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Sanitation

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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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. ...

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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 ...

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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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The need for safe water as a market opportunity

There is a huge unmet need across the globe for access to safe drinking water. This problem kills millions of our brethren each year—780,000 in India alone. Diarrheal disease causes 1,600 deaths a day—more than any other. While we in the U.S. and other Western nations simply turn the handle ...

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The next 4 billion

In an informal suburb of Guadalajara, Mexico, a growing family is struggling to expand its small house. Help arrives from a major industrial company in the form of construction designs, credit, and as-needed delivery of materials, enabling rapid completion of the project at less overall cost. In rural Madhya Pradesh, ...

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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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Book review essay: Promises and perils at the Bottom of the Pyramid: “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty through Profits” by C. K. Prahalad

C. K. Prahalad, an extremely well-known and influential business scholar and consultant, worked for years to find a new way to solve the problem of poverty…His latest book, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, captures the results of this effort. Impressively praised by the likes of Madeline Albright ...

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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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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 ...

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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. ...

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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 ...

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Bioexpectations: Life technologies as humanitarian goods

Expectations that people should live—even under extreme conditions of crisis, neglect, and poverty—now combine with doubts about the capacity of states to provide for their populations. One result has been a set of technologies built around minimalist forms of care. Created by a heterogeneous movement of corporations as well as ...

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Segmenting the Base of the Pyramid

To succeed, you’ll need to link your commercial interests with your constituencies’ well-being. ...

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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 ...

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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. ...

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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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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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Is the Bottom of the Pyramid really for you?

Searching for that pot of gold in the world’s most challenging markets may not be worth your company’s while. Here’s how to make that call. ...

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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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Lessons for successful BOP marketing from Caracas’ slums

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to explain how leading firms can profitably serve poor consumers by targeting the urban bottom of the pyramid (BOP) with appropriate marketing practices. Design/methodology/approach - The approach taken is an integrative analysis of existing literature and new cases. Findings - The urban ...

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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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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 ...

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Serving the world’s poor: innovation at the base of the economic pyramid

The market for products and services delivered to the poor people of the world is huge. Consumers at the very bottom of the economic pyramid – those with per capita incomes of less than $1,500 – number more than 4 billion. For more than a billion people – roughly one-sixth ...

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