Co-creation for sustainable development: The bounds of NGO contributions to inclusive business

Tytti Nahi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The sustainable development agenda is placing increasing expectations on business and cross-sector partnerships. One of the rising propositions is that companies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can co-create inclusive business ventures that are simultaneously both profitable and poverty reducing. A considerable number of studies have found that NGOs can bring valuable knowledge, capabilities, contacts, and legitimacy to these initiatives. This paper deepens the discussion from what NGOs can contribute to how and to what extent. Based on practice theory and a two-and-half-year study of 7 inclusive business partnerships between companies and NGOs, this study finds that NGO representatives contribute to inclusive business initiatives by skillfully drawing on and adapting their potential resources and practices. However, this study identifies five factors that bound NGO contributions. Thereby, this paper advances a nuanced discussion of the potential and the limitations of partnerships as a means of combining poverty alleviation and profitability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-102
Number of pages15
JournalBusiness Strategy and Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • base of the pyramid
  • co-creation
  • cross-sector collaboration
  • inclusive business
  • non-governmental organizations
  • sustainable development


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