According to many global organizations, including the World Economic Forum, approximately 4 billion people lack internet access. Their inability to venture online is compounded by the fact many of these same citizens are not connected to the grid. So even if cellular networks are readily available, the inability to recharge a phone at home means connectivity is often a luxury.

Much of the problem lies in the oft-discussed “last mile.” Many citizens may see those power lines or cell phone towers easily from their homes or businesses, but cannot afford, or even attain, reliable access to either.

And therein lies many opportunities for both multinationals and innovative startups to reap new business opportunities while improving the lives of billions worldwide. Furthermore, new developments in telecommunications infrastructure and early-stage venture capital can help more people keep the lights on and stay connected. Incomes can be boosted, more doors to education and skills training can open and the local environment can even benefit.

The two keys that can make this happen are investments in battery storage and solar power. If multinationals wish to not just align, but succeed, in solving those pesky United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), they should consider partnerships with local companies in regions where incomes are increasing, but the infrastructure is not catching up. The tackling of SDG 7 (sustainable energy for all) and SDG 9 (inclusive infrastructure worldwide) offers companies a chance to show that they are responsible, sustainable and inclusive.

Read the full article about narrowing digital access by Leon Kaye at TriplePundit.