The 4Ps of inclusive business: How perseverance, partnerships, pilots and passion can lead to success
Business Innovation Facility (BIF), is a pilot programme funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), that has provided hundreds of inclusive businesses with technical and advisory support, which means the BIF team has been truly inside the ‘engine’ of business. This report is the culmination of the lessons learned during this work, written at the completion of the BIF pilot. The report draws together findings on inclusive business models that work – or don’t – and the journeys that companies are making. There is a strong story to tell, about the challenge and importance of creating a viable business model, how it evolves in different directions and the time needed to deliver results at scale. Despite the diversity of the BIF portfolio, some common themes have emerged. Nonetheless, some caveats are equally important. The analysis is based only on a small and very specific portfolio – 40 businesses which have received lengthy and intensive support and have been engaged in our a monitoring system. The report presents 10 overall findings, clustered under two themes: 1) Companies investing in inclusive business need the right business model, but this takes time and innovation; and 2) Commercial and social returns are small and variable, but are emerging and expected to grow significantly over the next five years.