Brokering Inclusive Business Models
The objective of this publication is to provide the essential information and tools to build inclusive business models with companies and other partners.
A broker, as conceptualized in this primer, facilitates partnerships between civil society, the public and the private sectors. The activities of a broker may include convening potential partners, researching context and feasibility, building the capacity of participating organizations, acting as a promoter to ensure progress of the overall initiative and monitoring the implementation of new partnerships.
Inclusive business models include the poor into a company’s supply chains as
employees, producers and business owners or develop affordable goods and services needed by the poor. Here, human and business development go hand in hand. Sustainability, also with regard to natural resources, is inherent in the concept.
Inclusive business models take place at the intersection of business and development work. In many cases, private sector and development organizations collaborate as partners. Cross-sectoral collaborations have their own challenges: different organizational motivations, expectations and languages need to be bridged, different goals need to be united behind one project.
Brokers can play an essential role in developing inclusive business models: they understand the world of development as well as that of business and act as catalysts and connecting tissue between these worlds. They can support the business development at all stages, starting from market assessment and feasibility studies, via the development of a suitable business model, to implementation and evaluation.
Often, brokers are left to their own resources, their experience and intuition, when building inclusive business models. But building inclusive business models is a complex task: established business models rarely work in the slums and villages where the poor live and the triple bottom line needs to be considered at all times. Good examples, best practices and analytical tools can help brokers deal more effectively with these challenges. They also provide them with material to train staff within their own and the business organizations.