At UNGA on September 27, our friends at Unreasonable Group and Business Call to Action held the 9th annual Business Call to Action Forum to discuss the the future of inclusive business. Alongside Unreasonable, First Access, VitalVio, and Thread led a discussion about market-driven business models and how to operate in nascent markets that lack infrastructure for efficient distribution of products and services. Most important, the group discussed how multilateral organizations and corporates can collaborate more effectively with innovators and startups to solve some of the world's biggest problems. Innovation can be difficult for large organizations, but so too is collaborating with smaller players that can move quickly and focus on innovation, but may not know how to navigate the internal workings of the larger organization.
The conclusion? Some corporates are experimenting successfully with internal programs that "quarterback" partnerships with innovators. Such programs allow for an internal champion to lead a partnership and/or pilot, a C-level executive to have clear visibility into timelines and progress, and transparent KPIs that allow the larger company/organization to efficiently test and implement solutions with the innovator.
More about Unreasonable Group:
Unreasonable Group operates immersive programs for growth-stage entrepreneurs offering solutions to seemingly intractable challenges. It is also a multi-media company, a private global network, and an investment firm. Unreasonable forges unlikely partnerships with some of the world’s largest institutions and most admired brands, and operates multiple initiatives across asset classes, industries and geographies, because Unreasonable is dedicated to doing whatever it takes to drive resources to and break down barriers for entrepreneurs solving BFPs.
More about Business Call to Action:
Launched at the United Nations in 2008, Business Call to Action (BCtA) aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that engage people at the base of the economic pyramid (BoP) – people with less than US$10 per day in purchasing power in 2015 US dollars – as consumers, producers, suppliers, distributors of goods and services and employees. BCTA is a unique multilateral alliance among donor governments – including the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), and the United Nations Development Programme, which hosts the secretariat.
More about Thread:
Thread is on a mission to end poverty by creating dignified jobs and responsible, high-quality fabrics. A certified B Corporation, Thread transforms plastic bottles from the streets and canals of Haiti and Honduras into the most responsible fabrics on the planet. Every product made with Thread supports thousands of dignified jobs in the developing world and the U.S. Brands like Timberland and Marmot use Thread's purpose-filled fabrics in their products such as apparel, shoes, and bags to improve their social and environmental impact. To date, Thread has developed a network of 2,500 income opportunities.
More about Vital Vio:
Hospital-acquired infections are the number one patient killer in the U.S. According to the CDC, 1 in 25 patients contract infections from hospital stays. This burden is expensive, costing the U.S. healthcare system an estimated $30 billion a year. These diseases are dangerous and are becoming increasingly resistant. Vital Vio, founded in 2013, is a technology company that has embraced and patented new methods to apply the germ-killing power of 405nm (non-UV) light. The company's groundbreaking technology can be applied to achieve a new kind of surface decontamination with the flip of a light switch. The company has surrounded this technology with the expertise required to ensure the efficacy of this new class of continuous light disinfection. Used in combination with traditional intermittent cleaning in hospitals, homes, public spaces, and workplaces, Vital Vio's technology multi-tasks to safely, effectively, and continuously kill bacteria and other harmful organisms, while also illuminating the room.