Fortune at the bottom of the pyramid – too good to be true?

I’m a bit behind the story here, but just came across this paper (from 2007) on the site claiming that selling to the bottom of the pyramid isn’t a win (in most cases). Worth a read if, like me, you’re behind the story on this one …

The popular ‘bottom of the pyramid’ (BOP) proposition argues that large companies can make a fortune by selling to poor people and simultaneously help eradicate poverty. While a few market opportunities do exist, the market at the BOP is generally too small monetarily to be very profitable for most multinationals. At the same time, the private sector can play a key role in poverty alleviation by viewing the poor as producers, and emphasize buying from them, rather than selling to them.”

Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: A Mirage How the private sector can help alleviate poverty

Aneel Karnani Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan


April 2007 


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