Inclusive Business is an innovative way to alleviate poverty through financially sustainable and scalable business solutions. Alas, to tackle the problem of poverty, these solutions need to happen at large scale. Replication is one way to multiply the impact of proven models. Meet & Multiply is Endeva’s approach to facilitating replication.
Meet & Multiply brings together three types of players: originators, adopters, and ecosystem partners. The format is best implemented alongside existing Inclusive Business conferences. We first ran Meet & Multiply at the IADB BASE Forum in Mexico in 2015, followed by, a smaller version around the BoP Global Network Conference in India in 2018. After these two pilots we reviewed the approach to see how we could best replicate replication.
So, how does it work? Firstly, we give the stage to organizations with a proven model that is ready for expansion. EKutir has participated in both pilots. In India, they reach around 70,000 marginalized farmers with human-digital services to link them to information, services, and markets. Farmers who benefit from these services improve their income by USD 200 per month on average.
Originators like eKutir are matched with adopters of their model. Adopters are companies and entrepreneurs who want to replicate the model in their country. Adopters apply upfront and are selected with the originators. Finally, we invite ecosystem partners, including finance providers, consultancies, and facilitators to present their services. The event is a half day long and takes participants through an interactive process. When originators and adopters find out they are a good match we link them to a support network. At the end of the event we encourage commitments by all participants on which follow-up actions they intend to take.
How can we improve the effectiveness of “Meet & Multiply” even further? When checking back with the adopters one year after Mexico, two main factors were cited for not accomplishing all that was intended: time and money. We have built in measures to actively tackle these issues:
- Time: After the matchmaking event, partners go back to their day-to-day business, and are often absorbed by it. Time zone differences add to the complication of finding time for follow up. We now include a structured follow up with guiding material over six months after the event in order to keep the momentum going.
- Money: There are costs involved in exploring the viability of a new model, including possibly visiting the originator or testing it on site. Investing this money can be a hurdle, especially for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Social businesses also tend to look for grants, but this also takes time. Going forward, we will seek to get partners on board that have an interest in funding the immediate follow up actions, such as visits or consulting fees. We will also try to match funders to the originator models so as to enable a direct connection at the event.
- Impact monitoring: We will embed a monitoring process from the beginning, in order to learn what works and continuously improve the format.
The next edition of Meet & Multiply will happen in collaboration with the Inclusive Business Action Network and the Sankalp Africa Forum, on February 20, 2019 in Nairobi. We aim to replicate our replication format more often now, to accelerate the adoption of winning models across the globe. We will keep improving along the way. Be part of the journey!