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New Report Unveils Business Strategies for Engaging the Poor

(New York, 22 July 2008) - "Creating Value for All: Strategies for Doing Business with the Poor", a new and groundbreaking report by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) offers strategies and tools for companies to expand beyond traditional business practices and bring in the world’s poor as partners in growth and wealth creation. Part of UNDP’s Growing Inclusive Market (GIM)’s initiative, the report draws on extensive case studies and demonstrates the effectiveness — both for human progress and for wealth creation — of more inclusive business models. 

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently issued a call to action on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), urging an international effort to accelerate progress and to make 2008 a turning point in the fight against poverty. This report demonstrates concrete ways the private sector can join in this vital effort.

The poor have a largely untapped potential for consumption, production, innovation, and entrepreneurial activity. But the more business models integrate and include the poor, the more likely companies successfully pursuing revenues will also help in fulfilling the MDGs. Yet the private sector cannot meet the needs of the poor nor overcome all the obstacles to doing business with the poor alone. The report outlines what businesses, governments, communities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), donors and international organizations can do to ensure the greatest good.

Creating Value for All highlights five strategies that private businesses have successfully used to overcome the most common obstacles to doing business with the poor: 

  • adapt products and services;
  • invest in infrastructure or training to remove constraints;
  • leverage the strengths of the poor to increase labour and management pool and expand local knowledge;
  • work with similarly-minded businesses, non-profit organizations or public service providers;
  • engage in policy dialogue with governments.

Creating Value for All showcases 50 case studies demonstrating the successful pursuit of both revenues and social impact by local and international small- and medium-sized companies, as well as multinational corporations. In addition, the report offers new tools for business ,such as a strategy matrix which helps find potential solutions to common constraints and heat maps which offer a visual overview of the market or services landscape - and a first look at potential new markets.

Creating Value for All can be downloaded on the website www.undp.org/gimlaunch.

More information about the Growing Inclusive Markets Initiative can be found at www.growinginclusivemarkets.org.

Click here for more information about UNDP's work with the private sector.


Afke Bootsman
United Nations Development Programme