Impact evaluation

Adding value to innovation? Lessons on donor support to inclusive business from the Business Innovation Facility pilot

An impact evaluation


for market systems approaches

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Published by
Business Innovation Facility
Project implementer
Business Innovation Facility
Results level
Growth and access to services
Mixed method
Intervention type
Improved access to information

Specific recommendations for donor support for inclusive businesses. The document explains the two main instruments of the Business Innovation Facility Pilot (BIF): technical assistance and knowledge exchange. The BIF pilot was launched in 2010 and ended in 2013. It included three tiers of support: long term, short term and knowledge sharing.

Main findings

  • When done well, technical assistance can make a difference to business progress, and inclusive business makes a difference to lives at the base of the economic pyramid.
  • This requires exhaustive and accurate business diagnostics that rely on hands-on collaboration with companies during the early stages.
  • Investment is needed to identify the right resources for providing technical assistance and managing delivery.
  • Inclusive business can reach people living on less than $2 a day.
  • The journey of inclusive business is a long one, typically taking around 10 years from inception to full scale, autonomy and profit.

Intervention description

The overall BIF programme provides hundreds of inclusive businesses with technical assistance and advice or 'consultancy support' through a variety of programmes, including long-term, short-term and knowledge sharing. Though diverse, the core focus of each project is to help a given company to design, test or implement a more robust, sustainable and inclusive business model.

Evidence methodology

  • The report judges the success of the BIF pilot programme on the basis of its contribution to poverty reduction and development.
  • This is measured by analysing sources similar to those used for the 3 year project review, i.e. company data, consultant feedback and BIF team knowledge and insight. It adds to this a qualitative level of analysis with feedback from businesses and practitioners.

Useful for:

The report is useful for donors or other public agencies working to design or implement private sector development programmed, as well as active investors, incubators, or non-profit organizations that support similar businesses, particularly those that deploy technical assistance.