Company-Led Window

The ‘company-led’ window applies the Market Systems approach but selects markets to investigate based on an alternative entry point: companies that are innovating.

BIF is embarking on a global expansion to its work, to provide support to companies developing innovative products and services that benefit low-income people.

So far, like most market systems programmes, BIF has taken a ‘country-led’ approach. Having identified target countries, BIF then intervenes in markets which meet the core criteria of:

  • relevance to the poor
  • market growth and opportunity for the poor
  • feasibility of BIF engagement
  • alignment with development effort

 

A new, company-led approach

The global expansion will take a new ‘company-led' approach. BIF will seek to answer the same questions about a market, but will select the markets to investigate based on a new entry point: companies that are innovating.

 

Target companies

The BIF team is interested in talking to companies with the following characteristics:

  • Multi-national companies, large regional or very large local companies (not SMEs or start ups) that have significant reach to low-income consumers or producers 
  • Seeking to operate in a DFID priority country (in particular Afghanistan, Bangladesh, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe) in ways which will benefit the poor but it is impeded from doing so by the presence of market failures
  • At or close to piloting new approaches (although not those at the first stages of scoping), or expanding existing ones
  • Ideally in a growing market sector where there is significant value addition (so, for example, simple production of agricultural produce would not qualify, but food processing would)

The inclusive business initiative that the company is pursuing should be based on the company’s core business and intended to be for-profit, so not a purely philanthropic venture with no connection to the company’s commercial activities. The company may be looking to expand its reach to include low-income consumers of its products, suppliers into its supply chain, micro-entrepreneurs that are in its value chain, or employees that are in its supply chain.

 

What BIF will offer companies

Initially the BIF team would like to find out more about companies' ideas or innovations and whether they would be interested in collaborating in a rapid market assessment from a market systems perspective. This helps the companies to understand aspects of a market system that are not part of their normal commercial appraisal, and helps BIF to decide whether the proposed markets meet its criteria for intervention.

Where BIF and a company agree to work together beyond the initial rapid market assessment, BIF might be able to help a company to:

  • understand whether a proposed new product or service will benefit the poor, and to what extent
  • design a pro-poor business model
  • find non-traditional partners
  • reduce the risk of piloting a new product or service by helping to identify and manage risks or sharing some of the costs
  • address wider market failures impeding the sector, for example, in tackling regulatory barriers, supporting the development of more efficient local suppliers or stimulating consumer demand.

The above list is not exhaustive - BIF is keen to develop collaborative relationships with companies in order to fully understand their needs as well as the wider market system.

Project Details

Country
Low-income focus
Revenue model
Various

Resources

RCT findings from a garment factory upgrading programme in Burma

As part of its work in Myanmar's garment market, BIF provided garment factories with training on productivity and human resource management. The effectiveness of this training was measured through a randomised controlled trial led by an independent academic institution. This paper presents the findings from the RCT and associated lessons learnt which may be of particular interest to donor programmes considering a similar intervention.

BIF Myanmar inclusive tourism products map

This map provides the location and details of tourism products and packages supported with grants and technical assistance through BIF's Tourism Product and Package Innovation Competition.

How to maximise the benefits of garment factory training for your business, your workers and the industry

A 'how to' guide for garment factory managers and owners demonstrating the business case for investing in factory improvement services, and outlining some practical steps on how to implement change and access support.

BIF Toolkit - How to Set Up a Travel Hub [Myanmar Version]

Are you interested in setting up a Travel Hub? Read on! A Travel Hub is a place where visitors can get accurate information about accommodation, transportation, local activities and, where appropriate, Myanmar-wide travel. Travel Hubs are located in places that tourists typically congregate - coffee shops, motorbike rental shops or restaurants. They are designed to provide an additional stream of revenue to a business that already has a reliable client base of tourists. Furthermore, host businesses benefit from enhanced marketing, capacity building for staff and potentially becoming part of a nation-wide network.

The Business Case for Factory Improvement Services in Myanmar [Chinese language]

As part of its work in Myanmar’s garment sector, BIF provided garment factories with training and consulting services on productivity and Human Resource (HR) management. Fourteen factories participated in the training, the headline results of which are detailed in this two-page document.

The Business Case for Factory Improvement Services in Myanmar [Myanmar language]

As part of its work in Myanmar’s garment sector, BIF provided garment factories with training and consulting services on productivity and Human Resource (HR) management. Fourteen factories participated in the training, the headline results of which are detailed in this two-page document.

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