Establishing inclusive businesses

Project Description

Title: Inclusive Business Action Network (iBAN)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), European Union
Country: global
Overall term: 2014 to 2019

Women processing fruits in India.


In many developing and emerging countries, people who belong to low-income groups cannot afford essential goods and services such as water, food, healthcare or electricity, or only in small quantities. Inclusive business ventures address these people and provide them with either income opportunities or relevant and affordable goods and services. As a result, the poor become part of economic value chains. At the same time, the inclusive businesses stay commercially viable.

Despite the economic potential of inclusive business models, barriers remain that prevent inclusive businesses from reaching scale and fully leveraging their impact. These barriers include:

  • Lack of information about markets,
  • Inefficient and restrictive regulations,
  • Disincentives and insufficient legal structures,
  • Inadequate access to finance, and
  • Insufficient capacities among entrepreneurs and their target groups.

iBAN enables change by empowering those who can make a difference. The initiative engages established inclusive businesses and policymakers in emerging and developing markets to increase knowledge and facilitate models and policies that address shared constraints to scale and replicate inclusive business models.


The conditions for up-scaling and replicating inclusive business models are improved.

Potato plantation, Kenya.


iBAN is part of the strategy of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to promote cooperation with the private sector. It builds on experiences gained by German and international development cooperation actors in the application of inclusive business models.

iBAN pursues an integrated strategic approach going wide in reach with online knowledge sharing and strategic communications (iBAN blue) on inclusive business, and going deep with its focused Capacity Development Programme (iBAN weave) for selected companies and policymakers in developing and emerging countries.

iBAN blue

iBAN blue provides access to curated expert knowledge and inspiring practical examples. A core element of iBAN blue is the innovative global online knowledge platform Its core content is being developed jointly with a group of selected strategic partner organizations. Every two months, an online magazine (CLUED-iN) is published that covers trends in inclusive business. A high-level editorial committee of inclusive business thought leaders sets the editorial agenda of the online magazine. The result is a thriving community that can demonstrate through ‘real life’ stories, the positive impact inclusive business has on a world greatly in need of long-term, sustainable business solutions. Beyond that, iBAN blue works with key stakeholders and knowledge partners in communicating the impact of inclusive business initiatives strategically.

iBAN weave

iBAN weave supports selected companies in scaling their inclusive business models and policymakers in establishing enabling framework conditions for inclusive business models. Both lead to scaled up inclusive business models and enabling environments for them.

The capacity development programme for businesses enables participants to develop skills on innovative business modelling practices, specific themes, and partnering for scale. The capacity development programme for policymakers aims to support the development of policy recommendations and national inclusive business action plans. These action plans are then presented at international fora.

Also, companies and business associations that participate in iBAN weave initiatives present their private sector perspectives in public private dialogues.

In 2018 and 2019, iBAN weave focuses on conducting capacity development programmes for companies and policymakers in Africa, South Asia, and South East Asia.

Micro Insurance Academy, India.


  • iBAN created an innovative online knowledge platform by integrating established existing inclusive business platforms; its online knowledge repository currently hosts the only available inclusive business database that lists about 2,000 publications and 640 organizations that offer financial and technical assistance to businesses
  • iBAN provided capacity development and peer learning activities for 100 scalable inclusive business companies
  • iBAN supported the development of almost 50 best practice examples and tools. In 2017, iBAN and its partner The Centre of Partnerships for Development developed and implemented a tool that helped five Egyptian companies from the consumer goods sector to reach scale
  • iBAN ignited 10 partnerships, mainly between inclusive business companies
  • With the help of iBAN, 10 ASEAN member states committed to develop programmes, rules and regulations that are conducive to inclusive business.


Further Information