When Shell Foundation was created in 2000, we set out to test a theory, largely unproven at the time, that market forces could be directed to deliver lasting socio-economic, health and environmental value to low-income communities – and that eradicating many of the world’s most entrenched development challenges could be financed predominantly from private capital.
Enterprise Solutions to 2030 offers our most complete analysis of this work: the impact resulting from over $207m investment into social enterprises and market-enablers, the common features of success and failure and the lessons from the emergence of promising “inclusive” markets that inform our strategy today.
We believe that prioritising the growth of markets focused on low-income consumers will result in the faster delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals, at a lower public cost, and with more pervasive long-term impact.
There are two major challenges to this vision. First, there remain very few examples of social enterprises serving low-income consumers at a meaningful scale. Second, when we examine the formation of inclusive markets such as microfinance, mobile money or off-grid solar, we typically see a time lag of several decades between the emergence of a viable technology or business solution and the growth of a vibrant global market.
Enterprise Solutions for 2030 aggregates the learning from more than 200 partnerships with public and private social investors over the last 15 years, exploring different ways in which resources can be deployed to eradicate obstacles to energy access, sustainable urban mobility and job creation.
We focus on two frameworks to improve the collective impact of market-builders including foundations, governments, corporates, social investors and NGOs. These aim to map:
- The specific types of market-building support that must be provided simultaneously for social enterprises serving low-income consumers to succeed
- The comparative advantages, objectives and incentives of different stakeholders and how these can be harnessed to forge stronger ecosystems that rapidly accelerate market growth
Based on these frameworks, we share our views on the best way in which Shell Foundation can help to achieve the SDGs over the coming years. In making these views public, we invite insight from peers to build our understanding and improve our effectiveness going forward.