The term “bottom of the pyramid” (BoP) refers to the four billion people who live on less than $2 per day in developing countries who have been recognized as comprising a large market for productivity-enhancing goods and services. In recent years, interest in this group has grown substantially, with the understanding that increasing the well-being of the poor while increasing the profits of the private sector can simultaneously be a sound development and business strategy. However, while much has been written on the BoP, the claims and assumptions behind variations on this model and the pathways through which it works on the ground remain unclear. There is surprisingly little research on how, and for whom, the principles of development-through-entrepreneurship work “in practice”.
This workshop will bring together leading social scientists and scholars from academia and industry in order to provide a more informed understanding of the bottom of the pyramid as a development and business strategy, particularly through the lens of information and communication technologies. It will explore BoP opportunities, practice, and criticism by looking at a variety of services including: the implementation of financial services, education, health and governance services for the poor. In particular the mobile phone and ICT telecenters have taken a prominent role in delivery strategies.