Development Through Enterprise catalyzes sustainable economic growth by identifying market opportunities and business models that meet the needs of underserved communities in emerging economies.
Please note the Next Billion project was concluded in 2012, but our resources remain available online. If you have any questions, please contact Brian Carney, Program Coordinator for the Business Program.
Nextbillion.net The Development Through Enterprise interactive portal disseminates news, best practices, and conference/workshop resources and facilitates discussion, sharing of experience, and networking. It builds on the Eradicating Poverty Through Profits conference and extends the dialog and sense of community to an on-line area and aims to be a primary source for information on private sector approaches to poverty and development. The site maintains a database of innovative enterprises. We also maintain an archival database, the Digital Dividends Clearinghouse, has data on more than 1200 internet and communications technology (ICT) enabled enterprises that serve poor communities. These sites, and associated email newsletters, are part of our communications strategy, but they also help us identify trends and best practices for serving bottom of the pyramid (BOP) markets.
Case Studies and other Research Development Through Enterprise manages an annual process of case study research and writing intended to document innovative business models. We contract with business school students at four top business schools, Columbia University, Cornell University, University of Michigan, and University of North Carolina. The selection procedure for research positions is very competitive, resulting in the selection of student teams that not only have outstanding academic credentials, but often also have applicable cultural and language abilities. Case study research includes a thorough review of the business model, operations, markets, finances, as well as in-depth on-site interview with managers, executives, and customers. Case studies and other research reports are actively disseminated on our websites and email newsletters and serve as the intellectual base for corporate strategy articles in prominent journals.
The Next 4 Billion: Market Size and Business Strategy at the Base of the Pyramid Four billion low-income consumers, a majority of the world’s population, constitute the base of the economic pyramid (BOP). New empirical measures of their aggregate purchasing power and behavior as consumers suggest significant opportunities for market-based approaches to better meet their needs, increase their productivity and incomes, and empower their entry into the formal economy. This volume, based on unique access to the household income and consumption surveys of developing and transition countries, offers a new and compelling perspective on low-income communities worldwide. Drawing on income data from 110 countries and standardized expenditure data from 36 countries across the globe, The Next 4 Billion is an important first look at the market opportunity represented by four billion individuals who make up the BOP. The analysis for the first time provides a quantitative assessment and characterization of BOP markets.
Corporate Engagement Based on case study and structure of poverty research, as well as corporate strategy articles, we partner and work intensively with a small number of multinational companies to catalyze the development of bottom of the pyramid business models that provide needed services in poor communities; with WRI Markets & Enterprise Program colleagues, we also prepare and conduct in-country workshops for local companies. Both types of engagements are intended to raise awareness, facilitate development of appropriate business approaches, and catalyze investment and new business formation.
Development Agency Engagement Based on case study and structure of poverty research, and the broader intelligence gained from our BOP databases, we engage and advise bilateral agencies in implementing more effective development strategies, including incorporation of bottom-up models and more effective use of private sector roles in development.
Conferences and Workshops Building on the momentum created by the success of the December 2004 WRI global conference, “Eradicating Poverty through Profit: Making Business Work for the Poor,” we organize regional conferences, workshops, and laboratories to explore the role the private sector can play in poverty alleviation and in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.