliver digital solutions to combat climate change.

These and more opportunities can be found at the opportunity overview at leverist.de selecting “inclusive business” as the industry. To learn more about Inclusive Business, browse Inclusivebusiness.net.

Headerphoto: © Susann Tischendorf, GIZ

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