What is the Inclusive Markets Approach?
FSG’s inclusive markets work helps develop and scale inclusive business models that create new opportunities and better lives for the global poor.
The Evolution of Inclusive Markets
The concept of inclusive markets stemmed from the efforts of Ashish Karamchandani to build a new low-income housing industry in India that would enable thousands of poor households to escape the slums in growing megacities such as Mumbai.
What began as simple market research to understand the customers’ needs soon evolved into the incubation of a full business ecosystem: developing the business model for housing supply and financing; creating housing finance companies; helping developers enter the business; and working with the government to formulate conducive policy.
Harvey Koh joined Karamchandani in Mumbai in 2011, and together they began working to apply this model to help build and scale inclusive business models across an increasing range of sectors, including water, sanitation, education, and healthcare. Their approach was grounded in deep customer understanding and rigorous business analytics, while being focused on achieving results on the ground.
Drawing from this practical experience, Koh has authored two globally influential reports. In 2012, From Blueprint to Scale (Monitor Group) identified the problem of the “pioneer gap” in support for entrepreneurs who are proving out new business models. In 2014, Beyond the Pioneer (Monitor Deloitte) described the full range of scaling barriers that confront new business models. It also highlighted the key role played by “industry facilitators” in helping new models achieve scale impact.
Today, Karamchandani and Koh lead FSG’s inclusive markets group from our Mumbai office, conducting projects and research to drive sustainable social change through inclusive markets in sectors as diverse as water, sanitation, education, and healthcare.
Getting Started with Inclusive Markets
- Hardware Pioneers: Harnessing the Impact Potential of Technology Entrepreneurs
Explores the barriers unique to entrepreneurs seeking to spread innovative hardware technology to those living in poverty in developing countries and provides recommendations for cross-sector assistance.
- Beyond the Pioneer: Getting Inclusive Industries to Scale
Explores the barriers to scaling for market-based solutions and highlights case studies of market-based solutions that have achieved scale.
- From Blueprint to Scale: The Case for Philanthropy in Impact Investing
Philanthropic support can help inclusive business models succeed by providing needed funding at early stages.
- “Closing the Pioneer Gap,” Stanford Social Innovation Review
Many entrepreneurs creating companies that serve the poor find it difficult to raise capital, particularly at the early stages of their company’s growth.
- “Markets for Good: Removing the Barriers,” Alliance Magazine
Highlights the potential role of impact investors as market facilitators and includes responses to Beyond the Pioneer and other perspectives on impact investing.
- “Is the Bottom of the Pyramid Really for You?” Harvard Business Review
Learn how smart companies have managed to surmount the barriers to success and how innovative thinking has opened new markets.
See the newest inclusive markets publications from FSG, including articles and in-depth reports.
• Learn more about our program work in inclusive markets.