Business for Sustainability: Imperatives for Inclusive Ventures


There are around 2.7 billion people who live below U$ 2 a day. That’s 2 out of every 5. The total wealth distribution of the world has become extremely skewed. The richest 0.5% control over 35% of the total wealth. US and Europe collectively owns 60%+ of the world’s wealth. The rise of capitalism propelled by the industrial revolutions, world trade, technology, consumerism means that total resources of the world are controlled by those with economic might.

Multilateral agencies, INGOs, donor firms and local NGOs have all done a fantastic job in transitioning many developing countries into emerging economies. However, at the same time, as countries move into the rungs of middle income status, the development initiatives will begin to look for sustainability exits coupled with downward funding pressure as a follow-up of the financial meltdown, Eurozone crisis and shifts in economic policy.

Focus has invariably shifted towards building sustainable models where we work not in isolation, but hand in hand with entrepreneurs, investors and organizations to explore new markets, discover more customers, and, in the process, transform lives of the underserved 2.7 billion. The solution lies in bringing them as an integral part of the market economy, create employment and convert them into consumers; not keep them in fringes of the informal economy.

Working on myriad cases of inclusive business projects over the past five years, we have gathered deep insights to be able to create and test a robust tool that works in the context of Bangladesh. The goal of the publication is to inspire social ventures adequately serve the bottom of the pyramid by leveraging this robust framework, which allows for a detailed list of factors ensuring viability, sustainability and scalability.

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