Saturday
August 29
2009

Rob Katz

BoP Narrative Essay Competition Announced

The BoP Learning Laboratory has announced details of its 2009 BoP Narrative Competition. See below for details.

The 2009 BoP Narrative Competition has been created to help identify cutting-edge experiences of business innovation in underserved or marginalized communities.

Winning submissions must clearly articulate a business challenge that an organization working in low-income communities is striving to overcome, in addition to the resulting business model or initiative. Experiences and business models may be successful or unsuccessful, provided the challenge and solution-attempt is elaborated upon.

Organizations highlighted may be either non-profit or for-profit enterprises. Initiatives highlighted should illustrate a unique approach to poverty alleviation through an innovative product, service, technology, or business model.

This competition is looking for short essays illustrating BoP enterprises that meet the following three criteria:

1. They are based on private-sector business models that are locally transformational. In other words, the business creates mutual value, such as capacity building and wealth creation, for both the community and the enterprise. Implicit in this is the expectation that the business will be partner-intensive in an effort to achieve the greatest success.

2. A strong element of the Triple Bottom Line must be embedded in the business strategy – consideration of the environmental, societal, and economic impacts of the business. There must be motivation displayed to improve the quality of life for the community while simultaneously being sensitive to normative culture. Simply creating economic activity without regard for the local environment, community, or cultural impact is not in the vein of a BoP Enterprise.

3. There must exist the potential and an aspiration for scale and replication. The inability to grow and expand a business fails to meet the objective of transforming the local society and economy.

Narrative Guidelines:

  • 500-1000 words
  • Written in English
  • Microsoft Word or Text format
  • Double-spaced, size 12 Times New Roman font
  • Joint authorship is permitted
  • Each co-author’s personal information must be submitted with the narrative
  • More than one submission is permitted per person

A separate cover page or first page must be created that includes the following

  • Narrative title. The narrative title must be included at the top of each subsequent page.
  • Author’s name(s). References to the author(s) must not appear anywhere in the narrative text or footnotes.
  • Author’s contact information including email address(es).
  • Clearly indicate whether it is a Developing Country Business or Developed Country Business.
  • Footnoted references for facts or statistics
  • Illustrations or photos are optional and must be the property of the author(s)
  • All essays must be the original work of the author(s). No previously published material will be accepted. Any form of plagiarism will result in automatic disqualification.
  • Incomplete submissions will not be considered.

Eligibility: Open to all – professionals and students. No geographic restrictions. This competition may be of particular interest to students of business, development, journalism and the social sciences working in unique situations for the summer or exposed to unique experiences in economically challenged areas of the world.

Awards: Submissions will be divided into two categories, Developing Country Businesses and Developed Country Businesses. Winners will be announced on or about February 1, 2010. The winners will be asked to submit a short biography and photo to be used in publicity. The award will be presented to the author(s). We reserve the right not to award all categories in the event that the quality of submissions inadequate.

Developing Country Businesses – Sponsored by the Office of Microenterprise Development in the Bureau for Economic Growth, Agriculture and Trade, USAID; and International Finance Corporation (IFC)

1st Place

  • $4000 USD
  • Submission published on the BoP Knowledge Network website
  • Exclusive interview and feature on www.NextBillion.net (to be confirmed)
  • Leading participant in USAID’s Speaker’s Corner (dates to be determined)

2nd Place

  • $2000 USD
  • Submission published on the BoP Knowledge Network website
  • Exclusive interview and feature on www.NextBillion.net (to be confirmed)
  • Leading participant in USAID’s Speaker’s Corner (dates to be determined)

3rd Place

  • $1000 USD
  • Submission published on the BoP Knowledge Network website
  • Exclusive interview and feature on www.NextBillion.net (to be confirmed)
  • Leading participant in USAID’s Speaker’s Corner (dates to be determined)

Developed Country Businesses
Special Mention

  • $500 USD
  • Submission published on the BoP Knowledge Network website
  • Exclusive interview and feature on www.NextBillion.net (to be confirmed)

Judging: Submissions will be reviewed though a double blind process. Judges will be looking at the following criteria when reviewing the submissions: quality of the writing (grammatically correct, logical, etc.); whether or not it is an innovative business model; is it economically viable; and does it take into consideration the social and/or environmental impact of the business; and whether or not it is scalable/replicable in other regions.

Deadline: Midnight, October 11, 2009.

Submission: Submissions are to be submitted online at www.bopnetwork.org. If access to the internet is unavailable submissions can be mailed and must be post marked no later than October 11, 2009. Mail to:

BoP Narrative Competition
Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise
Cornell University
142 Sage Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853

Inquiries: Please direct inquiries to bop@johnson.cornell.edu. The subject line should read “BoP Narrative Competition Inquiry.”

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