Developing sustainable business models that address the needs of the world’s poor
May 25, 2005
People involved with international development and poverty alleviation programs are increasingly looking toward the private sector for inspiration and assistance. Many believe that involving business in such efforts will not only bring wealth, respect, dignity, and improved education and health to the world’s poor but also prove to be a profitable business strategy.
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits by C.K. Prahalad
To explore the future of the movement, in December of last year, the World Resources Institute organized the “Eradicating Poverty Through Profit: Making Business Work for the Poor” conference in San Francisco, California. More than 1000 people representing a wide range of stakeholders from business, the private sector, and civil society from 60-plus countries attended the 3 day meeting to discuss the relationship between business activity and economic development. Attendees looked a such questions as: “Can companies, pursuing their core business’ objectives deliver important development’ benefits?” and “Are low income communities real’ markets?”
Out of the conference emerged a new web site, NextBillion.net, that provides a forum for people to identify and discuss sustainable business models that address the needs of the world’s poorest citizens. The site describes itself “as a place where development professionals, business leaders, social entrepreneurs, NGOs, policy makers, academics, activists, and practitioners – from both North and South – can convene every day to access each other, and build on their own, and others’, work.”
NextBillion.net takes its name from the next billion people who are to rise from poverty and who will also the next billion customers currently underserved by markets worldwide.