The Market Creation Accelerator (MCA) is a field-based, business coaching program of Cornell’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise (CSGE) designed to propel corporations’ current business development efforts targeting D&E consumers in emerging markets—the so-called Bottom of the Pyramid.Through MCA, managers in key project positions gain detailed, hands-on knowledge about a range of business models, as well as focused support for their own ventures from other “doers” and leading academics.
The program is uniquely geared towards building a cross-organizational capability for successful venturing. It does so by bringing together in a team the leadership of corporate-level departments tasked with developing D&E strategies with the leadership of corporations’ emerging-market offices who are responsible for enabling and executing those strategies.
The US and European-based multi-stakeholder conferences and roundtables that proliferated at the start of the BOP movement were valuable in building board-room buzz and high-level corporate interest. These programs’ optimistic messaging and focus on broad success factors were helpful in cultivating a generation of internal corporate champions—typically from companies’ headquarters—and getting companies to start considering these markets.
Today, however, companies’ level of sophistication and experience is much higher. Many have launched initiatives and are operating pilot ventures in multiple emerging-markets. For these companies, the challenges confronted are granular and specific to their particular product-markets, geographies, and industries. Additionally, as projects moved out to the field, the critical enabling and support role of country-level managers became evident.
The MCA is a 10-month program. Participating companies form a team to attend MCA. The team must have a minimum of three members, and a maximum of six. The team is required to have at least one corporate-level member with BOP project leadership responsibility and one top management team member from an emerging market office (e.g., General Manager, Director of Marketing).
The team is placed into a cohort that consists of similar teams from three to five additional non-competing companies. Total class-size will be limited to 18 managers, thereby ensuring intensive interaction and sharing.
Given the MCA’s cohort structure and focus on hands-on learning and knowledge exchange, the program only admits companies that have active projects targeting D&E consumers in emerging and frontier markets.
The program is divided into three phases: 1) Introduction & Alignment, 2) Field Immersions, and 3) Consolidation & Wrap-Up.
1. Introduction & Alignment (Month 1)
During Month 1, CSGE will hold a kick-off video conference to build familiarity among the cohort and to introduce the Business Concept Map that will serve as the basis for analyzing ventures and discussing solutions. Prior to the video-conference, each team will be responsible for drafting their key learning objectives for the course—specifically, a description of the business challenges confronted (internal and external) that they aim to resolve. Each team will present these key learning objectives during the video conference. A virtual blackboard will be set up and used to store all readings and papers, teams’ learning objectives, and teams’ field-immersion reports (see below).
2. Field Immersions (Months 3, 6, 9)
Three field immersions—approximately one every three months—are organized and facilitated by CSGE, The immersions will rotate among the companies in the cohort and travel to their current pilot sites.?The host company is responsible for providing meeting facilities and logistics with support from CSGE.
Each field immersion will have a pre-field, in-field, and post-field component.
- Pre-Field: Several weeks prior to a field visit, CSGE will disseminate a business brief describing the focal venture in depth, along with the key business challenges confronted. In addition, two to three relevant readings will be disseminated. CSGE will lead a video-conference discussion ahead of the field visit that reviews the brief and the articles, and discusses the key challenges and issues that the host company wants to address.
- In-Field: Each in-field visit is two full-days long. All teams arrive the evening prior. During Day 1, the teams will go out into the field to see all facets of the venture’s operations. Day 2 will be “in-class.” The morning session will be dedicated to capturing and discussing key learnings/successes. In the afternoon, breakout groups will be formed to discuss solutions to the challenges faced by the venture.
- Post-Field: Following the field immersion, each team is responsible for providing a written report to the host company team that outlines recommendations for addressing the key challenges confronted by their venture. CSGE will also develop a report synthesizing the immersion discussions.
3. Learning Consolidation & Wrap-Up (Month 10)
CSGE will develop a final report that consolidates all field immersion learnings and highlights areas for further research and experimentation. A wrap-up video conference will be held with the cohort to discuss the final report and to allow each team to provide their final reflections on their learning objectives and key next steps they will take. Individual debrief sessions will be held via video-conference between CSGE and each company.
The program cost is $75,000 for a three-person team. The cost for each additional team member is $12,500. This cost does not include companies’ travel expenses to immersion sites, which are the responsibility of the company.