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Defining Business at the Bop

To provide greater clarity and focus, the BoP Global Network identified four needed factors that should be present to qualify as a “BoP business” within the context of the Global Network.

  • The Global Network focuses on private-sector business models. While social enterprise and non-profit models are important, the focus of the Global Network partners is on profit-making business models for serving the poor.

  • The Global Network is focused on businesses that are transformational in quality, meaning that they have a profoundly positive effect on the communities they serve. Beyond simply “selling a product,” a BoP business builds local capacity and generates local livelihoods. Implicit in this is the expectation that the business will engage members of the local community as partners to achieve the greatest success.

  • The Global Network partners believe that consideration of environmental, social, and cultural impacts must be embedded in BoP business strategies. There must be motivation to improve the quality of life for the community; simply creating economic activity without regard for the local environment, community, or cultural impact is not consistent with BoP enterprise development as defined by the Global Network.

  • There must be the aspiration and potential to scale and propagate the business beyond the initial community or region within which it is launched. While local innovation and non-profit experiments are important, only by growing and expanding sustainable enterprises in BoP communities globally will we make more rapid progress toward a sustainable world.