BCtA membership is granted to companies based on the quality of their proposed initiatives. Initiatives are assessed according to the following eligibility criteria:

1. Demonstrates potential to create both financial returns for the company and economic/social returns for low-income communities in developing countries.

To meet the financial returns requirement, an initiative should:

  • Engage the core competencies of a company and be a sustainable part of its business, as opposed to being driven by philanthropic or social investment goals;
  • Have potential to be scalable and replicable within a given market or across new markets; and
  • Contribute to achievement of a company’s commercial targets through such things as increased revenue, improved quality of supply chains, or increased customer base.

To meet the economic/social returns requirement, an initiative should:

  • Integrate underserved populations into company value chains as suppliers, producers, distributors and/or employees; or provide/sell appropriate and affordable products or services to low-income consumers; and
  • Be located in one or more developing countries.

2. Represents a new approach to business for the company, enabling it to access and serve markets in ways not previously achieved.

The initiative should not be a long-standing, mainstream business activity of the company that is re-submitted to the BCtA without any added value. The initiative can represent a pilot, an expansion or acceleration of an innovative business model. Initiatives that continue an established way of working without generating increased benefits to developing countries would not qualify for membership to the BCtA.  Partnerships with other companies or institutions are eligible.

3. Able to generate measurable results.

Companies must be able to identify where an initiative will be implemented, provide quantitative and qualitative targets outlining the expected business and development outcomes, and define a timeline for reaching targets. There must be at least one business related target and one development target selected from the indicators provided in the application form.

Once a company initiative has been accepted by the BCtA, companies will be required to provide annual updates on the progress of the initiative, including supporting quantitative and qualitative data.

4. Has financing in place.

BCtA does not provide funding to member companies to implement initiatives. To be considered for BCtA membership, a company must have funding in place for at least the initial part of a proposed initiative and a fundraising strategy in place for the duration of the initiative. Furthermore, while initial funding for a pilot can come from donor organizations or foundations, a company must be able to present its plan for creating a sustainable business model that does not rely on long-term grant funding.

Download Membership Eligibility.

See Selected Resources for more information about developing an inclusive business initiative.

Ready to fill out an application? Go to BCtA application.


Exclusionary criteria: The Business Call to Action will not accept applications from companies that produce or trade in weapons and munitions; tobacco; or gambling. Companies that trade in any product or activity deemed illegal under host country laws or regulations or international conventions and agreements, or that are subject to sanction by the UN Security Council, or suspension from the Procurement Division of the UN, will not be accepted for BCtA membership.

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