Tuesday
December 8
2009

Manuel Bueno

MajorityMarkets.org ? A New Site for BoP Experts

Those who have been involved with the Base of the Pyramid for some time will know that it is often striking (and frustrating) how often among all the information about BoP markets, there seem to be many anecdotes about the promise they hold, but little substance about how exactly to achieve it.

Trying to figure out exactly “what works” is, in fact, fiendishly hard to do. This lack of knowledge about what works and what does not is partly due to the fact that the BoP concept is still in its infancy. We at NextBillion try to spread the word about such solutions from the likes of Al Hammond (see his last ‘notes from the field’: 3, 4, and 5) and Phil LaRocco (see his opinions about platforms: 1 and 2) as well as act as a discussion forum and networking space for individuals interested in the BoP. Yet, the amount of experts willing and with enough time to share their experiences in the field is sorely lacking.

Recently a new website has appeared trying to cover that gap in knowledge. MajorityMarkets.org is an initiative led by the Opportunities for the Majority Office (OMJ) at the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) focused in Latin America and the Caribbean and with the objective of stimulating the joint development of successful business plans for low-income markets.

The OMJ is the first (and so far only) office in any Multinational Development Bank specifically promoting and financing private sector business models targeted to low-income communities. Since its inception between 2006 and 2007, it has had time to accumulate experiences and learnings directly from its many investments in the field. MajorityMarkets.org also includes an impressive array of partners who will also contribute their own nuggets of wisdom to the debate. This is expected to result in a virtual dialogue between partners (and open to all visitors) to further refine possible business models worth exploring and investing in.

Regular visitors to their site should expect to find articles about business models and project stories that OMJ staff or any of their partners have seen work first-handedly as well as an ongoing debate among the partners about their possible replicability and scalability.

Moreover, its writers are individuals with plenty of field experience. In this line, Luiz Ros, current manager of the OMJ office is an old friend from NextBillion.net. While Luiz was Global Manager for Markets and Sustainable Enterprise at the World Resources Institute (WRI), he supported and encouraged NextBillion as it took its first baby-steps in the Internet world. In a nutshell, and what makes MajorityMarkets.org pretty unique, is that it is designed with the ultimate objective of finding and supporting economically and socially profitable business opportunities.

This is just a brief overview of what they have to offer. Considering that the webpage is in its very initial stages I would encourage our readers to make it a visit and return frequently. I have big expectations for this website.

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