GIM Database

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Document Type


Business Sector


Type of Organization

Role of the Poor

Millenium Development Goals





Approach and Principles

The GIM approach seeks to demonstrate how business can significantly contribute to human development by including the poor in the value chain as consumers, producers, business owners or employees (‘inclusive business models’). GIM highlights portraits of successful simultaneous pursuits of revenues and social impact by private actors, from social entrepreneurs to local small and medium-sized enterprises, large domestic companies and multinational corporations, but also state-owned companies and civil society organizations.

GIM’s approach is to:

  • Partner with  Southern experts to build and share knowledge and research;
  • Leverage resources and catalyze useful partnerships in implementing inclusive business models on the ground; and
  • Build a powerhouse of empirical evidence of proven strategies in inclusive market development to inform the above.

The GIM Initiative is based on five broad principles:

  • Core business emphasis. GIM promotes business models that create value by providing products and services to or sourcing from the poor, including the earned income strategies of non-governmental organizations. It does not consider activities that are purely philanthropic or that cannot prove to be or become commercially sustainable, even though they have their own business rationales and are important for development.
  • Developing world focus. GIM is particularly interested in developing country businesses as central actors in providing goods, services and job opportunities to the poor. To sharpen this focus, the GIM commissioned 50 case studies of companies from researchers and academics in countries from Peru to Kenya to the Philippines. This bottom-up process, anchored in local knowledge, is producing an ever-growing network of development practitioners, policymakers, business people and civil society actors.
  • Human development framework, guided by the Millennium Development Goals. Human development expands people’s choices to lead lives that they value. GIM applies a human development framework to doing business with the poor, concentrating on meeting basic needs and providing access to the goods, services and earning opportunities that foster economic empowerment. It shows how the private sector can contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
  • Locally-led agenda. GIM is explicitly modeled on UNDP’s success in localizing its Human Development Reports to shape national agendas and promote policy changes in countries around the world. UNDP’s Egypt Country Office has already published a national report on ‘Business Solutions to Human Development’ and fostered a multi-stakeholder dialogue at the local level.
  • Partnership and multi-stakeholder approach. GIM has a multi-sector, networked approach and a commitment to involve many partners from different backgrounds — from the academic world to the development community to business associations — who are leaders in business and development thought. In this spirit, the information, analysis and tools generated by the initiative will all be published online, to be discussed and supplemented by interested parties.