On Thursday, June 13, the Guide on NGO and Company Partnerships for Inclusive Business was handed over to Bart Romijn, director of Partos. Inclusive Business Partnerships constitute an innovative and promising form of cooperation between the NGO world and the private sector – and this Guide offers NGO practitioners inspiring and useful instructions on how to manage them. The launch of the publication took place during an event organised by the Netherlands Africa Business Council (NABC) and INTL FCStone.
The event of June 13 focused on the future of the African continent and on how NGOs and the private sector can work together. After a short introduction by the organisers, the event featured an interview panel with Monique van ‘t Hek, director of Plan International Nederland, and Erik Ackerman, director of VSO Nederland – both member organisations of Partos.
The discussion revolved around the unexploited economic case of the African youth bulge. In fact, the African youth is growing at a galloping pace, yet more than 1/3 of them is unemployed. At the same time, just one extra year of education for young girls allows them to generate 20% more income. Accordingly, education and employment were identified as main priorities for development efforts in the African continent, in order to be able to break the poverty circle. For employment, companies play an essential role – which is one of the reasons why it is crucial that NGOs and businesses work together effectively.
But how to do it? The NGO world and the private sector differ significantly and sometimes cannot even understand each other. This makes cooperation between the two challenging. The Guide on NGO and Company Partnerships for Inclusive Business, which was launched at the same event, provides NGO practitioners with useful instructions on the topic, by looking at the current practice of such partnerships. Inclusive business refers to the development of a commercially viable business model which helps ensure a sustainable, positive impact by integrating low-income people into value chains, in a logic of mutual benefit.
The Guide on NGO and Company Partnerships for Inclusive Business
Endeva, which was commissioned by The Spindle to write this publication, collected a number of case studies. The content was fine-tuned with a core group of the Dutch Platform Leave No One Behind (consisting of various members of Partos). Accordingly, the Guide is specifically aimed at NGOs, but it is undoubtedly relevant for companies too to be able to understand their NGO partners better and be confronted with a mirror of their own experience. The publication is a very practical tool which focuses on the how of inclusive business partnerships and covers the entire process – from the decision to engage in such a partnership to the possibilities of scaling up or moving on. You can read the full guide here.
During the event, Nelleke van der Vleuten, one of the co-authors of the publication, handed over the Guide on NGO and Company Partnerships for Inclusive Business to Bart Romijn, director of Partos. Bart Romijn described the publication as highly informative, instructive and inspiring and mentioned three critical success factors for the way ahead:
- NGO should embrace the SDGs in your overall work as a goal-setting framework to be able to distinguish really valuable, strategic partnerships with the business world;
- NGOs and business need to break down the barriers and invest in mutual understanding;
- inclusive business partnerships have a great unexploited potential which needs to be unlocked.
In other words, Bart Romijn invited both NGOs and businesses to make good use of this guide in order to engage more extensively in Inclusive Business partnerships!