How donors engage with business

Research reports and studies
August 2013
William Smith
Business engagement is a tool through which donors can better achieve their existing objectives. This paper lays out types of business, modalities of engagement and some approaches to donors-business interaction. It concludes:

  • Business engagement is a tool through which donors can better achieve their existing objectives, rather than a separate objective or programme in its own right.

  • Engagement with business does not necessarily focus on donors funding the activities of private-sector entities. Donors may actually play more of a facilitating role as brokers of knowledge and relationships.

  • Donors should recognise that companies' core business activities and corporate social responsibility activities are increasingly merged; many companies value brand reputation as a business asset and recognise the inherent social impact of their business operations.
  • Business engagement forms a part of many familiar development approaches: private-sector development, 'markets working for the poor' (M4P), value chain development. However, it is possible to engage with business for specific purposes without adopting these conceptual frameworks.
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