As we come to the end of this year, I wish you all happy holidays and an early happy new year, with hopes for a brighter 2021.
This year has brought many challenges for all of us and particularly for those living in least developed settings, but it also allowed for some great innovations by the BCtA network of companies, showcased the resilience of inclusive businesses and demonstrated the need for such business models to serve low-income communities and support progress towards the 2030 Goals.
We saw some businesses pivot and adapt to the COVID-19 crisis, while others struggled to keep up with the changes brought forth by a global health pandemic. Noting these challenges, BCtA sought to gather and provide practical information and resources through guidelines, webinars, masterclasses and a survey to better understand the needs of our companies during COVID-19. This led to BCtA launching a community of practice to bring our diverse network together around shared causes and themes. The CoP on health and technology showcased successful business practices from healthcare companies in response to COVID-19. While the CoP on women-led business gathered the pioneering women leaders in the BCtA network to exchange ideas such as accessing finance as a female entrepreneur. Early next year we look forward to launching a CoP on agritech.
The year also led to new ideas. For BCtA it has been in the form of a new service offer. The ‘replication through innovation model’ seeks to align inclusive business solutions to assist governments in filling development gaps. As part of its offer, BCtA will leverage its position within the UNDP and the UN system and align the solutions its member network offers to assist governments – starting with access to health services, agritech and internet connectivity.
To further understand the exact reach of our inclusive business network, BCtA with the IICPSD SDG AI team consolidated over 300 annual progress reports by our members from 2015 to 2019 to get an overview of the contributions and impact of the BCtA network. The results will be released early 2021 and to give you a sneak peek of the findings – the data collected has shown that almost 700 million low-income individuals have benefitted from products and services provided by BCtA member companies in the last five years.
At the national level, BCtA launched the SDG Corporate Tracker in Colombia in partnership with the National Planning Department, GRI and UNDP. The SDGCT is a tool that helps measure the country’s private sector progress towards achieving the SDGs by 2030 and standardizes the measurement of the contribution of the business sector. It is aligned with the country’s national priorities as stated in the voluntary National Reviews and integrates the social, economic and environmental modules of sustainable development with an additional module pertaining to COVID-19.
We also conducted 255 trainings with companies on impact measurement and management and our inclusive business network grew this year with 27 new member companies. We close the year with our inclusive business community standing at 276 companies operating in 72 countries.
As BCtA heads into the new year, we will seek to connect inclusive business models with the global development community and look to become stronger on the ground.
Here’s to a prosperous new year to all and warm wishes from the BCtA team.