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5.1 Introduction

How to get your innovation known among your consumers and fulfil the demand you are establishing

In the previous modules, we have mainly looked at the product or service innovation itself: where the ideas come from, how you translate an idea into a sellable product or service, and how you include the voice of your consumers in this development process. With a validated innovation and a strong value proposition, it is time to work on the business model that is required to launch and grow your innovative idea in the market. This is what this module (module 5) and the next one (module 6) are about. When we talk about business models, we do not mean writing a full business plan. It is better to start with simple methods such as the Business Model Canvas (downloadable from the ‘Additional Reading’ section of this module) that will guide you through the strategic decision-making for essential parts of the business model.

There are three areas in the business model that require particular attention when doing business with the Base of the Pyramid (BoP). First, how you organise the distribution of your products or services in areas that generally lack good infrastructure and formalised supply chains (this influences the accessibility for your consumers).
Second, how you optimise the costs and effects of your marketing outreach to underserved consumers that have little prior awareness and knowledge of what is available (this influences the awareness and demand among your consumers).
And third, how you price your product or service and generate revenues when selling to consumers that have limited purchasing power (this influences the affordability for your consumers).

This module (Module 5) focuses on the first two business challenges; the marketing and distribution of your new product or service. The third challenge is covered in Module 6. As the profitability of your innovation lies in the number of consumers reached, you will need to excel in marketing and distribution. This module will give you concrete tips to select the appropriate strategies that allow you to reach as many consumers as possible, with the lowest upfront costs and operational risks.

Complete this module to take out the following learnings:

  • Every innovation needs a Go-To-Market strategy. An idea will not sell itself, particularly not in underserved markets.
  • It is very costly and risky to take on all marketing and distribution activities yourself. Especially when you are new to a market, success lies in establishing the right partnerships.
  • When selling something new, you will first need to gain the trust of consumers. They will only invest if the benefits are understood and, even better, experienced first-hand.
  • consumer retention is just as important as consumer acquisition. It allows you to build a steady consumer base that you can leverage as ambassadors to reach new consumers.
This module is part of the Inclusive Innovation Course course.
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inclusive innovation online course

Inclusive Innovation Course


It is an exciting time for Inclusive Innovation in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). As international awareness grows on the inclusion of low-income groups in the development of products and services, new business opportunities arise for entrepreneurs that want to combine profit with social impact.

The SAIS Inclusive Innovation training provides you with a unique opportunity to discover the fundamentals of designing and delivering impactful business solutions for underserved communities or the “Base of the Pyramid”.

Why invest your time

In this training course, Inclusive Innovation experts from Bopinc will share inspirational stories from African entrepreneurs, useful tips and practical assignments that allow you to apply new knowledge to your own case. Each course module will build your capabilities to better cope with the challenges that many startups and innovation support organisations experience when entering underserved markets.

What you can expect

The Inclusive Innovation course is best enjoyed in a 14-week period. This gives you 2 weeks to complete each module. Expect to spend approximately an hour to read the module, and another 1 or 2 hours to work on the assignment. That is 2-3 hours per module. While you can follow this course individually, we highly recommend you work in pairs or teams and use the assignments for your own innovation project. In the end, you learn most through practice.

Note that the order of the modules does not reflect their level of importance. All topics are crucial to the success of your Inclusive Innovation and should be considered and revisited throughout your journey.


Each module follows the same format:

  • Introduction & key learnings
  • Podcast featuring inspirational entrepreneurs
  • 2 or 3 theory sections inspired from real cases
  • Quiz to test yourself on new theory
  • Assignment to apply the theory to your own business case
  • Additional reading materials
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