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Lifting the Poor Through Business: First International BoP Global Network Summit

New business models and products, innovation ecosystems, sustainability, financial education, and how to bring new opportunities to the world's poorest populations were among the main topics of the first international BoP Global Network Summit.

The event mobilized corporate leaders, non-profits, BoP Lab leaders, students, academics, entrepreneurs, community and government representatives, and journalists, on 7 and 8 November, 2013, at the headquarters of Natura, in Cajamar, São Paulo.

Co-creator of the innovative business concept at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP), Stuart Hart, was one of the leaders of the International Summit. Professor Hart, president of Enterprise for a Sustainable World (ESW) in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and faculty emeritus at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, pointed out that companies should increase their efforts to incubate and provide protected “white space” for projects that integrate all the community, move the economy forward, and are sustainable. "For those actions to materialize, it will require new technologies, new strategies, new business models. Everything new!", said Hart.

In addition, several leaders of BoP initiatives presented cases and responded to questions and suggestions from participants about the projects.  Sagun Saxena, Director of CleanStar Ventures, detailed the NDZiLO business model involving innovators in clean cookstoves, cooking fuel production, sustainable farming methods, and agro-forestry co-creating a sustainable and inclusive ecosystem in Maputo, Mozambique. As a result of these innovations, the charcoal value chain was replaced with the use of clean technology, improving the quality of life and generating a new source of income for the local community. The venture is on track to serve 20% of Maputo households by 2014.

For Ted London, one of the biggest obstacles to poverty alleviation on a global level is the current mark of 7 billion people in the world and population growth forecast to reach 9-10 billion by 2050. However, companies that are taking action to develop inclusive initiatives with the BoP play an important role in the solution of these problems. "We are moving slowly. Today, there is awareness that business can be part of the solution," says London, a researcher at the William Davidson Institute and professor at the University of Michigan, in the United States.

Stuart Hart ended the event emphasizing, along with more than 16 BoP Lab leaders present at the meeting, representing Denmark, Finland, Japan, China, India, Colombia, Philippines, Italy, Germany, Brazil and South Africa, the need for businesses to always consider their actions in context of the sustainability triple bottom line, which encompasses the environment, society, and economy.

The BoP Global Network in collaboration with leaders of 16 of the 18 BoP global learning labs created the report "Raising the Base of the Pyramid", available at:

The BoP Global Network

The BoP Global Network was established in 2000 to bring together world leaders, in order to share knowledge and disseminate information about the theory and practice of sustainable business at the base of the economic pyramid.

The first BoP Learning Lab was established by Stuart Hart, at the University of North Carolina, in the United States. Since then, 18 new innovation centers have been developed and they discuss and propose, around the world, solutions for the reduction of social inequality and environmental degradation. In Brazil, the BoP Global Lab is at the Center of Excellence in Retail at Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV-EAESP), in São Paulo.

For more information about the Network and how to be engaged:

Additional information:
Reports-advice on Communication: (11) 2601-0480/2601-0571
Rosana Wenceslaus: (11) 99642-8517-
Adelson Junior: (11) 99853-0729-