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Bangkok - 01 Nov 2019

News Number: G/59/2019

The Second ASEAN Inclusive Business Summit opened today with leaders from the public and private sectors celebrating advances in building enabling policy environments and promoting inclusive business in the ASEAN member States and for the ASEAN community.

Organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the Office of SMEs Promotion (OSMEP) Thailand and the Inclusive Business Action Network (iBAN), in collaboration with the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, the Summit provided a platform for government representatives to share their experiences in promoting policies for inclusive businesses with CEOs seeking to scale up their social impact.

“Inclusive business models purposefully target low-income people and constantly innovate to be competitive and do good at scale. If we are serious about leaving no one behind, we must encourage the business leaders and the technology, business and financial innovations that make inclusive business models,” said Mr. Kaveh Zahedi, Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCAP.

“To make long-term economic growth more equitable, those with less resources have to benefit more from commercial activities. Inclusive businesses generate income and create hundreds of thousands of new employment opportunities for low-income population in South-East Asia,” said Dr. Christian Jahn, Executive Director of iBAN.

Inclusive businesses provide goods, services and livelihoods on a commercially viable basis to people living at the base of the pyramid, making them part of the value chain of companies as suppliers, distributors, retailers or customers. Since 2017, ASEAN governments have started developing policies to encourage more inclusive businesses to emerge and scale up. At the same time, business leaders, the finance community and other stakeholders have stepped up to the task of developing inclusive business models for economic growth and social impact at scale.

Sessions at the Summit offered insights into the ways in which inclusive businesses can inspire and enable small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs to thrive while generating social and environmental benefits. They also focused on building inclusive business models in areas such as agribusiness, services and financing.

“MSMEs are very important to the economy. In 2018, 3 million MSMEs in Thailand created employment for 14 million people and contributed to 43 per cent of the country’s GDP. Inclusive Business could play significant role in improving the competitiveness of MSMEs and the livelihoods of their stakeholders, as inclusive businesses often integrate MSMEs as suppliers, distributors or retailers in their operations and enhance market access for MSMEs,” said Ms. Wimonkan Kosumas, Acting Director General of OSMEP.

At the Summit, ESCAP and iBAN launched a joint report on Advancing Enabling Policy Environments for Inclusive Businesses in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which underscores how awareness of the potential of inclusive businesses for sustainable development, and the championing of committed policymakers have been the key forces behind progress in promoting inclusive business in the region. It further highlights several policy actions and experiences of frontrunners as a potential blueprint for other countries in the region.

For instance, in Cambodia, the government is currently considering a national framework – the Inclusive Business Enabling Environment for Cambodia Strategy. In Malaysia, inclusive business has been included in the National Entrepreneurship Policy (DKN2030).

Download the full report:


The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) serves as the United Nations’ regional hub promoting cooperation among countries to achieve inclusive and sustainable development. The largest regional intergovernmental platform with 53 Member States and 9 associate members, ESCAP has emerged as a strong regional think-tank offering countries sound analytical products that shed insight into the evolving economic, social and environmental dynamics of the region. The Commission’s strategic focus is to deliver on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is reinforced and deepened by promoting regional cooperation and integration to advance responses to shared vulnerabilities, connectivity, financial cooperation and market integration. ESCAP’s research and analysis coupled with its policy advisory services, capacity building and technical assistance to governments aims to support countries’ sustainable and inclusive development ambitions.

About iBAN
The Inclusive Business Action Network (iBAN) is a global initiative supporting the scaling and replication of inclusive business models. Through its strategic pillars iBAN blue and iBAN weave, iBAN manages an innovative online knowledge platform ( on inclusive business and offers a focused Capacity Development Programme for selected companies and policymakers in developing and emerging countries. iBAN creates a space where evidence-based knowledge transforms into learning and new partnerships. With its focus on promoting the upscale of inclusive business models and consequently improving the lives of the poor, iBAN is actively contributing to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. iBAN is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the European Union. It is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

About GIZ
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is a federal enterprise with worldwide operations. It supports the German Government in achieving its objectives in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development and international education. Through its work, GIZ helps people and societies shape their own future and improve their living conditions.

Press Contacts
ESCAP: Kavita Sukanandan - Public Information Officer T: +66 2288 1869 E: [email protected]
iBAN (Germany): Susann Tischendorf - Director Communications and Digital Innovation - T: +49 228 4460 1709 - E: [email protected]

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