Message from the G20

The Group of 20 and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, have launched an online competition to find the best examples worldwide of businesses in developing countries that provide critical goods, services, and livelihood opportunities in financially, environmentally, and socially sustainable ways to those living at the base of the pyramid (BOP), called ‘inclusive businesses’.

Businesses that have innovated with inclusive business models are important for donors and governments alike because they represent a new paradigm for achieving widespread and lasting development impact. By creating innovative business solutions in developing countries, the private sector makes a significant contribution to solving social challenges and reducing poverty while at the same time accessing new markets.

There are many examples of commercially viable, scalable inclusive business models generating social impact in developing countries. Many of these are the result of home-grown innovation by domestic firms. But the lessons learned by one company in one country are not widely reported and therefore not easily shared with businesses in other places. Accelerating South-South sharing of successful inclusive business models may be one way to better meet the needs of four billion people living at the base of the pyramid.

Firms with an inclusive business model that addresses a specific challenge facing the BOP in developing countries are invited to apply. Applicants’ inclusive business models must address specific challenges facing the BOP in developing countries—like improving access to basic services (such as clean water, health care, education, energy) or integrating BOP into formal value chains (e.g., distribution and supply chains), or even providing substantial employment opportunities. Successful entries will demonstrate: business process innovation, development results, financial sustainability, and potential for growth including replication of the business model to other markets.

We invite entries from December 1, 2011 until February 29, 2012. Applications are welcome from developing countries in all regions (Sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, and South Asia).

Up to 15 Challenge winners will be selected. The winners will have their innovative business models showcased and recognized on a global level at the June 2012 G20 Leaders’ Summit in Mexico.

The winners will also gain access to a web platform for inclusive business knowledge-sharing, networking, and partnering. Through the website they will have access to all relevant information regarding the Challenge, and to resources on inclusive business models and best practices.

Furthermore, the winners will be invited to workshops on inclusive business, the first one taking place in Germany. Challenge winners will learn first-hand from one another through peer learning and exchange of ideas and experiences with selected experts. Additional perspectives will be provided by private investors, development finance institutions, businesses, and other relevant stakeholders. The workshop will focus on the challenges the firms may face when expanding their business model to other countries, e.g., adaptation to the new market, standardization of their business model, legal questions and selection of the right business partners.

We thank you for your time and look forward to receiving your application!

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