Publication Date

Spring 4-22-2013


School of Business


Business: International Business

Primary Subject Area

Business Administration, Management; Business Administration, Marketing; Business Administration, General; Sociology, Social Structure and Development


Inclusive business, social business, international development, global poverty, economic development, market development, business models, engaging the poor, sustainable models, rural producers, rural consumers, rural markets, urban markets


Agribusiness | Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Civic and Community Engagement | Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations | Growth and Development | Inequality and Stratification | International Business | International Economics | Other Business | Strategic Management Policy


Due to the rise of globalization, modernization, and the Internet revolution, awareness of global poverty has expanded, making its eradication a chief goal of the global development community for the twenty-first century. Though corporations are often expected to participate in social and community development initiatives without regard for profits, this paper presents inclusive business as a way for businesses to profitably engage impoverished segments of society. Inclusive businesses seek to expand their consumer bases or strengthen their supply chains by moving into new markets among the poor that have limited access to global markets and remain largely untapped. The research that follows herein delves into the inadequacies of corporate social responsibility and social business to achieve business sustainability and scalability in addressing poverty. This is followed by an overview of the business potential of low-income populations and some of the general requirements and challenges to doing business among these people. Finally, a number of business models will be examined along with several case studies, which provide real world insight into the implementation of those models, concluding with a brief discussion of the keys to achieving scale with inclusive business ventures. Scalable inclusive models allow businesses to expand their reach, whether to consumers or suppliers, beyond a limited community, enabling them to retain the motivation of profit while allowing millions of the world’s poor to participate in global markets and improve their standards of living.