GIM Database

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Business Sector


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Role of the Poor

Millenium Development Goals





Research Questions – 2010 GIM Cases

Business Model

  • What is the value proposition of the business?
  • Who sells what to whom?
  • What is the financial model?
  • What objectives shall be achieved through the business (regarding the company, society and the environment)?
  • How is value created and distributed?
  • What are constraints in the market environment the company had to overcome (using the Matrix and noting other constraints beyond the 5 domains)?
  • What other constraints, e.g. from within the organization or regarding the business capabilities, should be noted?
  • How have these constraints been overcome (using the Matrix and noting other solutions beyond the 5 strategies)?


  • Who are the actors that have shaped the business? (Include all, as well as 2-3 critical actors)
  • What are the motivations/interests of these actors with regard to the business? (Why would they be interested in the business’ success or failure? What do they want to get out of the business? What negative outcomes do they worry about?)
  • Who are the actors who hinder the success of the business? What is their motivation? What is the effect on the business?
  • What role do these actors play within the business models? What resources and capabilities do they contribute?
  • What do they get out of the business?
  • How does the business manage the relationship with these actors? Is the relationship collaborative or transactional? Are there areas of disagreement and tension?
  • What did it take to get their support? What are the costs and benefits of coordination and governance?
  • What lessons has the business learnt in coordinating these actors?
  • Have any of these actors changed over time? If so, how? How will they change, if at all?


  • What is the size of the business (measured, for example, by number of employees, annual revenues, number of customers, market share, number of suppliers or distributors, etc.)?
  • What are the economic results experienced by the actors involved? (e.g. income growth, wealth creation, tax revenues, etc.)
  • How is the business projected to grow? Where will it find the necessary capital? Does the model have the ability to scale up and replicate (and thus improve its results)? Has it been or can it be replicated by others?
  • What are the economic returns for the core enterprise and for other stakeholders?
  • Does the business measure its own social and environmental impact? If so, how?
  • What are the social results of the business? (e.g. health, education, poverty reduction, access to essential services, access to/control of key assets, empowerment, gender equality etc.)
  • What are the results of the business for the environment (e.g. reduced carbon emissions, biodiversity protection, sustainable use of natural resources, rehabilitation of degraded ecosystems, etc.)?
  • What are the trade-offs involved in terms of value creation and distribution? Does generating environmental/social impact come at the expense of generating profit? Who wins and who loses?
  • How have these trade-offs been negotiated by the actors involved?
  • What are other indirect impacts that the business had (perhaps unintended), such as impact on public policy, how communities function, international donor involvement etc.?

Research Questions – 2008 GIM Cases

Innovations, challenges and opportunities

  • What were the most important innovations (private or public sector) that allowed for a ‘win-win’ scenario between the enterprise model and the interests of the poor? (These innovations could be social, financial, technological, legal, regulatory and the like.)
  • What were the challenges that needed to be overcome in order to achieve this ‘win-win’ scenario? (These challenges could be social, financial, technological, legal or regulatory or cultural or psychological factors such as mindsets, beliefs and the like.)
  • Thinking about the impact of the innovation, how were the development outcomes for the poor and the gains for the business optimized? (The innovation may be related to an enterprise or a phenomenon outside the business such as a supply chain.)
  • What opportunities are the entrepreneur, the enterprise and its stakeholders pursuing? (The motivations of the entrepreneur may be social, psychological, financial and the like.)

Innovations, adaptation and scaling

  • What were or could be the most important innovations (private or public sector) that allowed or would allow for scaling up of the enterprise model in such a way as to produce significant ‘win win’ benefits to the poor and the enterprise? (These innovations could be social, financial, technological, legal or regulatory or cultural or psychological factors such as mindsets, beliefs and the like.)
  • What were or are the adaptations, replications, scaling options tried or available to this enterprise model? (These could be social, financial, technological, legal or regulatory or cultural or psychological factors such as mindsets, beliefs and the like.)

Business and development model

  • What business model is employed in this case? (The description of the business model should include value propositions for all stakeholders, including customers, workers, investors and poor people, whatever role they play.)
  • What is the development model? (This should address how the poor are involved in the enterprise—as employees, entrepreneurs, consumers and the like—and how the impacts are focused—on unmet needs, economic empowerment or enablement or as part of business to consumer or business-to-business marketplaces, with links to the Millennium Development Goals where relevant.)
  • Were partnerships or networks an important element in bridging the business and development models? (These may include formal or informal associations of the poor, local communities and the like, bilateral or multilateral development agencies, national and local governments, nongovernmental organizations, small and medium-sized enterprises, customers, academic institutions and so on.)
  • What are the direct impacts of the business operation on the poor and on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals? (We need quantitative and qualitative data where possible but also qualitative descriptions of intangibles such as empowerment, equity, self-reliance and the like. List direct benefits for the poor, such as jobs, income, investment, increased access, availability and affordability. Note any wider development impacts such as gender impact, environmental sustainability and relevance to specific Millennium Development Goals.)