Resources   sector

Enterprise

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 ...

> Read more

Serving the low-income consumer: How to tackle this mostly ignored market

Facing saturation and cutthroat competition in long-established markets, many multinational companies are seeking new markets. Yet until recently, they have largely ignored the more than 5 billion low-income consumers, thinking these consumers have no money to spend or are impossible to reach. Now several companies are disproving these perceptions. ...

> Read more

How the world’s 5 billion low-income consumers decide what to buy

As more companies look to develop markets for growth and profits, they continue to struggle to understand their targeted consumers: How should we tailor products and services? What are our distribution strategies? Can we build brand loyalty without interpreting cultural attitudes? Lessons learned from a small Ugandan startup will help ...

> Read more

A new alliance for global change

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

> Read more

Business basics at the Base of the Pyramid

Why should business among the very poor be different than it is anywhere else? Listen to customers, standardize processes, and don't be afraid to make a profit. ...

> Read more

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 ...

> Read more

Designing mobile money services: Lessons from M-Pesa

M-PESA, the Kenyan mobile money service, has seen exceptional growth since its introduction in March 2007. Six million customers have registered with the service, which represents nearly half the customer base of Safaricom, the mobile operator that launched M-PESA. This is a level of penetration in the mobile base that ...

> Read more

Understanding key factors in social enterprise development of the BOP: a systems approach applied to case studies in the Philippines

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive perspective on social enterprise development, leading to enhanced understanding of the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) marketplace. Design/methodology/approach - General systems theory is applied to case studies drawn from the Philippines, enabling the authors delineate system actors and ...

> Read more

The financial inclusion assemblage: Subjects, technics, rationalities

This article introduces financial inclusion as a global assemblage of subjects, technics, and rationalities that aim to develop poor-appropriate financial products and services. Microfinance forms the foundation, but also the boundary of the assemblage, which is premised on the assumption that the 2.7 billion poor people in the world who ...

> Read more

Serving the world’s poor, profitably

Improving the lives of the billions of people at the bottom of the economic pyramid is a noble endeavour. It can also be a lucrative one. ...

> Read more

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 ...

> Read more

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 ...

> Read more

Making better investments at the Base of the Pyramid

Managers of business ventures that work with the world’s poor need more than financials and feel-good stories to measure success. They need to know exactly who’s benefiting and how. ...

> Read more

“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 ...

> Read more

Youth, waste and work in Mathare: whose business and whose politics?

In Nairobi’s Mathare Valley, one of the largest and oldest informal settlements in East Africa, waste has become a source of income generation for youth and a means of asserting slum dwellers’ rights to the city. While waste management has become a platform for engaging with the broader politics of ...

> Read more

Marketing in subsistence marketplaces: consumption and entrepreneurship in a South India context

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to discuss innovative consumer marketing approaches for simultaneous business success and social empowerment at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) or in subsistence marketplaces. Design/methodology/approach - The paper draws from a research program comprising qualitative methods as well as case study analyses. ...

> Read more

Enterprise solutions to poverty: Opportunities and challenges for the international development community and big business

The modern world has always encompassed extremes of affluence and poverty. But in 2005 the confluence of advocacy, political serendipity and natural disaster has rapidly pushed the plight of the impoverished up the agenda of the wealthy as never before. The sharpness of the challenge being thrown down on ...

> Read more

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 ...

> Read more

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 ...

> Read more

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 ...

> Read more

‘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 ...

> Read more

On the diffusion of toilets as bottom of the pyramid innovation: Lessons from sanitation entrepreneurs

There is an emerging body of literature on product innovations for the poor at the bottom of the income pyramid. However, here is little on why delivery systems succeed or fail in this context and the present paper attempts to fill this void by examining why and how sanitation entrepreneurs ...

> Read more

The fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid

Low-income markets present a prodigious opportunity for the world's wealthiest companies - to seek their fortunes and bring prosperity to the aspiring poor. ...

> Read more

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 ...

> Read more

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 ...

> Read more

Romanticizing the Poor

Market solutions to poverty are very much in vogue. These solutions, which include services and products targeting consumers at the "bottom of the pyramid," portray poor people as creative entrepreneurs and discerning consumers. Yet this rosy view of poverty-stricken people is not only wrong, but also harmful. It allows corporations, ...

> Read more

The mirage of marketing to the bottom of the pyramid: How the private sector can help alleviate poverty

The BOP proposition is indeed too good to be true. It is seductively appealing, but it is riddled with fallacies. There is little glory or fortune at the bottom of the pyramid—unfortunately, it is (almost) all a mirage. This article argues that the BOP proposition is both logically flawed and ...

> Read more

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 ...

> Read more

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 ...

> Read more

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 ...

> Read more

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 ...

> Read more

Social business enterprises – maximizing social benefits or maximising profits? The case of Grameen-Danone Foods Limited

Where the concepts of 'free markets' and 'capitalism' have been lauded to bring freedom and choice, they have been held responsible for bringing much worldwide social and economic disparity. Critics have blamed them for widespread crime, corruption and poverty. Wary of such consequences, entrepreneurs have come with an innovative solution: ...

> Read more

A Base-of-the-Pyramid approach in Argentina: Preliminary findings from a BOP Learning Lab

The BOP Lab which has been established in Argentina consists of a set of companies, NGOs, government members and academics working jointly to create growth and development opportunities in markets as yet untapped by companies. Then it comes to creating a shared and local view of BOP, it is important ...

> Read more

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 ...

> Read more

Lipstick evangelism: Avon trading circles and gender empowerment in South Africa

Increasing numbers of corporations are vying to capture one of the largest untapped consumer markets – the world’s poor –/ in ways that are not only economically profitable but socially responsible. One type of initiative that has gained increased traction is trading partnerships between multinational corporations and women’s ...

> Read more

Re-siting corporate responsibility: The making of South Africa’s Avon entrepreneurs

The bottom-of-the-pyramid (BOP) approach is championed as a way to deliver both corporate profits and poverty reduction. This article explores how “the poor” are repurposed as the instruments of ethical capitalism through the archetypal BOP model—Avon Cosmetics. A harbinger of “compassionate capitalism,” Avon has long stylized its entrepreneurial opportunity as ...

> Read more

Anthropology at the Bottom of the Pyramid

In this article, we examine three initiatives in South India that have brought Hindustan Unilever to prominence as a pioneer of business at the bottom of the pyramid. Using corporate reports, promotional materials, business case studies, academic papers and newspaper interviews we look at a public-private partnership campaign, a school-based ...

> Read more

Charity needs capitalism to solve the world’s problems

Charity alone will not solve the world's problems. Capitalism can help and at the same time put people back to work. ...

> Read more

The Janus face of insurance in South Africa: From costs to risk, from networks to bureaucracies

This study examines the consequences of the rapid and unprecedented expansion of insurances for the poor in South Africa. Over the last ten years, South African insurance companies established a myriad of policies in order to incorporate the previously excluded, mostly African, poor and lower middle classes. While poverty, violence ...

> Read more

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 ...

> Read more