Strengthening SMEs and promoting inclusive business

Foto: WB Photo Collection

Strengthening SMEs

SMEs play an important role in the promotion of local economies and generation of investment and employment for a large part of the population in both developed and developing countries.

Apart from being an excellent method to drive economic development and to distribute wealth, SMEs are very flexible and highly innovative with great potential to contribute sustainable solutions to the main challenges of development.

Nevertheless, SMEs face many limitations due to their size and lack of management. Amongst the main drawbacks are: restricted access to funds, limited human resources -frequently without specialized training-, low penetration of international markets and difficulties when it comes to exporting, or low levels of productivity and capacity to manage.

For this reason, CAD promotes various initiatives aiming to strengthen and create more opportunities for SMEs worldwide. Services CAD provides in this field include the following:

  • SME Acceleration Program: Acceleration strategy of SMEs throughout their productive life cycle by promoting the generation of added value in the triple bottom line (economic, social and environmental).
  • Technology Updating Process: Analysis and identification of the most relevant clean technologies to improve the efficiency of SMEs and improve their productivity as well as their environmental and social impact.
  • Workshops and capacity building: Trainings and processes of capacity building to train entrepreneurs and SME managers in leadership skills and innovation.

Promotion of entrepreneurship and inclusive business at the Base of the Pyramid

Inclusive business is a business model that creates new opportunities for entrepreneurs as well as for low-income communities, involving them whether in designing the business model or in its development and implementation, involving them in the value chain of the company as producers, distributors, customers and / or strategic partners.

CAD, through its partnership with the Innovation Centre for Inclusive Business (CINI), and their participation in the Global Network of Laboratories Base of the Pyramid, is committed to promote innovation as a transforming element of inclusive business models.

In collaboration with CINI, CAD has developed a methodology supported by the Cycle of Innovation for Inclusive Businesses, which goes from the initial identification of opportunities to the expansion and replication of an innovation. The phases included in this approach are the following.

  1. Identify: Identifying needs and analysis of potential for innovation.
  2. Combine: A strategy for partnering with stakeholders
  3. Co-create: Co-creating and co-designing inclusive business models
  4. Implement: Implementation and positioning in the market
  5. Evaluate: Monitoring and Evaluation of the results of the business model
  6. Communicate: Strategy for communication and sharing of knowledge.
  7. Replicate: Analysis of expansion and potential for replication


Figure: Cycle of Innovation for Inclusive Businesses