Moses Lee

The Next: 2010 Case Writing Competition

I’m always asked by students here at the University of Michigan how they can get more involved in the base of the pyramid movement. “I’m really interested in these BoP ideas. What can I do to explore this more? How do I get more engaged in the community?”

Unfortunately, on most campuses around the world, there are not many opportunities for students. Some universities offer a single course on the subject (and it’s generally open only to business school students). A select few schools provide field-based consulting projects. Most offer nothing. Indeed, there is a tremendous unmet need.

In response to this need, the William Davidson Institute (WDI) has partnered with Acumen Fund and the World Resources Institute (WRI) to launch The Next: 2010 Case Writing Competition on The purpose of this competition is to engage students in writing high-impact case studies with their professors to help further the overall base of the pyramid movement.

To make the competition meaningful and relevant to the field, the case competition will center on key questions that the three sponsoring organizations are currently wrestling with:

  • Where can markets work best to address issues of poverty?
  • What business models and business innovations are effective in developing scalable businesses serving low-income markets in the developing world?
  • What are the consumer behaviors – in terms of spending and decision-making – that define market opportunities?
  • How can market-based approaches to poverty alleviation achieve their goals while also protecting natural resources and preventing environmental degradation?
  • How can the public and/or private sector best support the development of businesses serving the poor?

Bob Kennedy (Executive Director, WDI), Brian Trelstad (Chief Investment Officer, Acumen Fund) and Virginia Barreiro (New Ventures Global Director, WRI) have each agreed to be a judge for the competition. The hope is that these cases will be used to better inform their organizations, help academics teach this material to future leaders, and ultimately, make a tremendous social impact on the ground.

And an added reason to participate in this competition? Prize money! Prizes will be awarded as follows:

  • First: $1000
  • Second: $500
  • Third: $250
  • Fourth and Fifth: $100

In addition, winners will be interviewed and profiled on and will receive an autographed copy of Jacqueline Novogratz’s new book, The Blue Sweater.

Cases are due April 30th, 2010. For more information on the competition, please click here or email me.

Note: To help drum up interest in the competition at your school, please pass this flyer around.

Sponsored By: