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Across the developing world, a new kind of business is emerging to serve and benefit the poor. It is known by many names: market-based solutions to poverty, inclusive businesses, impact enterprises, social enterprises, or enterprises serving the Bottom of the Pyramid. Impact investors, foundations, aid donors, and governments bank on these businesses to grow and flourish, and generate both financial returns and social impact on a large scale; however, few enterprises have been able to achieve this scale. Beyond the Pioneer explores the barriers to scaling and highlights case studies of market-based solutions that have achieved scale.

This report was published by DTTIPL in April 2014 under the research and authorship of Harvey Koh, Nidhi Hegde, and Ashish Karamchandani. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

Top Takeaways

1. Scaling barriers occur at 4 distinct but related levels: the firm itself; the industry value chain of which the firm is a part; public goods relevant to the industry; and governmental laws, policies, and actions.

2. Industry facilitators—actors who are not themselves participants in the industry—can play a vital, catalytic role in resolving scaling barriers for the benefit of many firms, not just one.

3. Successful industry facilitators help the whole industry move forward, balance design with adaptation, mobilize others without driving a specific agenda, pay attention to leadership, and think long term.

Scaling barriers are often not at the level of the firm itself, but in the industry ecosystem around it.