10 March 2010
A new facility to support the role of business in developing countries will be announced today by Minister for International Development Gareth Thomas. The Business Innovation Facility will help companies to develop new ways of working that will mean more jobs and stronger economies in some of the poorest countries in the world.
The new facility will help bring businesses together to share knowledge and experience which can benefit developing countries as well as helping business reach new markets and customers.
The Business Innovation Facility, which will initially be rolled out across Nigeria, India, Bangladesh, Zambia, and Malawi, will help companies to develop or adapt commercial business models that benefit the poor.
Poor people in developing countries are valuable employees, consumers and producers. More inclusive business models will benefit them at every stage; from increasing jobs and incomes to better access to affordable, quality products and services.
One example of such a partnership in action is the Manual Distribution Centres which Coca Cola announced under the Business Call to Action. They were finding it hard to access certain markets in Africa due to poor and narrow roads. In order to get around this problem the Manual Distribution Centres decided to provide bicycles and pushcarts for local deliverers to be able to sell the beverage to retailers in these areas.
To date, more than 2,600 small distribution businesses have been formed as a result, creating direct employment for more than 12,000 people, and generating more than $500 million in revenues throughout East Africa.
By setting up partnerships, providing opportunities to share knowledge, and the costs of business plans and feasibility studies, the Business Innovation Facility will provide a unique opportunity for businesses to explore new ways of working, new ways to increase profit and new ways for business to benefit people living in poverty.
Speaking at the launch of the Facility, Gareth Thomas said:“The Business Innovation Facility is about providing creative solutions to the big development challenges that affect us all. It will deliver long term benefits for the world’s poor; based on modern and profitable partnership.“For local people this will mean more jobs, better incomes and increased skills. For businesses, it will mean new partners, fresh commercial opportunities, and greater public access to their products.”
Notes to Editors
Details of the types of business initiatives the Facility will support include those that:
Gareth Thomas announced the Facility at a high profile event at Glaziers Hall today.Launched in 2008 by the UN Secretary-General and the UK Prime Minster, the Business Call to Action (BCtA) aims to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that offer the potential for development impact along with commercial success.
Companies participating in the BCtA make commitments to adapt their core business models and apply core competencies in innovative ways that help to both improve the lives of poor people and contribute to business sustainability.For further information, please contact: Stacey Vickers 020 7023 0513 or email@example.com
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