Information is the first step towards understanding low-income markets, and how inclusive business models and social enterprise models can improve livelihoods in low-income communities.

Companies typically need to answer questions such as:

  • What are the needs and expectations that need to be addressed, and how big is the market?
  • How do the spending patterns change, and how are products and services used?
  • Who sells them, and through which distribution channels?
  • What innovative business models have already achieved results in the lower income segments, and how have they been implemented?

Over the past 10 years, Reciprocity has compiled a significant body of research on these questions in a variety of sectors such as Energy, Housing, Financial services, Fast Moving Consumer Goods, and Health Care. Our clients include the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), German Development Agency GIZ and the Southern Africa Regional Programme on Access to Medicines and Diagnostics (SARPAM).

Information is a first step towards developing a low-income market strategy.
From here, you can decide to immerse yourself in the dynamics of low-income markets, investigate, design and implement a pilot, or do all three of those.

Our Experience

UNDP, in collaboration with both public and private institutions in the tourism sector in Uganda, is seeking to promote the development of inclusive businesses and and maximize their impact on local low-income communities. The tourism sector in Uganda is currently facing a number of challenges preventing it from reaching its full potential.

Reciprocity organised a workshop in Kampala aimed at creating a “collaborative platform” involving key stakeholders from the public and private sectors, and civil society.

Collaborative platform launched by the Minister of Tourism of Uganda in April 2017, presented a specific plan of action in 5 strategic domains.

Over the past 10 years, The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been one of the leading global organisations conducting extensive research on inclusive business models and their developmental impact, in line with its conviction that “the private sector is a great untapped resource for investment and innovation to achieve the Millennium Development Goals” – which were succeeded by the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 (Creating Value for all: Strategies for doing business with the poor – UNDP GIM Report, 2008).

Launched in 2006, UNDP’s Growing Inclusive Markets (GIM) initiative has compiled the world’s most extensive database of inclusive business models on six continents. Reciprocity contributed two case studies to this growing body of knowledge:
– Mondi Paper Recycling: Outsourcing the Supply Chain
– Moladi : An affordable Housing solution for the poor ?

In late 2010, The German Federal Development Agency GIZ (formerly GTZ) conducted an extensive study on the impact of business on development in 6 countries around the world: Brazil, China, South Africa, Egypt, India and Mexico.

Reciprocity was appointed country team for South Africa by Endeva, GIZ’s contractor.

We produced a country profile as well as two case studies:

  • South Africa: A country profile
  • SABMiller: Case Study
  • Standard Bank: Case Study


The BoP Lab was established in 2006 as a joint initiative by the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) and United States professors Stuart Hart and Michael Gordon. Spanning over four continents, the global network of BoP Learning Labs represents a “consortium of leading thinkers and practitioners interested in exploring new business opportunities in low-income communities that would benefit business as well as the local community”.

The aim of the Learning Lab Southern Africa is to provide coverage and exposure to local inclusive business models and innovative business approaches with a high socio-economic impact.

Reciprocity is in charge of the events and publications of the BoP Learning Lab. The BoP Learning Lab’s publishing unit has compiled an extensive collection of fact sheets, documenting the private sector’s role as a driver of socio-economic transformation.
Access the publications