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We believe in the power of enterprise to reduce global poverty.

Value Initiative

Worldwide, one billion people live in slums; yet at the same time, cities are hubs of entrepreneurship, innovation, and growth. The resources of today's cities can be harnessed to reduce poverty through a powerful strategy called urban value chain development. The value chain approach strives to increase the competitiveness of an industry, or value chain, by linking the poor to higher value markets for their products. This in turn develops vibrant industries and enables local economies to compete in national, regional, or global markets.

Launched in 2007 and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the SEEP Network's Value Initiative aims to advance the knowledge and practice of urban value chain development to stimulate pro-poor economic growth while focusing on vulnerable populations. The following video shows value chain development in action, highlighting the Value Initiative's work in Jaipur, India. 


The Value Initiative has two core programs:

Urban Value Chain Development Practitioner Learning Program (PLP)

Although value chain development represents an innovative opportunity to address poverty, best practices for urban settings have yet to be comprehensively documented and disseminated. Four projects, outlined below, work with local partners to develop best practices through implementation, creating tangible, on-the-ground impact.

Business Planning for Sustainability and Scale-Up Practitioner Learning Program (PLP)

Achieving large-scale sustainability and attracting significant long-term investment are key challenges in the enterprise development field. In response to these challenges, the Value Initiative has partnered with five leading practitioners in value chain development, social enterprise, and fair trade. Together, these practitioners will develop innovative models for sustainable, larger-scale enterprise development that reaches a wider target group of marginalized communities. The four partners include:

  • Entrepreneurship and Community Development Institute (United States)
  • Fair Trade Forum India
  • Labournet (India)
  • SDC Asia (Philippines)

Learn More

The contact within SEEP for this program is Yibin Chu.

Initiative Partner


This initiative is made possible by the generous support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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