|Overview : |
Since 2015 UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa has conceptualized and developed an approach to strengthen Inclusive Business (IB) Ecosystems - the Inclusive Business Ecosystem Initiative (IBEI). IBEI is an approach that identifies key gaps in the Inclusive Business ecosystem and brings together all relevant stakeholders to coordinate, address challenges, co-create solutions and innovate in systematic and inter-operative manner.
To overcome the challenging market conditions characteristic of low-income economies, inclusive businesses need a supportive environment that is anchored on 4 pillars highlighted below.
1. Information provides businesses with the awareness, knowledge, technology and know-how required to operate in low-income markets;
2. Incentives provide business with the impetus to engage with low-income people by rewarding positive externalities and reducing the cost of doing business;
3. Investment provides the financial backing that enables businesses to venture into challenging low-income markets;
4. Implementation support provides the logistics, transaction, marketing and communication, and business support services that allow inclusive businesses to function in a variety of dynamic environments.
UNDP has also initiated the field implementation of three IBEI pilots in Africa funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Each initiative has created an institutional structure called “IBEI platform” that helps stakeholders to coordinate activities and meet on a regular basis. UNDP’s primary role in an IBEI is to initiate the IBEI, convene, connect stakeholders and catalyze action through targeted funding. It is in this regard that UNDP RSCA initiated an Innovation Challenge Award to support inclusive business across the 4 pillars mentioned above through innovation challenge prizes and technical assistance.