Resources   Health

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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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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The peanut butter debate

A new type of ready-to-use food is changing the way severe malnutrition is treated. But questions remain about how far to push its introduction—and science has a hard time providing the answer. ...

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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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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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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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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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Aid is not the answer

There is an inherent paradox in the debate about poverty alleviation that escapes even the most sophisticated observers in the West. Consider the conventional thinking about China and India: They are seen as a threat to the West. The fear is not only about "exporting well paying U.S. jobs" but ...

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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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Tensions between venture capitalists’ and business-social entrepreneurs’ goals: Will Bottom-of-the-Pyramid strategies offer a solution?

This paper examines the case of an entrepreneurial venture with a disruptive innovation in the field of medical technology. The case entrepreneur is striving for the so called double bottom line of both financial and social returns. The paper analyses the relationship between the entrepreneur who is both socially responsible ...

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Better vision for the Poor

Estimates for the number of poor people worldwide who need eyeglasses are startling. The World Health Organization reports approximately 517 million people in developing countries are visually impaired because they do not have access to corrective treatment. The Centre for Vision in the Developing World at Oxford University has a ...

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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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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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Oxymoron no more: The potential of nonprofit drug companies to deliver on the promise of medicines for the developing world

Although some pharmaceutical company efforts to develop and distribute drugs in developing countries have been successful, many fall short of meeting needs in resource-poor nations. In the context of public-private partnerships, we discuss the concept of a nonprofit pharmaceutical company dedicated to developing and distributing drugs for diseases endemic in ...

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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: ...

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Instant noodles as an antifriction device: Making the BOP with PPP in PNG

Focusing primarily, but not exclusively, on urban and periurban Papua New Guinea (PNG), we discuss the significance of instant ramen noodles to those now known as the "bottom of the pyramid" (BOP). Although instant noodles are remarkable in that they are eaten by virtually everyone in the world, albeit in ...

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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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Innovation blowback: Disruptive management practices from Asia

Western companies think too narrowly about the emerging world. If they aren’t careful, they may end up as defenders, not attackers. ...

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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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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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