We believe that the private, public, and non-profit sectors together have a critical role to play in developing market-based solutions for the Base of the Pyramid. We work:


With large corporations, helping them launch internally or invest into innovative ventures addressing social problems through market-based mechanisms.

With social investors (aid agencies, foundations or social impact investors), helping them refine their strategy to support inclusive businesses, providing technical assistance to these grantees or investees, or building their knowledge base.


With social businesses, helping them restructure their business models, raise funds or develop new partnerships.



We support corporations in solving major problems in a way that is aligned with their corporate mission, capabilities, and aspirations of their managers. Our work with them typically includes:

  • Identification of new market opportunities

  • Co-creation of innovative strategies

  • Business and financial planning

  • Organizational and change management support

  • Implementation and performance optimization


Client stories

LafargeHolcim Affordable Housing initiative, focusing on innovative solutions for the construction, renovation and extension of affordable houses,
has provided 440,000 people with decent housing in around 25 countries in 2016.

Based on a global scan of affordable housing solutions, we surfaced the opportunity for Larfarge in 2010, which led to LafargeHolcim Affordable Housing initiative.

Total, through its Access to Energy program, reached 1.4 million solar products sold as of early 2016, which makes it one of the largest distributors of quality solar products in emerging countries.

We helped Total design its strategy, build its business plan, and launch the project.

Unilever HomeCare Division is uncovering new opportunities to help its consumers deal with increasingly scarce water resources.

Leveraging our work on safe drinking water, we scoped the global strategy and designed one pilot launched in 2016.


The Toilet Board Coalition is a coalition of leading
companies (Unilever, Kimberly-Clark, LIXIL Corporation, Firmenich), investors, experts and non-profits, who accelerate market-based sanitation initiatives.

We helped launch the alliance and initiatives in Ghana, the Philippines, and India.


Our HEC-Ashoka-Hystra Executive Education course on inclusive businesses trains “intrapreneur corporate executives” from companies such as SAB Miller, GSK, Sodexo, McCain, Renault and Danone.

We run the program with Ashoka and HEC. For more information please contact us or download our 2017 brochure.

Replay our webinar on What can Inclusive Business add to your organization, April 2016.



We work closely with development agencies, impact investors, non-profit organizations, corporate and private foundations that seek to work with social businesses, helping them navigate this buoyant sector and collaborate with partners they are not always used to. In particular we have helped such actors on three different fronts:

  • Improving collaboration with private sector

  • Providing technical assistance to their investees

  • Building their knowledge base
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Clients stories

The French Development Agency launched its social business strategy in February 2015, and already started supporting multiple enterprises and social businesses.

We helped design this strategy through a mapping of the donor landscape, a study of social enterprise needs, and recommendations for AFD (study done in partnership with Dalberg).


The Children Investment Fund Foundation is one of the leading foundations involved in nutrition globally.

We helped frame the Foundation’s nutrition strategy  including aligning internal stakeholders. We then helped refine the private sector component of this strategy, and conducted a due diligence on a nutrition player considered for investment by CIFF.


SDC is supporting over 60 social entrepreneurs in Latin America with strategic planning, financial support and connections.

The program is run as a partnership with a joint Hystra, Ashoka and SDC team. Hystra conducts yearly impact assessments of all entrepreneurs both for backstopping purposes and to access what additional support could be provide to the entrepreneurs.


The IDB works to improve lives in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Bank provides financial and technical support to countries working to reduce poverty and inequality, advance infrastructure and achieve development in a sustainable, climate-friendly way.

We prepared the study “The broadband effect”, on the role that broadband can play in enhancing market-based models for the BoP in health, agriculture, education or financial services.
Then we conducted a workshop with 10 LatAm companies selected by the IDB, to help them think through their own strategies to leverage “the broadband effect”.


responsAbility Investments AG is one of the world's leading asset managers in the field of development investments and offers professionally-managed investment solutions to private, institutional and public investors. The company's investment vehicles supply debt and equity financing to non-listed firms in emerging and developing economies. 

We worked with responsAbility by providing training support in the area of energy access investments. We also provided technical assistance to selected investees in the areas of sales, marketing and distribution strategies.



Our experience so far in supporting directly social entrepreneurs and business has included helping them in:

  • Building business plans and revising business models

  • Improving sales and marketing strategies

  • Building partnerships with corporations and investors


Clients stories

MicroCred, a group that invests in and manages microfinance institutions since 2015, decided to start an inclusive business called Baobab+ to distribute quality solar lanterns, starting in Senegal.

We provided support in building the strategy and advisory throughout pilot phase.


Stiftung Solarenergie - Solar Energy Foundation (SEF) works to build “hybrid value chains” that address barriers and market discontinuities that have prevented off-grid communities from gaining ongoing access to the energy they need to develop.

We prepared the business plan and initial strategy of SEF distribution arm in the Philippines, Hybrid Social Solutions, and supported its early implementation.


eKutir is an Indian social business founded by the Ashoka Fellow Kailash Chandra Mishra, which has done pioneering work with smallholder farmers and now expanded its services to sanitation and social finance.

We supported eKutir in shaping the business plan of its sanitation venture called Svadha, together with its long-standing partner Unilever. Olivier, our Managing director, is also a Board member of eKutir.