Photo: Mi Tienda / IFC

IFC and G20 Launch Global Competition to Promote Inclusive Business

By Toshi Masuoka

When a business produces development results and generates profits, the combination can yield a self-sustaining approach to reducing poverty. ‘Inclusive businesses’ – firms that include low-income people in their business model as either suppliers, distributors, retailers, or consumers – are doing exactly that, and by doing so they open up new opportunities to the estimated four billion people living at the base of the pyramid (BOP). Now the search to find the most innovative inclusive business models is on.

The Group of 20 has just launched a new and exciting competition: The G20 Challenge on Inclusive Business Innovation. The primary goal of this competition is to identify and recognize successful inclusive businesses that have great potential for expansion and replication – particularly South-South replication. The G20 Challenge, managed by IFC and implemented on IFC’s behalf by Dalberg Global Development Advisors, was commissioned as part of the pillar on Private Investment and Job Creation within the G20 Multi-Year Action Plan on Development.

The G20 Challenge on Inclusive Business Innovationwas launched in the context of the G20 Summit in Cannes on November 3-4, 2011. Pioneers in the growing field of inclusive business who are selected as winners will have their business models showcased at the next G20 Summit in Mexico in June 2012, and also have access to a global platform for inclusive business collaboration across regions and sectors.

“IFC, alongside a growing number of business and development partners, is committed to supporting commercially viable and scalable inclusive business models that generate growth and have a high development impact,” said Nena Stoiljkovic, IFC Vice President for Business Advisory Services. “IFC’s partnership with the G20 demonstrates our shared emphasis on creating opportunities at the base of the economic pyramid.” Since 2005, IFC has invested over $6 billion in more than 200 companies that focus on inclusive business models, in over 80 countries around the world (www.ifc.org/inclusivebusiness).

Applications will be accepted from December 1, 2011 through February 29, 2012 at G20Challenge.com. The Challenge is targeting businesses in developing countries that have been working with the BOP for at least three years and are already financially sustainable. A high-profile judging panel with representatives from the G20, the private sector, academia, foundations, and international finance institutions will choose up to 15 winners. For a full list of eligibility criteria and more details about winner selection, read more about the Challenge here.

For questions not addressed on the website, interested companies should contact Andria Thomas.

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