Development activists have emphasised the importance of an inclusive business model for the improvement of the health, food, nutrition, energy, water and sanitation services of the low-income group of people.
Defining inclusive business, Bijon Islam, co-founder and chief executive officer of LightCastle Partners, said this model generates a high development impact by improving access to goods and services for the base-of-the-pyramid population of low-income people.
This business model also provides income and employment opportunities to the low-income people as producers, suppliers, distributors, employers and employees, he added.
Bijon Islam made the comments in his keynote presentation at a seminar titled "Investment on Inclusive Business" on September 23 in Dhaka.
Supported by ICCO Corporation, SDG Wash and Gonoshasthaya Kendra, SNV Netherlands Development Organization in Bangladesh and Dutch-Bangla Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DBCCI) jointly organised the programme.
Bijon Islam said many enterprises in Bangladesh want to connect deeply with their target community and solve social and environmental challenges through their business models, with a theory of change.
Citing a study of LightCastle Partners, he said respondents have identified the pandemic as an opportunity to launch new products and services that would help both themselves and their target markets.
Highlighting challenges, he said that there is a knowledge gap at the enterprises and investors' level.
So, he recommended ensuring a standardised and formal impact measurement framework, and conduct business training for early-stage entrepreneurs to help them scale faster.
Speaking as the chief guest, Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh said, "We have to accommodate the micro, small and medium entrepreneurs in the shed of inclusive business, and also the informal sectors."
He also said that Dhaka is the city of opportunities and it is business friendly.
Inviting investors to invest here as there is so much scope, the mayor said, "We have a vision to make the city more prosperous in the course of time."
Dutch Ambassador to Bangladesh Harry Verweij said that Covid-19 has brought many challenges and simultaneously many opportunities.
Now doing business is not enough, it needs creativity and innovation, he said adding, it also requires mutual investment.
There is a potential opportunity of investment in Bangladesh as the country has secured good economic growth, he said adding, "We have to work together to make the youth creative and innovative to boost social progress."
Praising the government's initiatives and immediate response during the Covid-19 crisis, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries President Sheikh Fazle Fahim said that the government's various stimulus packages and the extended support by banks have made the way of economic recovery smooth.
DBCCI President Md Anwar Shawkat Afser and ICCO Country Director Shakeb Nabi also spoke at the programme.