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Our Staff Writers and Editors offer insights on the latest news, events, interviews and other happenings from the development through enterprise and base of the pyramid universes
Thursday, August 28, 2008 — No Region Specified

A Market at the Bottom of the Pyramid?

Source: Business Standard

Over the years, it has become fashionable to talk about the business opportunity offered by those at the bottom of the (economic) pyramid. Many national and international seminars have been conducted to highlight this hitherto undiscovered gold-mine. Any challenge to the business rationale for pursuing such a market is considered heretical and almost blasphemous. Under the assumption that it is the responsibility of all business managers to generate the optimum (and certainly a minimu...
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Tuesday, August 26, 2008 — No Region Specified

Strong partnership key to success in bottom of the pyramid markets

Source: Knowledge @ INSEAD

For those at the ?bottom of the pyramid? (BoP), the four billion people or so living on less than two dollars a day, life is hard. Although collectively they have considerable combined purchasing power, they have up to now been traditionally overlooked by businesses. However, major multinational corporations (MNCs) are now seeing opportunities in developing products for the BoP markets, while making a difference to the lives of the poor people. ?For this concept to work, there needs...
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Monday, August 25, 2008 — No Region Specified

Social Entrepreneurship: Make Everyone A Change-Maker

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

By Harvey S. Keh Renato Mercado had worked as an assistant architect for 15 years in Saudi Arabia. Last year, he got a one-month leave and was finally able to visit his family in Laguna province after four years. Upon arrival, he was shocked to know his family was in disarray. His wife was not able to save a single centavo from the remittances he had been making; his eldest son was a drug addict. For Renato, all the sacrifices and years ...
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Monday, August 25, 2008 — No Region Specified

Big Finance Muscles In on Microlending

Source: Spiegel Online

By Uwe Buse Microloans were invented to help the poorest of the poor help themselves. Now major banks and pension funds are getting into the business, as they discover that the interest paid by the poor can produce high returns. Is it aid or exploitation? Muhammad Yunus is one of the good ones, on a par with Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa. Like them, he won the Nobel ...
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Monday, August 25, 2008 — No Region Specified

Going for Gold in India

Source: Boston Globe

India obviously has barely touched its potential, still faced with vast poverty, corruption, and infrastructure needs. University of Michigan global management expert C. K. Prahalad this spring told Indian business leaders that if India, which is already producing 3 million college graduates a year, can educate the poor, it will have the world's largest pool of trained people power by 2022. By Derrick Z. Jackson IN WINNING India's first-ever individual gold med...
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Monday, August 25, 2008 — No Region Specified

Compartamos versus Yunus

Source: Business Standard

The Mexican micro-finance entity that raised $400 million from an IPO comes under fire for becoming the moneylender the micro-finance institutions were supposed to protect the poor from. A crimson and red screen lights up and a clutch of golden fish stream left and then right. This is the home page of the website of Compartamos Banco, the Mexican entity that became the first micro-finance institution (MFI) in Latin America to raise equity capital, as much as $400 million, through an i...
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Monday, August 25, 2008 — No Region Specified

Agflation helps poor, says study

Source: Howrah News Service

Studies conducted by economists at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) have deduced that rising global food prices can actually help improve the conditions of the majority of the poor and alleviate poverty in the country. Ms Sandra Polaski, senior associate and director at the CEIP pointed out that analysis of data collected through surveys by the Indian government of over 2.5 lakh poor families had shown striking correlation between increasing global food prices and...
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Monday, August 25, 2008 — No Region Specified

Hinterland overtakes cities in FCMG production

Source: Economic Times

It?s a rural resurgence of sorts and has got companies revisiting their bottom of the pyramid strategies. Rural offtake across select categories such as shampoos, toothpastes and hair oils has grown faster than consumption in urban markets this year. ACNielsen data for the January-July 2008 period shows that growth has been higher in rural markets across each of the categories by value and volume. The growth is being attributed to factors like higher prices of farm produce and farm lo...
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Monday, August 25, 2008 — No Region Specified

VisionSpring Enhances Management Team With New Hire and Promotion

Source: Press Release

VisionSpring is pleased to announce the appointment of Peter Eliassen as Vice President of Sales and Operations, a position responsible for the leadership and management of VisionSpring?s global operations team and the achievement of operational and sales objectives. Mr. Eliassen comes to VisionSpring with a mix of both public and private sector experience, most recently at Unilever, where he served as Associate Finance Manager in the Customer Development group. Prior to completing his MBA, Mr. ...
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Friday, August 22, 2008 — No Region Specified

Use Value-Based Pricing to Increase Market Share

Source: Brand Dossier

New Delhi: Marketers often fail to realise that every brand is in a continuous state of launch, says veteran ad-man and marketer Alyque Padamsee, who is also chairman of the London Institute of Corporate Training, at the two-day CII Marketing Summit on the theme, Marketing to the bottom of the pyramid- How relevant and in what measure achievable in the Indian context. Padamsee, who now has his own creative shop A P Advertising,? says this was more so in a country like Indi...
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Thursday, August 21, 2008 — No Region Specified

Internet and Mobile Phones Spur Economic Development

Source: Gulf Times

The digital divide is beginning to close. The flow of digital information ? through mobile phones, text messaging, and the Internet ? is now reaching the world?s masses, even in the poorest countries, bringing with it a revolution in economics, politics, and society. Extreme poverty is almost synonymous with extreme isolation, especially rural isolation. But mobile phones and wireless Internet end isolation, and will therefore prove to be the most transformative technology of economic...
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Wednesday, August 20, 2008 — No Region Specified

Intel Chairman Urges Big Tech to Tackle Social Problems

Source: Fortune

Intel once again has both dominance and momentum in the chip world, so when it opened its biggest conference of the year on Tuesday the company didn?t need to resort to chest thumping. Instead, it aimed to inspire. Chairman Craig Barrett delivered the keynote address at the Intel (INTC) Developer Forum in San Francisco, an event that the company uses to rally the technology community behind its products and vision. But rather than take an us-versus-them view of the world, Barrett used...
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Tuesday, August 19, 2008 — No Region Specified

Industry Majors Say They Benefitted From Tapping Rural Markets

Source: Sindh Today

New Delhi, Aug 19 (IANS) Four of India?s largest companies Tuesday showcased here how they have benefited by tapping India?s huge rural market. The four - ICICI Bank, Hindustan Unilever Ltd, Hero Honda Motors and Infosys Technologies - are among the largest in their own areas of business. ?It?s a myth that profit margins get squeezed if you market to the bottom of the pyramid,? said K.V. Kamath, managing director and chief executive officer of ICICI Bank, India?s largest pr...
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Tuesday, August 19, 2008 — South Asia

BOP Shock for India Inc.

Source: Livemint.com

New Delhi: Indian companies seeking their pot of gold from the lower-end or bottom of the pyramid (BOP) consumers are in for a bit of shock: The market may be much smaller in reality. While earlier, this market was supposed to be formed of 400 million people, now market research firms Technopak Advisors and Evalueserve are saying that it is not more than 160 million. Arvind Singhal, chairman of Technopak Advisors says that around 35 million households or around 160 million people that...
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Tuesday, August 19, 2008 — South Asia

Bring Break-Even to the Bottom of the Pyramid

Source: Financial Express

How much does the global slowdown impact India? What should be the corporate structures and strategies to weather the current storm? Can India overcome the growth blip? Which sector is in need of urgent reform? We put these questions to management guru Prof CK Prahalad, who was in the city for a CII session on ?India@75: The emerging agenda?. ?There are dramatic changes in demand and cost structures and in some cases excess capacity?all of these require a rethink in the break-even vol...
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Thursday, August 14, 2008 — No Region Specified

Prahalad's Plan

Source: Business Today

As the celebrations of India @60 wind down and as the national attention is consumed with problems of the moment?price of energy, inflation, debt relief to farmers, political realignment in the states?it is hard to focus attention on the future of India. The urgent is likely to drive out the important. Moreover, it is easy to get carried away by growth statistics of the past five years and feel ?we have arrived?. Leadership, however, is about the future, about hope and change. Leaders...
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Tuesday, August 12, 2008 — No Region Specified

Making Social Entrepreneurship Matter

Source: BusinessWeek

Daniel Lubetzky's not-only-for-profit business has created profitable joint ventures with Palestinians and Israelis. His model deserves attention. By Stacy Perman I recently came across an article in The Jerusalem Post about social entrepreneur Daniel Lubetzky. The Mexican-bo...
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Tuesday, August 12, 2008 — No Region Specified

The World of Globality is Not Flat

Source: Business Standard

In his best-selling book The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman had shown how globalisation had flattened the differences between developed and developing countries in terms of access to opportunity and growth. In Globality*, authors Harold L Sirkin, James W Hemerling and Arindam K Bhattacharya from Boston Consulting Group, show how, over the past two decades, a range of corporations from the developing world have begun to disrupt traditional paradigm of development and tilted the balance...
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Monday, August 11, 2008 — No Region Specified

For Acumen Fund, ROI = Profits + Social Impact

Source: VC Circle

The New York based Acumen Fund is a non-profit venture fund that invests in businesses that have a social and economic impact. It will invest in companies providing affordable, critical goods and services in sectors such as health, water, housing and energy. The geographies it focuses on are South Asia and East Africa, besides the US. Since it set up shop in India a couple of years ago, the fund has made equity investments in Kochi based ayurvedic chain, Ayur Vaid Hopsitals, Hyderabad-based Life...
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Tuesday, August 05, 2008 — No Region Specified

Understanding business models at the Base-of-Pyramid is critical for future growth: Harvard Business

Source: MBA Universe

Western markets are saturating and so are the urban markets of BRIC countries. This is forcing companies around the world to understand the lower income consumers living in urban slums and villages. Future of businesses lies in understanding and executing businesses models at the base-of-pyramid. That's the message from noted marketing thinker Prof V. Kasturi Rangan, the Malcolm P. McNair Professor of Marketing at the Harvard Business School (HBS) who was the chairman of the Mar...
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Tuesday, August 05, 2008 — No Region Specified

The Creative Capitalism Roundtable

Source: Time Magazine

TIME Managing Editor Rick Stengel recently convened an elite panel of business leaders and thinkers to talk about how corporations can do well by doing good. The panelists were Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates; Whole Foods founder and CEO John Mackey; Ogilvy & Mather chairman Shelly Lazarus; University of Michigan professor C.K. Prahalad, author of The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid; and Geeta Rao Gupta , president of the International Center for Research on Women. Here is a transcript ...
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Tuesday, August 05, 2008 — No Region Specified

Mobile Banking for the Poor

Source: Conde Nast Portfolio

At a press conference this morning in Mumbai, mobile-banking company Obopay announced an alliance with Grameen Solutions -- an alliance with an extraordinarily ambitious goal. In ten years' time, the companies said, they would like to see 1 billion of the world's poor -- people living on less than $2 a day -- receiving banking services via their mobile phones. It probably won't happen, but it would be amazing if it did. Mobile banking is not new, of course, although it is ...
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Tuesday, August 05, 2008 — No Region Specified

One Laptop per Child Lands in India

Source: Business Week Online

The Indian government wasn't interested, so OLPC partners with Reliance ADA Group to bring computers to India's primary school kids. By Nandini Lakshman Nicholas Negroponte has found it tough going in India. For years as the head of MIT's Media Lab, the famed computer scientist promoted radical ways to use technology to transform society. His best-known idea is the
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Friday, August 01, 2008 — No Region Specified

Spreading the Gospel

Source: The Economist

EARLIER this year Mario Chady faced a crucial decision. Having built up Spoleto, his chain of casual Italian restaurants, to 150 outlets in Brazil, and opened in Mexico and Spain, the time had come for Mr Chady, based in Rio de Janeiro, to choose between expanding into America or putting the idea on hold for at least 18 months. To help make up his mind, he asked for help from an organisation called Endeavor, which had chosen him as a potential ?high-impact entrepreneur? in 2003. Endea...
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