Washington, D.C., October 10, 2012—
Leadership, local knowledge, and financial sustainability are key components in creating opportunity at the base of the economic pyramid, according to a new report by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group.
Being the Change: Inspiring the Next Generation of Inclusive Business Entrepreneurs Impacting the Base of the Pyramid
highlights the personal stories of the leaders of some of IFC’s inclusive business clients. These clients have developed innovative and successful business models that expand access to goods, services, and livelihoods for poor people, while generating strong financial returns.
“By bringing low-income producers and consumers into their supply chains, these companies are pioneers,” said IFC Vice President, Business Advisory Services Nena Stoiljkovic. “Creating inclusive business models in developing economies is a top priority for IFC, and critical in building prosperity.”
Based on interviews with 14 founders and CEOs of IFC client companies, including Mitchell Elegbe of Interswitch Ltd. in Nigeria, the report identifies a number of lessons on inclusive business, including the need to balance short-term returns with long-term goals and the importance of knowledge of local conditions, needs, and capabilities. The stories also reflect the overarching optimism these leaders share about the future of inclusive business.
Since 2005, IFC has invested over $7 billion in more than 300 companies that focus on inclusive business models in over 80 countries, reaching 250 million people. IFC aims to increase the number of financially sustainable, inclusive business models operating at scale to help address the issue of access to goods, services, and livelihoods for billions of low-income people.
For more information about inclusive business at IFC, including the report, previous publications, and case studies, visit
About Interswitch Ltd.
Interswitch is a payment processing company that improves the lives of Nigerians living at the base of the pyramid by offering a method for people to make transactions using pre-paid cards or mobile money. In 2011, Interswitch had 15,300 direct and indirect BOP customers. Interswitch helps underbanked customers access and transfer money easily by offering the Verve, a pre-funded card that can be funded through mobile phones, via the Internet, or at ATMs, point-of-sale terminals, and bank branches. The money is available instantly to the recipient and can be withdrawn at an ATM. Parents use the Verve to send money to their children in college, conglomerates use it to pay casual workers, and people across Nigeria use it to send money to loved ones in rural areas.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit