A successful afternoon full of interesting presentations drew 100 people to Handelshögskolan in Gothenburg on the 18th of October, where the concept of inclusive business was introduced and explored with Sweden’s business and academic community.
The afternoon was kicked off by Inclusive Business Sweden’s CEO Mike Debelak, who provided an overview of inclusive business which can be found here. That overview was deepened through the presentation by Inclusive Business Sweden’s Ana Perez Aponte, on the work currently being conducted on Payment for Ecosystem Services in the wetlands of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.
Ensuing presentations by Sven Östberg from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Charlotte Kalin of Chamber Trade Sweden, gave interesting perspectives on business for development. Sustainable trade, reducing trade barriers and inter-governmental co-operation are key factors to facilitating business and economic growth in developing countries.
Michael Anthony from Allianz, one of the world’s largest insurers, told of when the insurance giant took the step into the micro-insurance market following the 2004 tsunami. With over 20 million people now insured, primarily in India, the story is a moving account of how business with the base of the pyramid provides security and enables forward planning in very poor communities of the world.
The last presentation for the day was given by Professor Iqbal Quadir , from MIT and founder of Grameenphone, Bangladesh’s largest telecommunications company and one of the world’s most successful examples of well-implemented inclusive business strategies. Professor Quadir’s talk inspired greatly and pressed the point that poor people are fully able to pull themselves out of poverty given the means and the tools, which business can often provide.
The afternoon ended with a panel discussion where the presenters where challenged by interesting questions from the audience, followed by a mingle with food and drinks. The forum provided a great platform to meet, learn about and discuss the global challenge of poverty.