Business development services (BDS) are a “wide array of non-financial services critical to the entry, survival, productivity, competitiveness, and growth” of BOP businesses. BDS interventions can be an effective instrument for policy makers to support private sector growth in BOP markets. For inclusive businesses, BDS can be delivered in the form of operational and strategic business consultancies, skills transfer, marketing assistance, cost management, and technology development. Although BDS do not include direct financial support, they can be used to facilitate access to credit and other financial services, such as banking and financial planning.
BDS providers, such as government agencies, NGOs, private firms, or industry associations should perform comprehensive assessments of the local BOP market and develop their services in collaboration with their clients according to their specific needs. In order to be effective and sustainable, services should be provided in a business-like manner at affordable prices and should build upon the existing local models. Successful BDS providers will empower inclusive business entrepreneurs and drive private sector growth in BOP markets. They can provide knowledge, networks, and support to pilot inclusive business models.