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Impact at the ‘Bottom of the Pyramid’: The role of social capital in capability development and community empowerment

Rooted in the notion of inclusive capitalism, the Bottom-of-the-Pyramid (BoP) approach argues for the simultaneous pursuit of profit and social welfare by creating markets for the poor. This idea has been both celebrated and criticized in the literature. We do neither in this paper. Instead, by leveraging insights from Amartya ...

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Bottom of the Pyramid as a source of breakthrough innovations

In this paper, I identify the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) markets as a new source of radical innovation. By focusing managerial attention on creating awareness, access, affordability, and availability (4As), managers can create an exciting environment for innovation. I suggest that external constraints can be utilized to build an ...

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Mobile money: A foundation for food security

“Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” (FAO, 1996) Let me begin by explaining that I am not a food security expert but ...

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A new alliance for global change

Working together, corporations and social entrepreneurs can reshape industries and solve the world’s toughest problems. ...

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From digital divide to digital dividend: What will it take?

One of the greatest challenges in higher education is to give billions of impoverished people access to it across the globe. The growth of information and communications technologies (ICTs) over the past decade holds great promise for meeting this challenge, yet the limited access that most of the world's population ...

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Testing the limits of ‘inclusive capitalism’: A case study of the South Africa HP i-Community

In the run-up to the Millennium Development Goals of 2015, major corporations are targeted by the United Nations Global Compact and others to play an active leadership role in promoting sustainable development. Increasingly, they are encouraged to do so while pursuing profit-making business opportunities yielding social good in developing countries. ...

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Creating value for all: Strategies for doing business with the poor

The Growing Inclusive Markets Initiative responds to a need for better understanding of how the private sector can contribute to human development and to the Millennium Development Goals. Led by UNDP, the initiative was conceived in 2006 after the success of Unleashing Entrepreneurship: Making Business Work for the Poor—the 2004 ...

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Dialing for development

Microfinance institutions have recognized that poor people lack the capital and financial services that are necessary for economic growth and job creation. And so these organizations have started offering these services to the world's poorest people, unlocking new economic opportunities for borrowers and lenders. Yet until recently, most organizations ...

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Talking back! Empowerment and mobile phones in rural Bangladesh: A study of the Village Phone Scheme of Grameen Bank

The study assesses the efficacy of the Village Phone (VP) scheme in ameliorating the ‘information poverty’ of the villages that have obtained access to mobile phones in Bangladesh. More specifically, the study has sought to describe the ways in which the VP is operated, how the service is utilised and ...

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Mobile 2.0: M-money for the BoP in the Philippines

This paper explores the reach and use of m-money among the bottom of the pyramid (BoP) in the Philippines using survey data from LIRNEasia’s 2008 Mobile 2.0 surveys. It looks at m-money’s potential and actual use for remittance among internal and external migrant workers and their families. The results are ...

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Marketing technological innovation to LDCs: Lessons from one laptop per child

If the criterion for success were admiration for an innovative concept, the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project would be an unqualified triumph. The project, which sought to put laptop computers into the hands of tens of millions of children in the developing world, attracted early funding from Google, AMD, ...

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Who’s got the phone? Gender and the use of the telephone at the bottom of the pyramid

Many studies conclude that a significant gender divide in access to the telephone exists, particularly in developing countries. Furthermore, women are also said to use telephones in a different manner from men – making and receiving more calls, spending more time on calls and using telephones primarily for ‘relationship maintenance’ ...

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The quest for the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid: potential and challenges

Purpose - The purpose of this article is to examine the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) proposition, where private companies can both be profitable and help alleviate poverty by attending low-income consumers. Design/methodology/approach - The literature on BOP was reviewed and some key elements of the BOP approach were proposed ...

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Creating mutual value: Lessons learned from ventures serving base of the pyramid producers

The base of the pyramid (BoP) literature is grounded in the proposition of mutual value creation, an important but not yet well-tested relationship between business development and poverty alleviation. This paper begins to address this gap by assessing how business ventures serving BoP producers address local constraints and create mutual ...

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The great leap: Driving innovation from the Base of the Pyramid

Billions of poor people aspire to join the world's economy. Disruptive innovation can pave the way, helping companies combine sustainable corporate growth with social responsibility. ...

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The next four billion: market size and business strategy at the base of the pyramid

Four billion low-income consumers, a majority of the world’s population, constitute the base of the economic pyramid. New empirical measures of their aggregate purchasing power and their behavior as consumers suggest significant opportunities for market-based approaches to better meet their needs, increase their productivity and incomes, and empower their entry ...

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“Making Markets Work for the Poor”: An objective and an approach for governments and development agencies

Governments and development agencies’ efforts at promoting economic growth and poverty reduction have achieved mixed results. Different approaches have been tried – some have aimed at major regulatory reform and others intervened to deliver products and services directly and "get things done" – with great achievements in some countries countered ...

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The marketization of poverty

Increasingly, transnational corporations (TNCs) see themselves, and are seen by multilateral development organizations and national governments, as part of the solution to global poverty alleviation. Guided by C. K. Prahalad’s theories about the “bottom of the pyramid” (BoP), TNCs are developing products and services for the billions of people living ...

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New Media practices in India: Bridging past and future, markets and development

This article provides a review of the academic and popular literature on new media practices in India, focusing on the country’s youth's use of mobile phones and the Internet, as well as new media prosumption. One particular feature of the Indian case is the confluence of commercial exploitation of new ...

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Taking Prahalad high-tech: The emergence and evolution of global corporate citizenship in the IT industry

In this paper, I analyse the emergence and evolution of e-Inclusion, HP’s flagship global corporate citizenship programme, as a landmark in the history of corporate citizenship in the IT industry. This programme, which existed from 2000 to 2005, was the first explicit attempt by a major high-tech company to operationalise ...

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‘A living lab’: Corporate delivery of ICTs in rural India

Information and Communication technologies (ICTs) are increasingly seen as essential tools in development projects that can create new sources of income, make governments more transparent and accessible, improve education and health care, and overcome social exclusion and discrimination. To harness these potentials, multinational hi-tech corporations are forming public–private partnerships with ...

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Is Intel better than OLPC on teaching kids at the Bottom of the Pyramid?

One of the hottest controversies around is that between Intel and the One Laptop Per Child Foundation over the best approach to educate poor children in rural villages in India, Africa, China, Latin America and the Middle East. The battle pits giant Intel, a private corporation dominant in its field ...

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Selling out the poor

Allen L. Hammond and C.K. Prahalad's notion that "Selling to the Poor" (May/June 2004) to turn them into consumers is an "effective way of reducing poverty" is a shameless, far-fetched example of corporate "poor washing," through which an agenda for boosting profits is packaged as a poverty antidote. ...

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Consumption, technology, and development: The “poor” as “consumer”

This article focuses on the case of M-PESA mobile payments service in Kenya. It critically analyzes the assumptions and cultural contradictions that underpin notions of the low-income consumer and their implications in practice for business strategy. The poor-as-consumer model assumes that, in order to target low-income groups, one needs to ...

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Information and Communication Technologies for Development: the Bottom of the Pyramid model in practice

The currently influential model for information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D) is based on increasing the well-being of the poor through market-based solutions, and by using low-cost but advanced technologies. Using ethnographic methods, we chart out the contradictions that could arise when such a development-through-entrepreneurship model is implemented. We ...

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The market for wireless electricity: The case of India

A wireless revolution has transformed telecoms in India and in other emerging markets. The electricity market, on the other hand, remains underdeveloped. We define Wireless Electricity as renewable energy produced within a few hundred meters of the point of consumption. A wireless revolution in electricity would solve the problem of ...

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Misfortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid

The popular ‘bottom of the pyramid’ (BOP) proposition argues that large companies can make a fortune by selling to poor people and simultaneously help eradicate poverty. This is, at best, a harmless illusion and potentially a dangerous delusion. This paper shows that the BOP argument is riddled with inaccuracies and ...

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The Fortune at the Bottom or the Middle of the Pyramid?

The Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) has emerged as a dominant concept in business, propelled by C. K. Prahalad’s The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid. Given the enormous attention the concept has attracted, it has the potential to impact the world’s billions of poor people—as well as the ...

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Solar electrification and social change in Kenya

Market-based rural electrification with solar energy is increasingly common in developing countries. This article revolves around three main claims about solar electrification in Kenya’s unsubsidized market: (1) The benefits of solar electrification are captured primarily by the rural middle class. (2) Solar electricity plays a modest role in supporting economically ...

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The problematics of the “Bottom of the Pyramid” approach to international development: The case of micro-entrepreneurs’ use of mobile phones in Morocco

Over the past decade a significant philosophical shift has taken place in the development world, emphasizing privatization, market participation, microfinance, and other approaches to poverty alleviation over top-down, statist interventions. At the same time, some of the claims and results associated with such programs have met with pointed critiques. This ...

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Developing native capability

Today multinational corporations (MNCs) find themselves on the horns of a dilemma. With the unprecedented performance of stocks over much of recent history as a backdrop, their shareholders now expect double-digit returns, yet the global economy limps along at an annual average rate of growth of only 2%-3%. The question ...

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Selling to the Poor

Searching for new customers eager to buy your products? Forget Tokyo’s schoolgirls and Milan’s fashionistas. Instead, try the world’s 4 billion poor people, the largest untapped consumer market on Earth. To reach them, CEOs must shed old concepts of marketing, distribution, and research. Getting it right can both generate big ...

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Digital labor is the new killer app

Research on digital labor tends to fall into idealized, oppositional binaries that are judgmental rather than based on detailed analyses of the actual system or site. Our goal in this article is to provide a view on digital labor that is grounded less in speculation but in narratives from the ...

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Intel Inside the Third World

Intel wants to bridge the Digital Divide and pioneer a whole new market by filling classrooms in poor countries around the world with low-cost PCs. Priced at about $320 each, the new Classmate laptops on the desks in Malinalco are still too expensive for governments in most developing countries to ...

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Rethinking the OLPC distribution: A “Bottom of the Pyramid” approach?

What would a "bottom of the pyramid" approach for the OLPC look like? While the OLPC vision is bottom-up and child-focused, their actual deployment has been top-heavy. ...

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Filipino entrepreneurs on the Internet: When social networking websites meet mobile commerce

This study explores the evolving landscape of e-commerce in the Philippines. It looks at two information and communication technology (ICT) applications that are being used innovatively by Filipinos: mobile phone-based cash systems and social networking websites to enable small entrepreneurs to venture into e-commerce. The article investigates how these two ...

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