Creating Value for all: Strategies for Doing Business with the Poor

Published on 01 Jul 2008 (32 pages)
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Creating Value for All: Strategies for Doing Business with the Poor is the new and groundbreaking report launched on 1 July 2008 by the UN Development Programme.

The first report of UNDP’s Growing Inclusive Markets Initiative and the first such one with such depth and local knowledge, Creating Value for All showcases 50 studies by researchers predominantly from developing countries. These case studies demonstrate the successful pursuit of both revenues and social impact by local and international small- and medium-sized companies, as well as multinational corporations.
Creating Value for All highlights five strategies used successfully to overcome the most common obstacles to providing business opportunities in low income communities/countries, as well as two new tools: a strategy matrix to help find potential solutions to common constraints and heat maps that identify opportunities by depicting access to water, credit, electricity or telephone service in a specific geographical area using color codes. More inclusive business models recognise the poor not only as consumers, but also as drivers of growth. And when markets include more poor people, we all win. “Business models that include the poor require broad support and offer gains for all.” Kemal Dervi, UNDP Administrator

This report focuses on what the private sector can do to include the poor in business as consumers, employees and producers. Building on UNDP’s track record of advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life, the report starts with the markets of the poor. It shows the challenges of doing business where markets suffer from a lack of information, infrastructure and institutions. But it also shows how businesses deal with these challenges—by devising inclusive business models that join business and the poor to create value for all.

The Growing Inclusive Markets Initiative, launched in 2006, embodies UNDP’s strong conviction that the private sector is a great untapped resource for investment and innovation to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
The initiative was inspired by 2004’s Unleashing Entrepreneurship: Making Business Work for the Poor, a report prepared by the UN Commission on the Private Sector and Development at the request of then-UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The Commission suggested that UNDP issue further reports to clarify how businesses are creating value in the difficult market conditions that so often characterize poverty—and how, in the process, they can also create value for the poor.

This report, the first in a series, advances UNDP’s efforts to turn the initiative’s ideas and analysis into action through a dialogue with the private sector, government and civil society. It is the product of research based on 50 case studies, writing and reviews by a network of developing country academics and a diverse advisory group of institutions with expertise in the private sector’s role in development.

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