Focus Area

Inclusive Business at the Base of the Pyramid

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Inclusive Business is one fundamental way for the private sector to help end poverty by 2030.

There are 4.5 billion people who live at the base of the economic pyramid on $8 a day or less. Inclusive businesses employ market-based solutions to expand affordable and quality access to goods, services, and livelihoods for base of the pyramid entrepreneurs, consumers, and workers.

IFC's Inclusive Business Factsheet


What is Inclusive Business?

Inclusive businesses provide livelihood opportunities for people living at the base of the economic pyramid and expand access to basic goods and services. They do this in ways that are commercially and financially self-sustaining by engaging people at the base of the pyramid as suppliers, employees, distributors, or retailers, or by focusing on the needs of the base of the pyramid consumer.

Why is Inclusive Business important?

The COVID-19 crisis reversed gains in the fight against poverty, and climate change, if unchecked, could lead millions more into poverty over the next 10 years. Inclusive businesses play a fundamental role in closing entrenched development gaps and providing opportunities for people at the base of the pyramid. Inclusive Business supports the World Bank’s goals of reducing poverty and increasing shared prosperity, as well as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals aimed at ending poverty by 2030.

At a Glance

Companies increasingly recognize the business benefits of an inclusive approach — from expanded market share to a diversified supply chain and more. Inclusive Business has proven to be good business.

With $27 billion committed to inclusive businesses since 2005, IFC is a leading Inclusive Business investor. These investments reach across industries, including financial markets, agribusiness, health, education, technology, and infrastructure.

Our Approach

IFC champions Inclusive Business by creating solutions for clients, developing inclusive strategies, and delivering thought leadership.

Rosario Huaman works in her corn field with her grandson Tiago Pariona in Acpitan. Photo: Dominic Chavez/IFC

Creating Solutions for Clients

IFC works with clients to develop tailored operational solutions that support client performance and expand a project’s impact at the base of the pyramid. IFC also explores new financing structures and instruments that generate positive impact at the base of the pyramid.

Developing Inclusive Strategies

IFC advances inclusive business frameworks to foster inclusiveness in its investments. It has developed sector-based tools to help identify inclusive business opportunities and systematically reviews all projects to identify, classify, and increase the impact for people at the base of the pyramid. 

Farmers preparing to weigh their cotton on scales to be sold to Sofitex in Koumbia Village, Burkina Faso. Photo: Dominic Chavez/IFC

Delivering Thought Leadership

To inform IFC operations and shape the inclusive business field, IFC conducts research and disseminates knowledge about effective inclusive business models and practices. This includes case studies from across IFC’s inclusive business portfolio. 



Evangelia Tsiftsi
Communications Specialist, Gender and Economic Inclusion
+1 202-473-4159