The Opportunities for the Majority at the Inter-American Development Bank

What are the most promising Base of the Pyramid business models in Latin America?

Housing, education and banking, increasingly through mobile technology, are three of the fastest growing areas for private companies doing business with the Base of the Pyramid. Thanks to creative and also profitable new business models, low-income Colombians living outside the formal banking system are buying homes and appliances like fridges and washing machines on credit, and Brazilians with few early education options are giving their preschoolers a head start with targeted educational materials.

Colombia leads the way in Latin America with an active and aggressive private sector serving BoP markets. Utility company Empresas Públicas de Medellin analyzes the payment history of its 1.7 million customers and offers credit to those with a track record of paying on time. Thanks to this ingenious way of establishing credit histories by using clients utilities payment records, EPM customers can afford to buy household appliances while EPM expands its presence in underserved markets.

The poor spend a disproportionate amount of their incomes on housing, yet homeownership is often beyond their reach. Credifamilia is a creative partnership between a financial institution and homebuilders in Colombia that analyzes the creditworthiness of low-income and self-employed workers with little credit history and offers them mortgages to buy new and affordable homes.

Preschools are rare in low-income neighborhoods in Brazil and many young children start their formal education at a disadvantage. PUPA is the first company in Brazil to offer an installment delivery and payment plan so parents can buy educational toys and books specifically targeted to growing and developing young children and caregivers without much education. (See a NextBillion interview with PUPA’s CEO).

EPM’s General Manager Juan Esteban Calle, Credifamilia’s CEO Juan Sebastian Pardo, and PUPA’s founder and CEO Mary Anne Amorim will discuss the nuts and bolts of successfully reaching these large and largely untapped markets. The three top executives will be among many other BoP experts discussing their companies’ successful models at the Inter-American Development Bank’s II BASE Forum International set for June 6-7, 2013 in Medellin, Colombia.

How to effectively deploy models into BoP markets using existing platforms and proven strategies will be the focus of the two-day discussion. Register at and for more information email

Base of the Pyramid