How Can Corporates Use Technology to Make a Deeper and More Responsible Contribution to Inclusive Business?

Join us for a live written discussion with a panel of experts to discuss how corporates can use technology to make a deeper and more responsible contribution to inclusive business

Live Panel

Tuesday, 19 November, 10-11am EST (3pm-4pm GMT)


Many leading multinational companies are making long-term bets to expand into new global markets—by implementing inclusive business models to serve the unmet needs of people at the base of the global income pyramid. In addition to unlocking rapid growth and driving scalable, positive social impact, it is estimated that this approach presents a $6 trillion opportunity to businesses in the next decade.

Inclusive business has become increasingly profitable, faster growing and more mainstream as the business case for opportunities across almost every industry has been transformed. When we look across the inclusive business market landscape, it is now radically more:

  • Digital: because new technologies, business models and ecosystems for identity, supply chains and payments are emerging, maturing and combining to enable greater profitability

  • Global: because a new generation of companies purpose-built to serve people on low incomes are emerging in the Global South and showing how fast it’s possible to scale up

  • Connected: because business leaders are learning to link up their innovation and venturing capabilities internally and forging new cross-industry and cross-sector partnerships externally

In this online written discussion, we will look at the implications of this changing landscape, building on a new report from Accenture Development Partnerships, called Reimagining Inclusive Business. The report explores over 300 examples of inclusive business, categorize them into 60 types of models and map them across 13 industries to create the first global market landscape of its kind for this exciting space.

This online discussion will tap into Accenture’s expertise as the global leader in supporting MNC innovation, to provide a variety of perspectives explored in the report on how corporates can use technology to make a deeper and more responsible contribution to inclusive business.

This event is part of the Inclusive Business Boost series funded by the UK Department for International Development.


Kris Ansin, East Africa Director, Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP)

Lionel Bodin, Europe Lead, Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP)

Tom Harrison, Technical Director, Business Innovation Facility

Evin Hipple, Senior Manager, Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP)

Adam Lane, Senior Director, Public Affairs, Huawei Southern Africa

François Lepicard, Senior Partner, Hystra

Moderator: Tatiana Bessarabova, US Engagement, Business Fights Poverty


Q1. What are some of the best examples of new companies that are using technologies and business models that are improving the lives of people on low incomes in profitable ways? How can companies learn from these examples in order to reimagine their own inclusive business?

Q2. What are some of the inherent trade-offs embedded in inclusive business approach that companies may face?

Q3. What role do new uses of technology play? How do intended and unintended, positive and negative consequences play into this?

How to participate

To post a comment, you will need to sign in / sign up to the Business Fights Poverty Discussion Forum:

If you are already a member of the Business Fights Poverty online community, click “Log In” at the top right of the page and then enter your details. If you have not logged into our new community platform, you will have to reset your password here: 4 41

If you are not already a member of the Business Fights Poverty online community, you will need to sign up here: 2 7 61. Once you are have joined the community, you can return to this discussion page, click “Log In” at the top right of the page and then enter your details.

Inclusiveness implies two key aspects, Connectivity, and Globalization or wider reach.
Whereas digitisation technology is fast growing, it is greatly hampered by poor connectivity, made worse by high cost and unreliability, save for developed countries. These deter Inclusiveness by region and demographics.
Yes the end user devises and originating hub points are blazing on but poor connectivity undermnes effectiveness of inclusion or wider reach, thereby undermning profitability, in ROI or social impact, that in turn undermonines efforts to re invest or ensure sustainabilty or scaling up.
Several reports on Africa, currently the global focus, and indeed other vital continents, quote the detering cost of technology inclusion, but the major factor is connnectivity. The costs are as much as tripple or more than global averages, and this factor is one major dumping factor to ease of doing business. On the contrary investing in establishing affordable and reliable connectivity widely makes business sense as it ensures ease of sustatinabilty, impact and scalability , in particular as profitabilty in most setors are by volume other than margins.
It is my belief that corporations can afford this budget for their own sake and also other critcal aspects of inclusiveness that ensures sustainabilty.
I am sharing models that are designed to build this into the core of development investment as an integral component to ensure ROI as well as Social impact and the rrest of the critical aspscts like scaleabilty, research and development. This would be the most viable to achieving SDGs with the catch phrase ‘‘for ALL’’


Fully agreed, energy availability and connections are the key hurdles. That’s why frugal solutions (not only in development costs, but also in bandwidth demands) will emerge in the developing world. Technology is also a way to circumvent failing infrastructure.


agree too -

providing affordable connectivity is itself one of the most impactful and fastest growing examples of profitable inclusive business we found and established global giants like Huawei, Vodafone, Orange etc. are innovating and investing heavily here.

In addition new networks like Jio in India have grown incredibly quickly (zero to 330m subscribers in 3 years) and many fantastic startups are creating new solutions to fill the gaps in remote rural connectivity, where most people are being still left behind.

It’s also very interesting to see in the UK general election one of the main parties is promising free broadband access as part of nationalised infrastructure - there may be a case for governments, philantropists, donors, impact investors etc. to look at connectivity as a collectively owned public good with much greater accompanying regulation of data rights in developing countries too


Hello and welcome to Business Fights Poverty online written discussion. This event is part of the Inclusive Business Boost series funded by the UK Department for International Development.

Please add your own comments - you need to be logged in - which you can do via the top right of the screen.

We’ll be starting the discussion in 8 minutes.

1 Like

As we start the live portion of today’s discussion, I would like to invite our expert panelists to introduce themselves.

1 Like

Hi I am Tom Harrison, Technical Director of the Business Innovation Facility. I worked closely with Evin and his colleagues from Accenture Development Partnerships as they were researching and preparing the Reimagining Inclusive Business report.


Hello everyone, I am Lionel Bodin, Europe Lead for Accenture Development Partnerships, the unit within Accenture who has authored the report Inclusive Business Reimagined. I am also the co-founder of the Intrapreneur Lab, a programme that support early-stage social innovators within large corporations. Thanks for having me for this conversation!


Hi I am François Lepicard, partner at Hystra, a consulting boutique dedicated to helping scale inclusive businesses


Welcome everyone!

Q1. What are some of the best examples of companies that are using technologies and business models that are improving the lives of people on low incomes in sustainable ways? How can companies learn from these examples in order to reimagine their own inclusive business?

Hi all! Evin Hipple, Senior Manager in Accenture Development Partnerships - we are Accenture’s non profit social impact business unit. Every year we send about 500 people on projects with NGOs, donors or shared value initiatives by corporates. For the past 2 years, I’ve managed our relationship with DFID and recently I authored the report ‘Inclusive Business Reimagined’. Looking forward to the discussion


[Q1]: The report features a wide range of companies and business models. I would like to call out 2 models that might provide inspiration for other companies: Jio & M-Kopa.


In case anyone is looking for the report we are all referring to it should be here: Reimagining Inclusive Business


[Q1] I think the Jio model, which offers communication services to the masses in India and neighboring countries show that sometimes you don’t need a very complex idea. The business innovation might only rely in offering a product at a cheap price aiming for exponential adoption. Jio’s profitability was achieved in 15 months and it is a great example of having a frugal approach to basic services.


I had to scratch my head to find successful companies that are not in the report. Obviously Pay as you Go SHS is a great example, using existing layers of technology to find a solution for easy access to energy.


I find it intriguing that companies such as Gojek, Babylon Health and Twiga are flourishing by engaging customers and suppliers on price points and in markets that more traditional companies are perhaps struggling with. Having a tech enabled business model is clearly a major factor here, but what else? I think we need more research, but other companies should certainly be looking in that direction – perhaps even over their shoulder! For large companies, copying these business models may not the only solution. In some circumstances corporate venturing may be provide a solution, as explored in a recent report by Endeva


Hi all - Kris Ansin here. I work with Evin, Lionel, and others at Accenture Development Partnerships. I manage our portfolio in East Africa, and am supporting our engagement with Inclusive Business (with Evin) as well as an exciting project around cold chain technology for fishermen, with Adam Lane, also on this panel.


[Q1] Another example that is briefly mentioned in the report is M-Kopa, a solution that provides electricity to rural areas on a “pay-as-you-go” basis. This is one of the most interesting aspects of inclusive businesses: the blending of a basic service (power) with a new mode of distribution (pay-per-use instead of the traditional subscription model). These types of combination have a great potential when designing new inclusive businesses.


Hi everyone, my name is Adam Lane, I work at Huawei, based in Kenya


Companies that develop solutions that solve problems at affordable price points; some may use technology to make a non-technical product affordable (such as Bridge Academies that uses technology and data to identify viable markets, for payment, for training teachers etc; or M-KOPA that uses mobile money to make solar energy pay-as-you-go at the same price as non-renewable energy and creates a credit score; or ACRE Africa that analyses photos to create insurance products) and others may use technology as the product itself, (e.g. Digifarm that provides market and price information; TRACK.AI that uses technology to diagnose eye problems). Companies should consider therefore, not only a tech product, but also how tech can improve the value chain of another product making it more efficient, affordable or relevant. In Huawei’s case, we are using drones and AI to inspect products dramatically reducing servicing and maintenance costs, and software to predict battery use in base stations. These reduce base station costs significantly.