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29 November 2021 | By invitation only

how to promote inclusive businesses based on the experiences and mechanisms used by ASEAN countries

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in collaboration with Digital Pathways at Oxford, the Inclusive Business Action Network (iBAN), the Honey Bee Network, and the Gujarat Grassroots Innovations Augmentation Network (GIAN), organised a Forum on Frontiers of Inclusive Innovation: Formulating Technology and Innovation Policies that Leave No one Behind. The forum took place through a series of six online sessions in November and December 2021.  

The final policy exchange explored how to promote inclusive businesses based on the experiences and mechanisms used by ASEAN countries. It specifically explored opportunities to build synergies among efforts that promote inclusive businesses, social enterprises, and impact investments.

The full report, Frontiers of inclusive innovation: Formulating technology and innovation policies that leave no one behind, is available here.


Key Messages

The practice and principles of inclusive business are gaining recognition in many regions of the world. Governments and policymakers have begun to recognise the relevance of inclusive businesses in aiding post-pandemic recovery for low-income people. The present challenge, however, is in mainstreaming inclusive business models and situating them as a central element of the larger economic ecosystem.

  1. Secure government support in promoting inclusive business. It is critical to garner the support of national policy makers and local policy implementers to promote inclusive businesses. A national strategy on promoting inclusive business should come along with the necessary funding support.
  2. Synergize existing policies on inclusive business promotion, SME development, and impact investment to scale up grassroots level initiatives for national adoption. Support should be given both to the supply and demand sides for inclusive business. This may include developing a national strategy for inclusive business and guidelines for impact investing while connecting SMEs with impact investors. Working closely with impact investors will provide additional financial resources.
  3. Design suitable tools and mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating the outcomes of inclusive business. These toolkits will provide metrics and standards in measuring the impacts of different inclusive business models or approaches providing concrete data and evidence on what is effective or not. This would help inform policies and activities designed to promote inclusive business.
     

Examples of good practices

  • Viet Nam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment conducted a national landscape study of inclusive business in Viet Nam. Based on this study and the Guidelines for the Promotion of Inclusive Business in ASEAN, Viet Nam has developed a program to promote sustainable businesses, which includes inclusive businesses. This programme will develop an Inclusive Business ecosystem, through the accreditation of inclusive business, the establishment of a data platform, raising financial resources and investment, and providing training and coaching services, especially for SMEs.
  • In Sri Lanka, Lanka Social Ventures is partnering with the British Council to provide training on promoting social enterprises to more than 400 government officials responsible for entrepreneurship development and support.
  • Several ASEAN member states have conducted national studies of the landscape of inclusive business. More importantly, ASEAN member states have adopted the Guidelines for the Promotion of Inclusive Business in ASEAN. The annual ASEAN IB summit is an opportunity to share good practises and identify collaborations between the countries. The ASEAN IB Awards are recognising inclusive business models. In addition, ASEAN has published several reports regarding the promotion of inclusive businesses.
     

Moving Forward

To further promote inclusive business, inclusive business must be part of mainstream economic development conversations at the national, regional, and global level. The documentation and sharing of the rich experiences of ASEAN in promoting inclusive business will be a big help in expanding their promotion in other subregions.

“The toolbox for traditional economics is there. When we talk about the impact and social economy, in which inclusive business play a key role, it is not clear if we have yet the right tools”

Jonathan Wong, Chief, Technology and Innovation Section, United Nations ESCAP

 

Learn more about the forum's discussion topics

REPORT: Frontiers of Inclusive Innovation: Formulating technology and innovation policies that leave no one behind

This report highlights the opportunities and challenges that policymakers and development partners have to expand the frontiers of inclusive innovation. When inclusion is the next frontier of technology, STI policies are designed differently: With broader objectives than just economic growth, with social development and sustainable economies in mind; and they are inclusive in terms of aspiring to enable everyone to benefit from – and participate in – innovative activities.

Governments can add an inclusive lens to STI policies by considering the following questions:

Four questions

This report explores how these four dimensions of inclusivity are addressed in several innovation policies: national STI policies; digital economy strategies; initiatives supporting grassroots innovations; and policies promoting inclusive business.

Ms. Trinh Thi Huong Director of Policy and General Affairs Division, Agency for Enterprise Development, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Viet Nam
Ms. Trinh Thi Huong
Director of Policy and General Affairs Division, Agency for Enterprise Development, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Viet Nam
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Trinh Thi Huong has worked as a policy maker in enterprise development for 17 years, gaining experience in supporting small and medium sized enterprises (SME). She is now Director of Policy Division, Agency for Enterprise Development, Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI). Huong has contributed to many Vietnamese Government legal frameworks that support the development of small and medium enterprises. She also put much effort in promoting IB in the national sustainable business support programme.

Mr. Chorn Vanthou, Deputy Director of Planning, Statistics, Cooperation, and ASEAN Affairs, Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology  and Innovation, Cambodia
Mr. Chorn Vanthou
Deputy Director of Planning, Statistics, Cooperation, and ASEAN Affairs, Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation, Cambodia
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Chorn Vanthou, is the Deputy Director of Planning, Statistics, Cooperation and ASEAN Affairs, Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation (MISTI), Cambodia.

Mr. Farhad Reza Founding President and Board Member, Build Bangladesh, National Advisory Board Impact Investment, Bangladesh
Mr. Farhad Reza
Founding President and Board Member, Build Bangladesh, National Advisory Board Impact Investment, Bangladesh
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Farhad Reza is an Impact Investment activist. He is in a ‘mission’ to establish the Impact Economy Ecosystem in Bangladesh. He has been leading Build Bangladesh, the impact investment stream of the Impress Group, focusing on intergenerational well-being, the 8th Five Year Plan of Bangladesh and the SDGs. Build Bangladesh is leading the ‘Impact Investment Movement’ to ensure a sustainable impact economy while complementing the mainstream investment ecosystem. Build Bangladesh in partnership with UNDP, launched Impact Investments projects like affordable housing, three mutual funds, all targeting people at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ and incubation/growth accelerator programme to support young impact entrepreneurs. He is also managing the secretariat for the National Advisory Board (NAB) for Impact Investment in Bangladesh.

Farhad has been working in Australia and Bangladesh over last 25 years. As Senior Executive for the Australian Government, he ensured A$120bn worth of welfare payments being delivered to the eligible recipients, established strategic policy on housing and infrastructure for remote Indigenous communities and managed A$100m per year worth national programme. He has a strong history of advocacy for justice and equality, focusing disadvantaged and minority groups through people centric investments and campaign.

His dream is to have at least ‘few minutes’ with people from all over the world on their own soil to reconfirm ‘human commonalities‘! He strongly believes, ‘people do not want charity, they want a chance’.

Mr. Tristan Ace, Chief Product Officer, AVPN
Mr. Tristan Ace
Chief Product Officer, AVPN
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Tristan Ace is the Chief Product Officer at AVPN and an Economic Development Professional with over 13 years experience including 8 in Asia (Myanmar, China, Hong Kong). He has experience of working directly with numerous governments to support policy learning, development, and implementation. Tristan developed partnerships with bilateral and multilateral agencies to build large scale multi country economic development programmes and worked with numerous Corporations to develop and implement sustainability and CSR strategies.

Mr.  Markus Dietrich Chief, Technology and Director of Policy, Inclusive Business Action Network (iBAN)
Mr. Markus Dietrich
Chief, Technology and Director of Policy, Inclusive Business Action Network (iBAN)
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Markus Dietrich is the Director of Policy at the Inclusive Business Action Network (iBAN). He supports companies to scale up their inclusive business (IB) models and policymakers in the development of enabling environments.

With a background in the private sector, Markus moved to the Philippines in 2008 and consulted with ADB, GIZ, World Bank and the private sector on renewable energy and inclusive business.

Markus is also a committed social entrepreneur who co-founded Hilltribe Organics in Thailand, which engages hill tribe communities in organic farming.

He holds a degree in Business Studies from CASS Business School and a master degree in International Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University.

Mr. Jonathan Wong, Chief, Technology and Innovation Section, ESCAP
Mr. Jonathan Wong
Chief, Technology and Innovation Section, ESCAP
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Jonathan Wong is the Chief of Technology and Innovation at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). He joined ESCAP from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), where he was the inaugural Head of Innovation. He has led the establishment of several high-profile innovation initiatives including the Global Innovation Fund, a partnership between the Omidyar Network and the governments of the US, UK, Sweden, Australia and South Africa. Jonathan has extensive experience in social innovation and entrepreneurship, innovative financing, impact investing and technology. He also has substantial policy expertise on these agendas, having advised governments across Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Before joining DFID, he was a founding partner of a technology and innovation venture-capital fund and supported the establishment of the UK NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement. Mr Wong has also served on APEC’s E-commerce Business Council, the UNCDF Board for ASEAN, was awarded a Rockefeller Foundation Policy Fellowship, and is a World Economic Forum Schwab Fellow.

Marta
Ms. Marta Pérez Cusó
Economic Affairs Officer at ESCAP
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Marta Pérez Cusó leads ESCAP’s programme on inclusive technology and innovation policies to promote technologies and innovations that leave no one behind. She also leads ESCAP’s work on promoting enabling policy environments for inclusive business in ASEAN.

She has over 18 years’ work experience with the United Nations providing policy advice on science, technology and innovation (STI) and information and communication technology policies to governments across Asia and Latin America.

Before joining ESCAP, Ms. Pérez Cusó worked with UNCTAD and Oxfam GB. She holds an MSc in Development Management, Open University UK and is fluent in Spanish, English, French and Catalan.

for more information, please contact

Trade, Investment and Innovation Division +66 2 288-1234 [email protected]
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