Business Innovation Facility

The Convention on Business Integrity (CBi) is the implementing partner for the Business Innovation Facility (BIF) project in Nigeria, working in collaboration with the PriceWaterhouseCoopers, London. BIF is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and lies at the heart of the UK Government’s commitment to building stronger partnerships with business. The programme is aimed at developing new market systems approaches – working in partnership with business and other market participants – that ultimately lead to improvements in the livelihoods and wellbeing of poor people, whilst improving bottom lines for commercial organizations. In addition to Nigeria, BIF also has projects in Myanmar (Burma) and Malawi.

During the 3-year pilot learning phase which ended in December 2013, CBi successfully delivered 10 major BIF projects and several other smaller ones across areas of business as wide-ranging as banking and credit facilities, agri-business, food and beverage production, domestic gas consumer products and solar power.

The second phase of the Business Innovation Facility (BIF) programme commenced in first quarter (Q1) of 2014, and builds on lessons learned from the BIF pilot. During this phase, the programme is working to improve the performance of markets that matter most to poor people; those that provide livelihoods and access to basic services. It seeks to understand how and why markets are failing to serve the poor and, through the provision of technical assistance, support businesses to invest in ways that address these problems. In effect, BIF facilitates commercially sustainable innovations that have the potential to address the root causes that prevent market growth and limit the poor from economic participation as producers, consumers or employees. The main mechanism for facilitating change is through delivery of technical assistance to selected partners (service recipients) who demonstrate an interest in market-changing business innovations.

The five-year BIF2 programme will run from March 2014 to December 2019, and is initially focusing on five (5) major market value chains, including cassava, aquaculture (catfish), diary, maize and information services for cash crops.