BoP Innovation Center and its IB Accelerator partners have developed a toolkit to support local small and medium sized enterprises in strengthening their inclusive business activities in Base of the Pyramid markets.
The Inclusive Business Accelerator (IB Accelerator) provides much more than the online platform (https://iba.ventures) on which entrepreneurs, impact investors and mentors can connect. The IB Accelerator also provides a global network of local support offices. These support offices provide inclusive business development services to local SMEs or entrepreneurs. The IB Accelerator network will enable local business development support offices to provide state of the art services, certified by the IB Accelerator.
The tools provide support to inclusive business ventures at three levels:
- Strengthen the position in the market;
- Making the organization future proof; and
- Help finding access to investments.
There will be more than one toolkit. The IB Accelerator toolkit that is currently being tested is meant for business development services for relatively small SMEs that require upgrading of their business plans. These SMEs are generally not extremely innovative and could gain from a more innovative view at their business processes and marketing and distribution.
The next step will be to develop a toolkit that will focus primarily on business development in innovative companies and support them in the process of product development and incubation, as well as production processes. In the future, there might be a toolkit targeted at coalitions of enterprises and NGOs making concerted efforts to change value chains to improve inclusiveness of sectors.
The tools will be used by local inclusive business development offices after having received training from the local IB Accelerator offices.
Tools for inclusive business development
The IB Accelerator toolkit contains structured tools for the business development process, including, amongst other things, a business model canvas, a tool for customer segmentation, marketing and distribution, financial planning and risk analysis. For each of these tools there is a manual for the business development service provider to explain how he or she will take the client through the various phases of the business development process.
Coordinators from the local IB Accelerator support offices as well as a number of local business developers received training in March to enable them to apply the tools. They are currently testing the tools in ten different SMEs varying in size and active in different sectors. Of these enterprises three are located in Mozambique, three in Uganda and four in Vietnam. In each of these businesses 6-10 tools are being tested. The business developers executing the tests will provide feedback and the next version of the toolkit will be adapted accordingly. Soon version 1.0 will be ready for further roll-out.
Read the interview with IB Accelerator team member Benjamin van der Hilst who is one of the driving forces behind the toolkit.