BFP: What do you do?
AT: Business Call to Action (BCtA) is a global membership platform of companies, governments, and development organizations working to identify and promote business models that contribute to long-term commercial and development goals. BCtA members are market leaders and innovators, committed to developing commercially viable business ventures that engage people living at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) as consumers, producers, suppliers, and distributors of goods and services. Business Call to Action is supported by the UNDP, which hosts the BCtA Secretariat, DFID, USAID, AusAID, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, SIDA, the UN Global Compact, the Clinton Global Initiative, and the International Business Leaders Forum.
As Outreach Consultant, I’m responsible for helping to expand the reach and scale of BCtA by engaging existing and new companies in the platform. Collectively, companies that are involved in Inclusive Business possess a wealth of information on how to effectively do business in low income communities, and the purpose of BCtA is to showcase these examples and share knowledge on successful business practices.
BFP: What is the best part about your job?
AT: Every day, I get to talk to very innovative business leaders at companies all around the world who are working on extremely impactful initiatives. I love business models and innovation, so it’s great to learn in so much detail about how these companies are designing and implementing their businesses in BoP markets. It is exciting to help build a community of like-minded socially motivated people, who are at the same time extremely focused leaders who are aggressively seeking growth of their businesses. When a member company learns something valuable that helps them be more successful, it is very rewarding because of the potential impact on lives at the BoP.
BFP: What have been your greatest challenges?
AT: It is encouraging that there are a growing number of Inclusive Business initiatives out there, but the needs at the Base of the Pyramid are certainly immense. Markets at the BoP are underdeveloped, so it requires a large set of actors including companies, governments, development organizations and non-profits to work together to build markets where everyone can be successful in their objectives. Definitely easier said than done!
BFP: How have you overcome these challenges?/ What advice, would you give to others?
AT: Since BCtA is supported by multiple development partners and has a membership of 65 companies and growing, BCtA hopes to be a good platform for businesses to connect with each other and other stakeholders to help them in their own specific individual business objectives, but also to advance the overall market for inclusive business. There are a lot of very good people working in Inclusive Business – the trick will be in how we all collaborate together to ensure that our collective resources are maximized.
BFP: If someone wants to do what you do, where should they start?
AT: I did a mid-career switch to development after spending many years in the private sector. Having that business experience has proven invaluable in my current role in understanding a wide range of business models, how companies work, and the incentives which can align the power of the private sector towards development objectives.
BFP: Finally, what do you hope to get out of being part of the BFP community?
AT: The BFP community has been an excellent way to learn about the approach of various companies and to connect with others working in Inclusive Business. The networking and learning opportunity on BFP is also valuable to me outside my consulting work with Business Call to Action, as I also provide advisory services to social enterprises, corporations, and development organizations in the areas of business strategy, economic development, impact investing, and inclusive business.
Thank you to Albert Tseng for taking the time to do this interview.
Read previous Member of the Week interviews here.