Impact evaluation

The 4Ps of inclusive business: How perseverance, partnerships, pilots and passion can lead to success


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
Data source
Monitoring Data
Intervention type
Improved access to information

Analysis on the 40 businesses targeted by the Business Innovation Facility's long-term consultancy programmes. The report aims to contribute to the broader understanding of inclusive business ‒ to assess what models work and what success might look like in practice. It draws on findings made during the pilot phase of projects in Bangladesh, India, Malawi, Nigeria and Zambia.

Main findings

  • The report acknowledges that intervention is still fresh and that conclusions are therefore partial.
  • 40 businesses were targeted and at the time of publication, the report found that 80 per cent were progressing and 20 per cent had stalled.
  • An aggregate 62 per cent increase in turnover in the first year was observed.
  • Compared with the programmer's ambitions, this growth is judged as 'small'.
  • Other conclusions are broad and perhaps predictable: inclusive business may require more perseverance than conventional business; multiple pilots may be required and partnerships are often crucial but need to be carefully managed.

Intervention description

Business Innovation Facility's long-term consultancy programmes last for approximately 3-6 months on a cost-sharing basis and were applied to 40 businesses overall. These varied dramatically, from the small to the large, the established and the new. The aim of this more targeted approach was to redress non-financial impediments to growth, including a lack of information on potential markets, and a lack of internal skills and few external partnerships. It did so through a combination of technical assistance and consultancy support with the aim of facilitating businesses to design, test or implement more robust, sustainable and inclusive models.

Evidence methodology

  • The report draws on company data, consultant feedback and BIF team knowledge and insight.
  • Growth is measured according to company data specifically from each of the 40 businesses included as part of the long term programme.
  • Success is defined primarily by increased economic prosperity and streamlined business infrastructure, systems and modes of communication, judged through a combination of empirical data and testimonials from those involved in the project.
  • The report acknowledges that a more long-term assessment process is required, in addition to the rough figures provided in the report, as most interventions were still in the ‘blueprint and design' phase at the time of publication.

Useful for:

The report outlines its audience as anyone interested in inclusive business models. This might be companies, investors, incubators, donors, consultancies, trade bodies, departments or non-profits that support businesses similar to those targeted as part of the BIF pilot's long-term programme.