BOP Competition

The Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise at Cornell University's Johnson Graduate School of Management is a short-essay competition that seeks to highlight the challenges of implementing business in underserved markets and identify innovative business initiatives or solutions to those challenges.

4th Annual Base of the Pyramid Short-Essay Competition - 2010-2011

Sponsored by:

With the assistance of Johnson's Sustainable Global Enterprise Club - a Net Impact Chapter

The Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise at Cornell University's Johnson Graduate School of Management is accepting submissions for its 2010-2011 Base of the Pyramid (BoP) Short Essay Competition. This competition seeks to highlight the challenges of implementing business in underserved markets and identify innovative business initiatives or solutions to those challenges.

Competition:

The 2010-2011 BoP Narrative Competition has been created to help identify cutting-edge experiences of business innovation in underserved or marginalized communities.

Winning submissions must clearly articulate a business challenge that an organization working in low-income communities is striving to overcome, in addition to the resulting business model or initiative including the financial viability of the business. Experiences and business models may be successful or unsuccessful, provided the challenge and solution-attempt is elaborated upon.

Organizations highlighted may be either non-profit or for-profit enterprises. Initiatives highlighted should illustrate a unique approach to poverty alleviation through an innovative product, service, technology, or business model.

This competition is looking for short essays illustrating existing BoP enterprises (not hypothetical businesses) that meet the following three criteria:

  1. They are based on private-sector business models that are locally transformational. In other words, the business creates mutual value, such as capacity building and wealth creation, for both the community and the enterprise. Implicit in this is the expectation that the business will be partner-intensive in an effort to achieve the greatest success.
  2. A strong element of the Triple Bottom Line must be embedded in the business strategy – consideration of the environmental, societal, and economic impacts of the business. There must be motivation displayed to improve the quality of life for the community while simultaneously being sensitive to normative culture. Simply creating economic activity without regard for the local environment, community, or cultural impact is not in the vein of a BoP Enterprise.
  3. There must exist the potential and an aspiration for scale and replication. The inability to grow and expand a business fails to meet the objective of transforming the local society and economy.