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What is the Business Call to Action (BCtA)?

The Business Call to Action (BCtA) is a global membership platform that encourages private sector companies to develop innovative business models that combine profitability with development impact, in support of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). BCtA members are market leaders and innovators, committed to developing commercially viable business ventures that engage people living at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) as consumers, producers, suppliers, and distributors of goods and services. In more than 35 countries, business leaders are spearheading efforts to provide the poor with the tools and resources they need to succeed by promoting economic opportunity.

Why was the BCtA launched?

The BCtA was launched in 2008 to encourage businesses to address economic and social challenges for those people living at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP). By increasing the visibility of innovative business models, providing thought leadership and promoting multi-stakeholder partnerships, the BCtA helps to drive the private sector’s contribution to the economic vitality of developing countries. BCtA celebrates companies that create jobs through supply chain initiatives and develop products to address the needs of people living at the BoP through access to finance, health care, water, energy and mobile telephones.

How is the BCtA funded?

The BCtA initiative receives financial and in-kind support from nine partner organizations including the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs,  the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, UK Department for International Development, US Agency for International Development, United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Global Compact, and the Clinton Global Initiative.

Who can join the BCtA?

Innovative national, regional, and multinational companies of all sizes committed to contributing to development solutions through their core business activities can become  members of the BCtA. Member companies represent a wide range of sectors; including energy, agriculture, health care, financial services, mobile communication and information technology, manufacturing and extractive industries.

How do companies join the BCtA?

Companies are invited to join the BCtA by submitting an application which highlights an innovative core business initiative that provides both, commercial and social return while advancing progress on the MDGs. The BCtA encourages companies with inclusive business initiatives in developing countries and emerging markets, which add economic and social value, and have quantifiable business and development, to join.

Companies submit an application to the BCtA describing the intended initiative by providing information on the location and type of activity, link to core business, outreach targets, scale and expected business and development impact. Applications are reviewed and approved by BCtA and its partner organizations to ensure that the company initiative meets the established criteria. Where appropriate, the Secretariat and partners may help a company to refine its submission prior to approval.

Is there a fee to join the BCtA?

No, there is no membership fee to join the BCtA. Companies submit an initiative application to the BCtA Secretariat for consideration. Please see How to Join for more information about the BCtA membership process.

Do companies receive assistance in developing an initiative?

Yes, limited technical support is provided by the BCtA Secretariat and/or BCtA’s partners to help identify and develop appropriate company initiatives. For additional support, the  BCtA Secretariat can refer companies to potential implementing partners and enterprise development experts to access opportunities for technical assistance, capacity building and funding.

Does BCtA provide financial support to member companies?

No, member companies are expected to mobilize their own financing for business initiatives. Where appropriate, BCtA can connect companies with donor organizations to support project implementation.

What are the membership benefits to joining the BCtA?

BCtA provides a leadership platform for companies to demonstrate their commitment to development, and access global expertise on innovation at the BoP. Members benefit from:

• Recognition as part of a high-visibility leadership platform, including association with the supporting partner brands and possible international speaking engagements

• Access to a global knowledge network on inclusive business models and communities of practice

• Partnerships with development agencies, international organizations, and other companies

• Validation and dissemination of results amongst supporting partners about specific BoP business models

What are the membership requirements?

BCtA member companies are required to: 1) implement their approved BCtA initiatives, and 2) report results toward achievement of their initiatives on an annual basis. It is important that results include the measurable contributions (to date) to both development and commercial goals. Members have opportunities to participate in many other BCtA activities throughout a given year, but they are not required to do so.

How do members report results?

Companies are asked to identify specific, measurable targets for initiatives upon submission of their application to the BCtA. Once the application is approved, BCtA members submit results (against original targets) on an annual basis using an online Results Reporting Tool. The Reporting Tool aims to capture progress toward implementation of an inclusive business initiative. To learn more about the results reporting process, please refer to the Results Reporting Framework.

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs):

What are the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)?

In 2000, 189 governments committed to achieve the MDGs by 2015. The MDGs are eight internationally-agreed targets which aim to reduce poverty, hunger, maternal and child deaths, disease, inadequate shelter, gender inequality and environmental degradation in developing countries.

How can business contribute to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)?

Private sector-led economic growth and wealth creation is essential for the achievement of the MDGs. Business, as an engine of growth and development, has the potential to improve the lives of people in low-income communities by increasing investment, creating jobs, building skills, and developing goods, technologies and innovations that benefit the base of the pyramid (BoP).

Inclusive Business:

What are Inclusive Business models?

Inclusive Business models are sustainable business solutions that expand access to goods, services, and livelihood opportunities for low-income communities. Inclusive businesses include low-income people on the demand side as clients and customers, and on the supply side as employees, producers and business owners at various points in the value chain. They build bridges between business and the poor for mutual benefit. The benefits from inclusive business models go beyond immediate profits and higher incomes. For business, they include driving innovations, building markets and strengthening supply chains. For low-income people, they include higher productivity, sustainable earnings and greater empowerment.

How is Inclusive Business different than Corporate Social Responsibility?

Inclusive business models are sustainable business solutions that expand access to goods, services, and livelihood opportunities for low-income people. By creating commercially viable business models that leverage innovation (technological or otherwise) to address the needs of low-income consumers and build linkages with low-income producers, companies have the potential to impact millions of poor people.

How do companies develop Inclusive Business models?

To learn more about developing Inclusive Business models, please refer to Selected Resources.


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