Resources   Finance

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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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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Management education and the Base of the Pyramid

Doing business at the base of the pyramid is a topic of increasing interest to business practitioners and academics. Base of the pyramid business offers the promise of great economic gains for companies and the possibility of a powerful new approach to alleviate poverty. At the same time, it may ...

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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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Commercial returns at the Base of the Pyramid

As the world is introduced to microfinance as a response to global poverty, public and private decision-makers run the risk of having their analysis of the industry overwhelmed by the field’s stirring capability to generate social value. Throughout the development of microfinance, the accounts of low-income men and women in ...

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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. ...

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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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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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Tata’s Nano Home: Company behind cheapest car to sell $7,800 apartments

Tata, the Indian company that made worldwide headlines with its $2,000 Nano car, now plans to build 1,000 tiny apartments outside Mumbai that will sell for $7,800 to $13,400 each. The company plans to roll out low-cost projects outside other major cities. Tata’s housing division is targeting a segment of ...

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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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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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India urban Base of the Pyramid housing affordability study

With one of the largest aggregated base of the pyramid populations and wealth gaps on the planet, Indian housing provision remains in a dire state.  A distinct lack of supply side solutions has further exacerbated a massive real estate price spike in recent years and, whilst both the private and ...

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At the Bottom of the Pyramid: Responsible design for responsible business

Thoughtfully responding to the needs and aspirations of the four billion poor living at the margins of the global economy is both wise strategy and pressing obligation for businesses, argues Nimal Sethia. In this context, he identifies key stakeholders and posits knowledge, empathy, networking, and a value-frame as central to ...

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The potential of mobile remittances for the bottom of the pyramid: Findings from emerging Asia

Purpose – This paper aims to explore the extent to which low-income migrant workers in emerging Asia are aware of and are likely to use mobile phones for remitting money to family members at home. Design/methodology/approach – Data were obtained through a survey of 1,500+ local and overseas migrant workers ...

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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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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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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. ...

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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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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. ...

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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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Global marketing of lifesaving drugs: an analogical model

In light of the desire to bring about an increase in the global distribution of lifesaving drugs at affordable prices, the purpose of this paper is to focus on the global marketing of lifesaving drugs related to the current pandemic of HIV/AIDS. An analogical model is used to challenge companies ...

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The Slow Race: Making technology work for the poor

Citizen engagement is vital to ensure that science and technology respond to the challenges of international development. ...

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Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited launches firm to aid ‘bottom of pyramid’ market

Private lender Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited (DHFL) has launched Aadhar Housing Finance Private Limited, targetting the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ home loan space in Uttar Pradesh and other states with similar socio-economic profile. ...

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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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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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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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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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Reinventing strategies for emerging markets: beyond the transnational model

With established markets becoming saturated, multinational corporations (MNCs) have turned increasingly to emerging markets (EMs) in the developing world. Such EM strategies have been targeted almost exclusively at the wealthy elite at the top of the economic pyramid. Recently, however, a number of MNCs have launched new initiatives that explore ...

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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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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, ...

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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 ...

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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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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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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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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 ...

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Market-minded development

Over the past nine years, Acumen has deployed $48.6 million across 50 investments (35 of which are active) in the health, energy, housing, agriculture, and water industries in East Africa, India, and Pakistan. Its global health portfolio is the largest, accounting for roughly 55% of the fund. The nonprofit ...

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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 ...

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Good business makes poor customers good customers

Would your company like to add thousands, if not millions, of new customers? Jamie Anderson, Martin Kupp and Sandra Vandermerwe believe that serving the world’s poorest people in developing markets can be both profitable and socially rewarding — if it’s done right. As it turns out, what’s good for business ...

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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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