My last "Business at the Bottom of the Pyramid" Class at the EOI. Working with case studies

Yesterday, I had the last teaching session of the course Business at the Bottom of the Pyramid at the International Master in Sustainable Development and Corporate Responsibility organised by the EOI.

It was a pleasure to teach a group bright students from around the world, highly motivated to find and work with  new business models targeted at providing goods and services to the poorest people in the world.

Yesterday, students worked and presented several cases using the framework developed by Growing Inclusive Markets (GIM) Initiative, a UNDP project that seeks to understand, enable, and inspire the development of more inclusive business models around the globe.

The GIM´s  strategy matrix maps the five most common constraints businesses face when designing and implementing BoP models  in low-income markets and provides a useful outline of the solutions, which the companies apply to solve their problems and develop their value propositions.

Successful inclusive business models typically combine several strategies to address several constraints.

The colour highlights within the matrix, shows how the strategies are most often applied by companies.

  • Strategies highlighted in dark blue are used most often,
  • those in light blue only rarely.

New cases studies

The GIM has recently released 60 new case studies of business models, which include the poor on the demand side as clients and customers, and on the supply side as employees, producers, and business owners along the value chain.

The case studies from Africa, Americas, Asia and Europe are thoroughly researched and provide evidence of various ways to develop proven business models that are inclusive in emerging and frontier markets.

Working with cases and generating ideas for business models
The strategy matrix is also valuable as a tool in your company to map possible solutions to constraints within your targeted market. To get from broad strategies to focused solutions one must not only identify each local constraint, but also understand its dynamics in the market.

The strategy matrix can be combined with Osterwalder, Pigneur, & al. business model canvas, which is a visual template pre-formatted with the nine core blocks of a business model. The canvas allows you to develop and sketch out new business models. For more information about the Business Model Canvas check my previous post.

Further reading and resources:


  1. Diana Sanchez el 7 de junio de 2012 a las 08:03

    Very interesting topic! Thanks I enjoyed very much the class!