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Inclusive Business. Bringing innovation to low-income markets.

Over the course of the last decade, inclusive business -- the development of commercially viable, mass market and/or supply chain strengthening solutions that deliberately expand access to goods, services, and income and employment opportunities for people living near or at the base of the pyramid -- has emerged and developed into a mainstream private sector investment strategy critical to spurring inclusive growth -- and one increasingly championed by development finance institutions. Since 2007, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has been one of those champions -- investing in more than 45 projects totaling US $250 million, leveraging US$ 1 billion in additional funding, and contributing to creating 41,000 new jobs, increasing income for 300,000 poor and vulnerable families, and extending credit to more than 220,000 micro-entrepreneurs. Given the IDB’s track record and experience, in 2010 the Asian Development Bank (ADB) launched an exploratory effort to determine if and how inclusive business could become an integral part of its 20/20 strategy and more importantly if a dedicated pool of capital should be allocated to invest in similar ventures across Asia and the Pacific.

As part of ongoing knowledge exchange between both institutions originally conceived as part of the 2009 ADB - IDB Partnership Agreement, in November 2012 the ADB, in partnership with the IDB and SNV – the Netherlands Development Organization, hosted the Investing in Inclusive Business in Asia regional forum in Manila, Philippines. The Forum highlighted innovative inclusive business models in various country contexts; assessed the growing interest of investors in this marketplace; and discussed the important role of development partners in promoting inclusive business. A keynote address on the IDB’s Inclusive Business experiences in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) was provided by the Vice President for Private Sector and Non-Sovereign Guaranteed Operations.

An Inclusive Business Corporate Leadership Workshop on implementing IB models in LAC and developing Asia was held at the Fujitsu Research Institute in Tokyo February 28 and March 1, 2013. Companies also had the opportunity to discuss their inclusive business proposals with teams from ADB and IDB.

A publication of the findings of the collaboration, Working Together in Pursuit of Inclusive Business: Sharing the Latin American and Caribbean with Asia and the Pacific is available here.

For more information on Opportunities for the Majority, please contact om-idb@iadb.org.

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