Live From IBF2013: Building the Future of Inclusive Business

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As the 16th International Business Forum kicks off in Istanbul, our team of six Student Reporters is on the ground with interviews, insights and stories of inclusive and green businesses from around the world. We’ll hear from the entrepreneurs themselves, as well as global policymakers, development financial institution representatives, and a variety of practitioners discussing the future of green and inclusive businesses in emerging regional markets. 


Apolline Nassour / Student Reporter

ISTANBUL, Turkey – “Our business is profitable because it is inclusive” was how one entrepreneur framed her success in the captivating video that opened up the 16th International Business Forum (IBF) in Istanbul. Most of the attendees nodded in agreement, their mission and work captured well in that single sentence.

Over 200 entrepreneurs, investors, CEOs, policymakers, NGO representatives and sustainable development experts from different continents have gathered for two days to discuss this year’s IBF theme: Green and Inclusive Business – Exploring and Developing Markets for Sustainable Growth. The challenge of how to balance purpose and profit – integrating environmental and social goals into a sustainable business model – is the overarching theme for the workshops and plenaries of the conference.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Hans-Jürgen Beerfeltz, Secretary of State for the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), praised the conference organizers for their choice of Istanbul as the host city. “Istanbul is the ideal location for the conference”, said Beerfeltz, referring to the city’s unique position connecting the Orient and Occident. He also emphasized the importance of this year’s topic, stating that “inclusive businesses are not some weak idea,” instead insisting that “they are serious and successful.”

The ideas shared by Mr. Beerfeltz and the other opening speakers sparked the participation of the attendees during the first dialogue, which covered a range of issues, from challenges facing youth to issues of financial sustainability and policy framework surrounding inclusive businesses and NGOs. The atmosphere buzzed with energy.

Participants and panelists seemed to embrace the conference’s theme of learning from each others’ challenges, while celebrating the values of persistence and courage.

“There are no failures,” remarked Salinee Tavaranan, Founder & CEO of SunSawang, a young social enterprise based in Thailand, “it is about persistence.”

StudentReporter has six reporters on the scene “persistently” chasing stories and investigating the deeper topics surrounding “inclusive business” as part of this year’s Student Reporter IBF2013 coverage.

Our team will delve into the successes and challenges of green and inclusive businesses and how they relate to youth, technology and international cooperation in the current global platform, focusing on three specific tracks:

1.) Fast-Forward: The future of inclusive business. What role are youth & technology playing in the future of inclusive business in emerging economies?

2.) Challenges and Incentives: What are the obstacles on the road to achieving inclusive businesses and inclusive ecosystems? How important are policy frameworks, financial support and networks? What incentives exist for inclusive businesses?

3.) Behind the Business: A closer look and comparisons of innovative and successful green and inclusive business models from around the world.

We will also launch our short Mini-Series: Impact Istanbul, featuring conference highlights, round-ups, interviews, Q&A’s, and speaker profiles.

Stay tuned!


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