Inclusive business can create opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship for people living at the so-called bottom of the pyramid either directly or through companies’ value chains as suppliers, distributors, and retailers. Alternatively, companies can develop ways to supply affordable, high quality products and services to meet basic needs for food, water, sanitation, housing and health care. Or they can develop innovative business models to enhance access to key development enablers such as energy, communications, financing and insurance.

Private sector firms can derive economic benefits by reducing risk, enhancing productivity, and expanding markets, while at the same time making a substantive contribution to addressing some of the world’s most daunting challenges; farmers and rural communities can benefit from the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of private sector investment, as well as directly and indirectly from the capital that the private sector can bring to resolving development challenges.

Inclusive business models provide an optimal congruence of private sector and development policy interests and objectives around the sustainable development goals (SDGs) agenda. Inclusive business is interesting for companies because it can offer new opportunities for innovation, growth, and competitiveness as well as positive social and development impact. It is interesting for bilateral and multilateral donors, foundations, governments, and civil society organizations because it has the potential to drive development impact in self-sustaining, self-multiplying ways that do not require continuous infusions of grant funding. And it is interesting for the poor because it brings greater access, choice, and opportunity in their lives and futures.

The world in which we live is global and interdependent, and that is what the new SDGs recognize. The new development agenda has a truly universal framework that goes beyond the separatism of simply environmental, social or economic sustainability and includes so much more that is important to people: measures of voice, job security, social protection, equality, sustainability, and dignity would all help paint a richer picture that is so much needed for poor people living in rural areas. It is an inclusive agenda for world prosperity that incorporates the safe operating space of a stable and resilient planet.

While the importance of capacity development is acknowledged a dozen times in the SDGs, in addition to explicit references to partnerships, our experiences shows that this work often lacks concerted effort and concomitant investment. A seeming lack of “absorptive capacity” by marginalized communities and their organizations is not an argument against but rather for making investments in (local) capacity development.

Globally there are by now many examples where cross-sector partnerships are being forged to create shared value in the agricultural sector including (but not limited to) to areas like co-delivery of rural services; technological innovation for development; innovative development financing; and co-creation of value for social empowerment (Broker Online, 2013).

Development Connect wants to bring, together with our clients, research on capacity development, partnership arrangements and innovation much more into the core of public, private, and community initiatives to convince resource organizations, investors, incubator funds and the likes to expand financial investment to local capacity and enterprise development. By promoting system wide engagement across programs, service delivery sectors or agricultural value chains, we facilitate structured engagement across many actors to form multi stranded movement that make collective sense, and helps inform “investors” so to help push and pull for whole system change across regions and countries.

We also engages with partners to invest in the design and delivery of public private community partnerships, using a globally tested assessment guide for partnership development.

There is a widespread assumption that everyone can partner. However, this is not true. Some individuals and organizations are adept at collaboration and others are not. There is a need to develop capacity for collaboration in individuals and organizations in order for partnerships to deliver on the promise of shared value. Individual skills and organizational competencies (as well as incentives) for cross-sector collaboration are vital in order to successfully navigate any partnering cycle. The ability to improve the quality of the relationships, align values, facilitate new behaviors, challenge conventional thinking and encourage creativity are important components for which capacity development is needed.

Development Connect is skilled in facilitating collaboration effectively and efficiently, coaching organizations on how to be good partners, ensuring appropriate governance and management mechanisms are in place to ensure successful collaboration. We offer support in strengthening capacities of various actors to work together more effectively across sectoral lines, between different levels of government, across geographic divides, or among government, private sector and civil society to strengthen their capacities to collaborate in defining, pursuing and achieving national goals and targets. The specific collaborative arrangements and capacity needs and assets will vary for value chains, service delivery sectors and for each geographical context. Each and every client can count on us to help develop a fit-for-purpose capacity development response that is adapted to local realities.