Inclusive Business

Inclusive Business models are generally defined as models that integrate the poor, either as consumers or on the supply side as distributors, suppliers or employees. Various PSD approaches can be used to promote Inclusive Business models, e.g. creating an enabling environmentvalue chain development, or using partnerships to share the costs of risky investments at the Bottom of the Pyramid. Some argue for the need to adapt these approaches in favour of inclusive businesses in particular.

This page explores the debates around inclusive business models, and points you to further reading and key resources on the topic.

DCED BE WG Cover page image Creating and Enabling Environment for Inclusive BusinessThe DCED’s Business Environment Working Group has published a dedicated scoping paper on ‘How to create an enabling environment for inclusive business? Learning from experience and debates in private sector development‘ (October 2016). The paper summarises a very large body of emerging evidence, structuring it into key debates for further exploration. It incorporates lesssons from the inclusive business literature as well as other communities of practice in private sector development (PSD).

To find additional resources relevant to Inclusive Business, you may also be interested in particular in our Value Chains Database, as well as our knowledge pages on Market Systems Development (Making Markets work for the Poor) and Private Sector Engagement.

Seven debates on inclusive business – synthesis note

  • Click here for an overview of current practice and debates in Inclusive Business (2014).


Online portals

  • Inclusive Business Database: – a database by the Practitioner Hub for Inclusive Business and the Inclusive Business Action Network – includes over 1,300 reports, case studies, tools and factsheets about inclusive business, searchable by region, topic, type, sector or year published.
  • Database of over 200 organisations offering financial or technical support that may be relevant for inclusive businesses in developing countries, by the Business Innovation Facility and Innovation Against Poverty Programme
  • Practitioner Hub for Inclusive Business: An on-line platform providing information and practical insights to inclusive business practitioners and facilitators.


Background papers on inclusive business

The concept and role of inclusive business in international development

Social enterprise


Current practice, lessons and trends in inclusive business


Donor support to inclusive business


Partnerships (grants/ technical advice)

More detailed information on donor funds and facilities for partnering with business (e.g. through challenge funds) canKnowledge Pages on Partnerships for PSD.

Business Environment Reform

More information on donor support to business environment reform can be found on the DCED Business Environment Database.

Impact Investing


Case studies on inclusive business models

Photo credits

Photo credit: Saira Habib/ MDF Pakistan