Inclusive business in practice

Inclusive business has been recognised as an opportunity to deliver development impacts through innovative approaches to business. IDS has been working on case studies of what this actually means in practice with the Business Innovation Facility (BIF).

Said Business School students visit Jita project in Bangladesh

The Business Innovation Facility (BIF) was created to support businesses in developing or scaling up inclusive business models.The facility has provided technical assistance to nearly 100 businesses at various stages of their ventures in Bangladesh, India, Malawi, Nigeria and Zambia over the past three years.

As a pilot project, a core focus has been to share lessons and insights with the wider development and business communities:

  • What are some of the obstacles that businesses face?
  • What has worked to enable business models to take off?
  • What has been the nature of the development impacts (with a small ‘i’) and how can they be assessed?

Inclusive business case studies (‘deep dives’)

To go beyond what is captured in BIF’s monitoring and evaluation system, a series of case studies (‘deep dives’) have been conducted to capture some of the rich lessons coming out of the pilot. initiative. Specifically, these case studies provide useful insights into (a) commercial viability of the business models, (b) additionality of the facility’s technical support, and (c) development impacts.

View all the inclusive business case studies or see below for individual case studies.

Agriculture and smallholder farming

Affordable energy

Educational transformation

Social enterprise

The case studies were conducted through a joint partnership between the Business Innovation Facility, Said Business School, University of Oxford and IDS.

Key contacts

Project details

start date
1 June 2013
end date
31 December 2013


About this project

Programmes and centres
Business and Development Centre

Recent work


Measuring the Inclusivity of Inclusive Business

IDS Practice Paper;9

‘Inclusive Business’ has enormous potential to contribute positively to development outcomes. Working through core business models, the ‘Inclusive Business’ approach requires minimal outside support and can often reach a scale unattainable by most direct development interventions.

2 May 2012