Making the Care Economy Everyone’s Business

By Alice Allan, Business Fights Poverty

Help us drive gender equity: Please take our survey to help us better understand business motivations for addressing the care economy and how entrepreneurs innovating in this space could support your business. 

Take our survey to help us better understand business motivations for addressing the care economy and how entrepreneurs innovating in this space could support your business. 

  • Are you an FMCG company, concerned about the double day women in your supply chain are working – at the factory and then at home. What does this do to their health and your company’s productivity?
  • Are you an agriculture and food business reliant on women smallholders in your supply chain and wondering why women have no time to adopt climate-smart agricultural techniques, or why your economic empowerment programmes are stalling?
  • Does your business want to recruit and retain the best staff but can’t because you are not currently offering flexible working options that enable people to care for children, the elderly or disabled family members?
  • Are you eager to reach new audiences and bust out-dated advertising and stereotyping – would you rather profile men enjoying and undertaking washing and childcaring, not just women?
If any of these questions resonate with you wherever you may sit in the business – from human resources, sustainability, marketing or strategic planning departments. then please take our survey and read on……..
The entire global economic system relies on caregiving – the millions of unrecognised and under-valued hours spent ensuring offices are cleaned, children and the elderly are taken care of, and food is prepared for families and workers.

The demand for caregiving is predicted to increase with declining birth rates and ageing populations, making it a key feature of the future of work.

Turning this challenge into an opportunity should be at the forefront of all our minds. As one study has shown, if investment in the care economy matched that of the construction sector in countries in emerging economies, it would create over 27 million new jobs (Women’s Budget Group, 2017). And Oxfam have calculated that the 12.5 billion hours of care work that are completed for free by women and girls every day, represents at least $10.8 trillion of value to the economy every year (Oxfam, 2020).

Everyone has a role to play -including governments and the private sector, and increasingly donors like the Gates Foundation and IFIs including the IFC, are focussing a lot of their attention on the care economy.

This is why Business Fights Poverty is excited to be part of a programme initiated by IDRC, and partners to match care economy entrepreneurs and SMEs in Asia, Latin America and Africa, with impact investors and companies.

Our partners are busy identifying these entrepreneurs and will be profiling them shortly. In the meantime, we need to work with our Business Fights Poverty community to understand how these entrepreneurs could help businesses. The entrepreneurs will all be undertaking work that seeks to reduce, reward or redistribute care work. This includes paid and unpaid labour and services that support caregiving in all its forms – both in the home and at work.

Examples of these sorts of businesses include:


Kidogo is a social enterprise that improves access to quality, affordable Early Childhood Care & Education in Kenya’s low-income communities.


Drinkwell is a technology platform for clean water in Bangladesh. Their technology is embedded within water infrastructure purifying millions of litres of water every month.


A Colombian tech-enabled facility management platform offering high-quality cleaning and maintenance services to its clients, and well-paid and lasting job opportunities to its collaborators.

How could enterprises like these support your business? Could you procure their services, could you provide investment or mentoring, could you partner with SMEs, investors and governments to help take initiatives to scale? Please take the survey and help us better understand your needs and identify opportunities for action.

This survey will provide the basis of a piece of ongoing work over the course of the next year to develop a tool for how social entrepreneurs in the care economy can support your business and your employees. Do get in touch if you would like to be part of this programme of work.

Click here to take the 3-Minute Survey 

Click here for more articles on the Care Economy

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