Rob Katz

Roundup: Growing Inclusive Markets, iBOP Asia and More

A quick roundup of base of the pyramid news and notes, including a few new publications that have made it on my to-read list:

The UN Development Program launched a new website highlighting its Growing Inclusive Markets Initiative, which Staff Writer Grace Augustine covered here. (Full disclosure: I sit on the Growing Inclusive Markets Initiative’s advisory board, though I take no responsibility for the site’s painfully long Flash intro nor the nonsense background music. Memo to UNDP web developers–simpler is better.)Once in, you’ll find that the site features case studies, some of which will be familiar to long-time BoP watchers (Pesinet returns!); others are completely new to the sector. There are 46 cases to go through, which should keep even the most hardcore case reader occupied for a while. Be sure to bookmark the site as well, since the GIM will be releasing heat maps (basically, country-specific market research on BoP consumer patterns) and a strategy matrix.

Another new web site to check out and bookmark is iBOP-Asia. Run out of the Ateneo School of Government, the site will document a three-year study on Philippine entrepreneurs’efforts to serve the less-than-$2-a-day population. Staff Writer (and soon to be Ashoka employee) Al Hammond attended the project’s launch earlier this month. Interesting note: the iBOP-Asia research is being stewarded by Tony La Vina, an Ashoka Fellow, Dean of the Ateneo School and a former colleague of mine at the World Resources Institute. Small world?

In an effort to keep readers from developing computer-related vision problems, I’ll recommend a new book. Madhu Viswanathan has been studying consumer and entrepreneurial literacy in subsistence markets for years; he and co-authors S. Gajendiran and R. Venkatesan recently published new results in a book entitled Enabling Consumer and Entrepreneurial Literacy in Subsistence Marketplaces. Check it out, as well as the trio’s web site.

Finally, the WBCSD has a new feature on Reuters Market Light, as highlighted by ally Filippo Veglio in his must-read Sustainable Livelihoods Newsletter. According to the feature, Reuters Market Light

provides farmers with affordable and up-to-date information on crop prices, weather forecasts, and other agriculture-related news via text messages to mobile phones. Making available weather reports over a 50-mile radius and local crop prices within a 5-hour journey in the subscriber’s local language, RML helps farmers achieve better yields and secure better prices in local and regional markets.

Worth a closer look.