Scaling with NGOs and small entrepreneurs Inclusive business initiatives that have effectively partnered with NGOs and small entrepreneurs have done so through the following means: Reform organizational architecture. Esoko Ltd., is a good example of how reform of organizational structure can help inclusive innovations succeed. Initially Esoko relied heavily on government agencies to market and collect data for its price information service for small farmers. However, as Esoko grew, gained more local clients, and started to understand the market better, executives discovered that farmers and traders mistrusted data that came from the government, and didn’t want to act on it. Esoko therefore changed its organizational structure to employ information agents who came from local communities near the agricultural markets.
Establish in-house platforms to help partnerships run smoothly. Natura, a large Brazilian cosmetics company, recognized early on that collaboration would be critical to earning local communities’ trust and gaining access to their knowledge. After approaching several NGOs, the company recognized that a lack of organization within these entities would make it difficult to achieve the operational efficiency necessary to develop a profitmaking IBI. The company then set up an “ecorelations management” department to manage NGO partnerships and train them to improve operational efficiency. Partner with authentic NGOs. With the help of local NGOs, Klabin S.A., Brazil’s largest paper producer, built long-term relationships with local tree farmers and thus was able to convince them that sustainable forests—an important Klabin goal—would help secure their industry’s long-term viability. Working with NGOs to develop lasting relationships capable of inspiring behavioral change in local communities has been key to the project’s success. The examples above show that inclusive business initiatives can achieve scale and become commercially viable. To achieve this goal, companies must invest in actions empowering their respective IBI-teams to systematically leverage the power of external and internal stakeholders.