About the Challenge

The G20 Challenge on Inclusive Business Innovation recognized businesses with innovative, scalable, and commercially viable ways of working with low-income people in developing countries.

Why apply to the G20 Challenge?

Businesses applied to be recognized on a global level when the Challenge winners were announced and the winning business models showcased at the G20 Leaders Summit in Mexico on June  18, 2012. There, the world was their audience as their business’s successes were recognized in front of world leaders, fellow innovation leaders, and the global public.

Winners attended a high-profile event at the G20 Leaders Summit to honor Challenge winners and were afforded opportunities to engage with other winners through an inclusive business community. Practitioners—particularly those from local businesses in developing countries—have few opportunities to step outside their day jobs and exchange insights and experiences with one another. They value direct, peer-to-peer learning about what is working and what isn’t in the new and rapidly evolving field of inclusive business.

Winners could also expect to receive announcement of their recognition in local media and were recognized in an official press release issued by the G20 Challenge.

Following the Summit, winners will have the opportunity to attend G20 regional workshops, where they will strengthen their inclusive business relationships and work together to accelerate the growth of inclusive business in developing countries. The regional workshops will focus on the challenges that businesses face when replicating their business model in other countries, e.g., adaptation to new markets, standardization of their business model, legal questions, and selection of the right business partners. Investors will be invited to attend the workshops so that the winners of the Challenge will be given a unique business-to-business forum. The workshops will be organized with generous additional support from the United Arab Emirates and in cooperation with the Siemens Stiftung (Foundation).

Who could apply?

The G20 Challenge on Inclusive Business Innovation was open to eligible businesses and subsidiaries that meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Headquartered or having a substantial part of its operations in a low- or middle-income country[1]
  • For-profit entity[2]
  • Demonstrating financial sustainability: already commercially viable or have evidence of commercial financing (equity or debt) and of being current on commercial debt[3]
  • Using an innovative business model that includes individuals living at the BOP as suppliers, distributors, retailers, or customers or includes value chain financing to the BOP[4]
  • Are not a microfinance institution, private equity fund, or a deposit taking institution
  • Founded and working with the BOP before June 30, 2009, for a minimum of three years of working with the BOP by the announcement of the winners in June 2012[4]
  • Operating outside the extractive sector (oil, gas, mining)

Businesses that check those seven boxes and do not produce or trade in alcohol, tobacco, gambling, or weapons were able to apply

[1] The World Bank defines ‘low income’ countries as economies with GNI/capita<$1,005 and ‘middle income’ countries as lower-middle and upper-middle income economies with GNI/capita between $1,005 – $12,275.

[2] Any business regardless of its type of legal entity can be eligible to apply if it uses a commercial business model and generates commercial revenues.

[3] Commercial debt is defined as loans, given on commercial terms, by financial institutions or IFIs (International Finance Institutions). This excludes grant funding and loans on non-commercial terms.

[4] Applicant must have been using an inclusive business model that engages individuals living at the BOP since at least June 2009.

How were winners selected?

An independent judging panel including representatives from the G20, the private sector, academia, foundations, and International Finance Institutions selected 15 Challenge winners based on the following criteria:

  • Innovation
  • Development results
  • Potential for growth, including replication of the business model in other markets
  • Financial sustainability
  • Environmental and social sustainability

How to apply

The application period has ended. Deadline for applications was February 29, 2012, at 11:59 PM (EST).


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