'Women as Inclusive Business partners’ is an initiative by BoP Innovation Center and its strategic partner ICCO Cooperation. The initiative is built on the recognition that there is a business case for the private sector to actively engage women as producers, employees, distributors or consumers. Such business can be profitable and contribute to a company’s overall objectives, and at the same time help to meet the needs and serve the interests of women in the base of the pyramid.
Most enterprises are not aware of or have not fully explored this potential for their business. This multi-stakeholder initiative seeks the strength of the private sector, from SMEs to multinational companies, to drive change that recognizes the - often hidden – potential of women across the value chain. It raises awareness around the topic by sharing inspiring examples of good practices and supports companies in taking concrete action. Good practices range from producing and selling female hygiene products to two wheel tractors for women farmers or to employ women as quality experts in water filter production or actively engaging women in outsourcing schemes.
In spite of the potential benefits of developing business models that engage women as inclusive business partners, relatively few companies are actually doing it. Initial research has shown that there are a number of reasons why this isn’t happening. Many companies are unaware of the benefits, while others recognize the benefits, but are unsure where to start and lack the right interface with other parties like NGOs, knowledge institutions or governments. ‘Women as Inclusive Business Partners’ was developed to help companies overcome these obstacles.
Using the AIDA (Awareness Interest Desire and Action) model, the initiative helps business through the funnel that will help them to develop and implement a strategy for engaging women in their new market development or becoming more competitive.
Women as Inclusive Business Partners is a collaboration between ICCO Cooperation and BoP Innovation Center.
Summary of good cases
15 good practices have been analyzed of Dutch and international companies, ranging from SMEs or cooperatives to multinational corporations. Download the summary for an overview of these practices.
I-Care: Empowers girls and women in Kenya by selling reusable sanitary pads.
Land O Lakes: Strengthening women’s role in family dairy business leads to improved productivity.
Shakti / Unilever: The world’s largest sustained home to home retail operation offers business and social benefits.
TGT Enterprise: Gender perspective on farm mechanization leads to new markets.
Women can be engaged throughout the value chain. We developed cases that highlight women’s involvement in production, processing/manufacturing, distribution or consumption. They also indicate women’s role in the business as owners, micro-entrepreneurs in the chain or employees.
Key to the success of this initiative is harnessing knowledge from existing projects and creating win-win situations with partners from various sectors. We welcome companies at all stages of this process to participate, to learn, share knowledge, and meet complementary partners. We further seek to collaborate with other like-minded initiatives around the globe. Interested in knowing more? Contact Nelleke van der Vleuten: firstname.lastname@example.org
Food and nutrition, Health, Sustainable energy, Water, sanitation and hygiene