eParachute - Chart a path to work you love

eParachute - What Color is Your Parachute? - eParachute.com

The Hoop Fund - Fund Greater Goods

The Hoop Fund www.hoopfund.com

The caring conundrum – beyond badges for social enterprise

save the earthGreen not working? Try chocolate...

At a loss for how to explain what I do for a living, my sister once described my work as “something to do with pyramid schemes and poor people.” I can laugh at it now (the base of the pyramid is an awful phrase for a number of reasons), but the incident highlights how contradictory most people find the combination of capitalism and doing good for the world.

Even when familiar with enterprises that use “capitalism for good”, most people generally call to mind a class of companies that fill a small, though often profitable, niche of eco- or socially-conscious consumers. By in large, growth in those markets is defined by how much you can make people care (about the planet, about people, about pandas).

Green badge: Do Good, Buy Now!

There’s another class of companies, however, who may use green means, but who don’t rely on consumer sentiment about society or the environment to sell their stuff. Among these are many of the companies I have worked with in recent years, where the name of the game has been catalyzing massive new markets, primarily in the so-called base of the economic pyramid. While they used inclusive means to serve poor communities, these companies’ goals were those of growth-seeking, profit-oriented enterprises.

What is a social entrepreneur?

Florence NightingaleFlorence Nightingale - Social Entrepreneur

Base of the Pyramid Protocol

Protocol team in Hyderabad, India

BoP Incentives, Criticisms, and Developments

2 Big Reasons why firms enter the BoP

  1. Market Creation - stagnating here, stalled There.

BoP Articles and Books

Selected writings about the BoP


The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid (PDF)
C.K. Prahalad and Stuart Hart, strategy + business, First Quarter 2002.

BoP Organizations and Initiatives

Organizations, initiatives, and online resources about the BoP

A Call to Fortune

Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid

The Forgotten Man - an early history of the BoP

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Although a bottom of the pyramid has likely existed throughout the history of commerce, probably the earliest uses of the phrase “bottom of the economic pyramid” was by Franklin D. Roosevelt during his bid for the Democratic nomination for U.S. President. In a radio address on April 7, 1932, titled The Forgotten Man, Roosevelt stated:

Ask yourself why Japan leads the world in building a decentralized solar-panel energy economy. Because it has so much sun (it doesn't), or because it has so much fellowship?

Bill McKibben, Deep Economy

What is the BoP?

The phrase "Base of the Pyramid" is used for two interrelated concepts:

  1. a socio-economic designation for the 4-5 billion individuals that live primarily in developing countries and whose annual per capita incomes fall below $1,500 (in PPP terms); and
  2. an emerging field of business strategy that focuses on products, services, and enterprises to serve people throughout the base of the world's income pyramid.

Both concepts are also often referred to as the "Bottom of the Pyramid" or the "BoP".

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