How to Build Successful BoP Business Models

By Rahul Desai, Operations Coordinator, Opportunities for the Majority, Inter-American Development Bank

How to Build Successful BoP Business Models

Private companies that want to succeed in doing business with markets at the base of the pyramid (BoP) need to know their customers and their spending habits. They demand quality goods and services even though their cash flow is limited and it fluctuates.

Figuring out what BoP consumers will pay for, evaluating their ability to do so and devising a way so they can is the key to unlocking these large and potentially profitable markets. But a breakthrough on a meaningful scale takes more than solid financing, a good product and widespread distribution; it takes individuals with drive and perseverance to overcome the perceived risks of investing in innovative initiatives.

In projects financed by the IDB, we have noticed that for every single one of our projects and behind the success of the model, there is always is a visionary entrepreneur marshalling resources and forging partnerships, or a talented intrapreneur able to overcome a big company’s entrenched corporate culture.

Several of these path-breaking business people will talk about how they overcame barriers to enter BoP markets at the IDB’s BASE II Forum International in Medellin, Colombia on June 6-7 2013.

Marco Gorini of Brazil is a prime example of someone who helped to push through a BoP business model from within a large company. At the meeting, Gorini will discuss how he led planning, development and implementation of a credit card and business management training program tailored to micro-entrepreneurs selling food—street vendors or transformadores. This BoP business model, Tenda Atacado, was one of the 15 winners in the G20 Challenge on Inclusive Business and Innovation celebrated in 2012.

Mexico’s entrepreneurs of the year in 2012 founded salaUno, a Mexican eye clinic that performs sight-restoring surgeries for a third of the price of private clinics. Carlos Orellana will discuss salaUno’s drive for high quality while doing high volume and the need for constant and sophisticated measuring of their work. salaUno’s goal is to expand and become the leading provider in specialized, low-cost eye surgeries across Latin America in the next two years.

Other companies that will share their experiences during the event include Brilla from Promigas in Colombia; VisionSpring in El Salvador; and Sorridents from Brazil. .

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For more information email Lina Salazar Ortegon

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