Are inclusive businesses reaching scale? What scale is that, in terms of revenue and reach? How many fail? These questions are impossible to answer because there is simply not enough comparable evidence. But buried beneath the surface, there is a wealth of monitoring data within programmes that have been supporting inclusive business, whether with grants, investment, technical support or other backing. This Spotlight draws on evidence from three portfolios, that have in total supported 160 companies, to share information on what patterns emerge from a combined data set.
The three portfolios have all supported inclusive businesses, though at different stages and with some different priorities by instrument, company type, sector and geography. The data analysed here is from:
Innovations Against Poverty (IAP), a Sida programme that provided grants to innovative startups, from 2011 to 2013. Companies selected were all early stage, some pre-revenue, all pre-profit.
Business Innovation Facility (BIF) (pilot), a DFIDfunded programme providing technical support to inclusive businesses of any size, from 2010-2013. Size and stage were diverse, very few had reached
positive cash flow.
Business Call to Action (BCtA), a multi-donor initiative profiling companies that have made a public commitment to an inclusive business initiative. It is an ongoing programme operating since 2008. Initiatives are somewhat more established, with half currently having reached break even. In all cases, the businesses combine potential for commercial viability with a business model that engages people at the base of the pyramid (BoP).............
Source: Spotlight for Inclusive Business, the Practioner Hub, December 2014
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For more information visit http://businessinnovationfacility.org/ and www.inclusivebusinesshub.org