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The Market at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Understanding the Culture of Poverty

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Abstract As never before, the private sector can make a difference at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP). But little is known about who the poor really are, the environment in which they live, and how to create value for them. This also means that little is known about how to establish a business at the BOP that meets both development and profit goals. This article presents a segmentation approach embedded in a larger theory of the culture of poverty to help businesses focus on serving the BOP. I focus on examples from my research on the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and Patrimonio Hoy in Mexico to show examples of applications of segmentation theory to businesses at the BOP.

Affiliations: 1: University of Miami Ohio


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