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, October 29, 2009 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Peddling Trash: Waste Management and Income Generation

Source: The Ecologist

Daily quantities are sold for daily needs in Nairobi's ever-growing slums. Called the kidogo economy, Swahili for 'little', laundry detergent, margarine and anything else manufacturers haven't packaged in small boxes are divided and resold in tiny affordable sachets. In this context of severe urban poverty, micro-enterprise isn't a buzz word. It's a lifestyle. So it's appropriate that a solid waste management program ...
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Thursday, October 29, 2009 — Asia Pacific

The Internet Address Goes Global - with Local Languages

Source: Marketplace (NPR)

Bill Radke: The Internet address goes global. The company that acts as the world's clearinghouse for Internet domains is a California-based non-profit called ICANN. Reporter Kurt Achin says ICANN is about to help the Web speak the local language around the world. Kurt Achin: Up until now, Internet users have had to type out web page URLs using the Roman alphabet. But on Friday, ICANN's board -- meeting here in Se...
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Monday, October 26, 2009 — No Region Specified

At the BoP, Companies First Need to Create the Market

Source: Wall Street Journal

Around the world, four billion people live in poverty. And Western companies are struggling to turn them into customers. For the past decade, business visionaries have argued that these people, dubbed the Base of the Pyramid, make up an enormous, untapped market. Some of the world's biggest, savviest corporations have aimed to address their basic needs—by selling them everything from clean water to electricity. But, time and again, the initiatives have quietly ...
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Friday, October 23, 2009 — No Region Specified

BoP Guru Named World's Top Business Thinker

Source: Forbes India

Few management thinkers have the ability to come up with one winning idea after another. C.K. Prahalad is a rare exception. He has the remarkable ability to be ahead of the times. Look at any of his key ideas — be it core competence, co-creation or the bottom of the pyramid — Prahalad’s influence on the study and practise of management has been immense. It is no wonder then that for the second time in a row, the Indian-born management guru has earned the distincti...
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009 — South Asia

Western Union Tapping the Fortune

Source: DNA News

Money transfer company Western Union believes in tapping fortune at the bottom of the pyramid. The company is tying up with microfinance institutions (MFIs) and e-governance service providers to facilitate financial inclusion. This marks a shift in its India game plan, to offer money transfer services through MFIs besides its current portfolio of India Post network, banks, retail and finance agents. The Nasdaq-listed company has tied up with e-governance and I...
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009 — South Asia

Indian Firms Shift Focus to the Poor

Source: Wall Street Journal

Indian companies, long dependent on hand-me-down technology from developed nations, are becoming cutting-edge innovators as they target one of the world's last untapped markets: the poor. India's many engineers, whose best-known role is to help Western companies expand or cut costs, are now turning their attention to the purchasing potential of the nation's own 1.1-billion population. The trend that surfaced when Tata Motors' tiny $2,200 car, the Nano, hi...
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Thursday, October 15, 2009 — No Region Specified

How C.K. Prahalad's Bottom of the Pyramid Strategies Are Paying Off

Source: Knowledge@Wharton

Five years ago, C.K. Prahalad published a book titled, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid , in which he argues that multinational companies not only can make money selling to the world's poorest, but also that undertaking such efforts is necessary as a way to close the growing gap between rich and poor countries. Key to his argument for targeting the world's poorest is the sheer size of that market -- an estimated four billion people. How has Prahalad's book...
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Monday, October 12, 2009 — South Asia

Tata Power Links with MCX to Empower Farmers

Source: Press Release

As a part of its strategy, to take the benefits of the future’s trading to farmers’ doorstep and reach out to every corner of India, The Tata Power Company Ltd, India’s largest Integrated Power Utility signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX), India’s leading commodity exchange. Through this alliance, the benefit of the future price information will be spread to more than 2000 farmers across 25 villages of Maharashtra where Tata Po...
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Wednesday, October 7, 2009 — Asia Pacific

Understanding Rural and Low Income Customers in Asia

Source: ADOI Magazine

An important segment that marketers cannot ignore in Asia is the bottom of the pyramid and those Asian consumers living in rural areas. The challenges, marketers face in trying to address these consumers are high and risky due to the fragmented nature of the rural market and the low margins of this trade. There is no denying though that rural consumers want to access brands, if only because they are a promise of quality. For Asian marketers interested in tapping the huge rural markets in Asia...
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Wednesday, October 7, 2009 — South Asia

Water Purifier Players Battle for Every Drop

Source: Economic Times

It’s said the next world war will be fought for water. While this frightening scenario — a global battle between nations for the precious resource — is strictly hypothetical in proportions, a skirmish over water has already erupted in India. No, not the disputed Cauvery water nor the water sharing between India and its neighbours, but between brands in the water purifier market. And it’s between market leader Eureka Forbes (EFL) and Hindustan Unilever which has been fo...
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Wednesday, October 7, 2009 — South Asia

Investors Back Social Initiatives in India

Source: Live Mint

Bangalore: When Pune-based sanitation services provider Saraplast Pvt. Ltd started hunting for funds late last year, it was confident of attracting investors. The company had all its documents in place, a three-year track record of profits and a business model that it thought could be scaled up. However, Saraplast was baffled when investors indicated that they did not think its business of operating portable toilets was a business at all, even in a country where 55% of the populati...
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Tuesday, October 6, 2009 — No Region Specified

ANDE Announces $447K in Capacity Development Funding

Source: Press Release

Fifteen international economic development organizations have received grants in support of their work to expand small and growing businesses in developing countries. The grants-totaling US $447,000-were announced at the 2009 annual conference of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs in Glen Cove, New York. The grants were the first awarded as part of the network's Capacity Development Fund, a US $1million effort to increase the productivity and effectiveness of organi...
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Monday, October 5, 2009 — No Region Specified

Financial innovation and the Poor: A Place in Society

Source: The Economist

Many nodded when Lord Turner, the City of London's chief regulator, said recently that the financial industry had grown "beyond its socially useful size". The idea that devices such as collateralised debt obligations and credit-default swaps have been a blessing, not least by allowing the less well-off to buy houses, is in tatters: lots of those new homeowners have lost their houses as well as their jobs. It is remarkable, then, that the crisis should have given fresh impetus to "social f...
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Saturday, October 3, 2009 — No Region Specified

Making Profits for a Purpose

Source: Boston Globe

CAMBRIDGE - Backed by a $50 million gift from a self-made billionaire, a young MIT center is betting Third World development will come not from governments but from profit-driven entrepreneurs who use technology to create jobs. The center's founder and director, Iqbal Z. Quadir, has set a powerful example for his students to follow. He built Grameenphone in his native Bangladesh from a cellphone start-up in the 1990s into a business serving more than 20 million subscribers. The comp...
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