New Resources for Inclusive Business Practitioners

By Caroline Ashley, Business Innovation Facility and Innovations Against Poverty

New Resources for Inclusive Business Practitioners

Have you ever asked yourself one, or both, of the following questions?

  • Where can I go to find out who provides finance or technical support for inclusive business?
  • Where can I find information on the practicalities of inclusive business that is accessible, user-friendly and is based on real-life experiences of other entrepreneurs?

Ok, so perhaps not in those exact words. But for anyone working in the world of inclusive business development, they really are two crucial questions.

We hope you will therefore be delighted to hear that the Business Innovation Facility and Innovations Against Poverty are taking steps to offer you the answers through the development of two new resources that are now available on the Practitioner Hub for Inclusive Business.

The first is the Database of Financial and Technical Support for Inclusive Business. The second is a range of publications, now outlined in a short video.

To start with, the Database. This is our most recent tool and is a ‘one-stop shop’ for information about organisations that offer financial and/or technical support to inclusive businesses in developing countries. There is no shortage of such organisations, but knowing who does what and how to contact them can be a daunting task for a busy entrepreneur. Our Database aims to simplify this process by listing over 200 organisations that offer these types of support.

It is not just a static list. It is an Excel database with entries that are categorised by what they offer and what geographies and sectors they cover. It can be easily searched and filtered by the user. We are aware that, as version 1.0, it will have errors and limitations, so we are encouraging as much feedback as possible. Additional suggestions and amendments are welcome and, so long as it proves useful, it will be updated

Now, to our publications. The Business Innovation Facility and Innovations Against Poverty have a mandate to learn from their work – and share this learning. In particular, in the Business Innovation Facility we don’t write cheques but send technical advisors into businesses. The advice they give to a single client can be re-packaged to share with others. This ‘hands-on’ engagement with businesses makes it easier to share the solutions that are being created on the ground. We cleanse out confidential information and convert into materials that other practitioners can easily digest and use.

We have created a suite of materials that range from short overviews and handy checklists to more detailed documents that explore an inclusive business issue in full. The most ‘raw’ materials are ‘Project Resources’ – materials produced for one project that could be invaluable for someone working on another.

For example, in several projects, BIF-funded technical advisors have helped inclusive businesses seek finance – and their expertise has fed into the new Database and also into a new two-page Checklist “Is your business investment ready?”. Other projects tackle distribution channels, supply chain upgrading or climate-smart solutions. The key issues addressed will apply to others, so are shared as Checklists.

About half a dozen publications are relevant to any kind of inclusive business – such as our Starter Pack, a Checklist on Developing Inclusive Business and the Database. Others are for a narrower audience, working on a specific theme. To help you find the outputs relevant to you, they are clustered by ‘Know-How’ theme. Find your theme, then find the publications.

Watch the video on You Tube to learn more about what is available, and see where to click to find a resource that is useful for you.

Please make the most of these resources and consider sharing them with your networks – they are produced with aid budget funds with the aim of supporting inclusive business entrepreneurs. We would like to see them travel as far and wide as possible.

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