Nitin Rao

BoP Learning Labs: Coinventing the Inclusive Economy

Cornell University has been at the heart of the base of the pyramid (BoP) discussion since Stu Hart became a professor there in 2003. The school’s programs study growth opportunities that address the needs of the world’s poorest communities and drive business success.

The next logical step? Move the discussion to developing markets, and gain live insights from BoP experiences gleaned from around the world.The Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise at Cornell University’s Johnson School has facilitated the creation of an outstanding network of BoP Learning Labs in Argentina, Benelux, Brazil, India, Mexico, South Africa, Spain and of course, the USA.

NextBillion ally Prof. Reuben Abraham (who recently led a series of video lectures on exploring new markets at the base of the pyramid) is the Director of the Base of the Pyramid Learning Lab in India.

Often, the first objective is to create a common language about the BoP concept among the audience. Based on this, future activities introduce more practical issues on the subject.

Through case studies on BoP business approaches and focused workshops, the Learning Labs serve as a catalyst and clearing house for ideas for sustainable businesses implemented by partner organizations.

Membership of this network allows companies to explore opportunities and challenges at the BoP, share experiences and business projects, contact possible allies, minimize risks and accelerate the learning process involved in launching new businesses at the base of the pyramid.

The member organisations in the BoP network include Battelle, DuPont, Ford, Lockheed Martin and Nike. Partner universities include Funda??o Getulio Vargas (Brazil), IESC (Argentina), IESE Business School (Spain), Indian School of Business (India), Ross School of Business, University of Michigan (US), Stellenbosch University (South Africa), Tec Monterrey EGADE (Mexico) and Tilburg University (The Netherlands)

Perhaps the best way to be introduced to these than by reading the BoP e-Journal here. (In the meanwhile, we await the winning entries of Cornell’s BoP e-Journal competition)

To join the BoP network contact Monica Touesnard in the US or the relevant partner university.