Cover of The Base of the Pyramid Promise by Ted London
The Base of the Pyramid Promise
Building Businesses with Impact and Scale
Ted London


240 pages.

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804791489
Ebook ISBN: 9780804797337

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Winner of the 2019 Humanistic Management Book Award (Practice), sponsored by the International Humanistic Management Association (IHMA).

Finalist in the 2018 SIM Book Award, sponsored by the AOM Social Issues in Management Section.

As economic growth slows in the developed world, the base of the pyramid (BoP) represents perhaps the last great, untapped market. Of the world's 7 billion inhabitants, around 4 billion live in low-income markets in the developing world. These 4 billion people deserve—and, increasingly, are demanding—better lives. At the same time, the business community seeks new opportunities for growth, and the development community is striving to increase its impact. With these forces converging, the potential for mutual value creation is tremendous. This book provides a roadmap for realizing that potential.

Drawing on over 25 years of experience across some eighty countries, Ted London offers concrete guidelines for how to build better enterprises while simultaneously alleviating poverty. He outlines three key components that must be integrated to achieve results: the lived experiences of enterprises to date—both successes and failures; the development of an ecosystem that is conducive to market creation; and the voices of the poor, so that entrants can truly understand what poverty alleviation is about. London provides aspiring market leaders and their stakeholders with the tools and techniques needed to succeed in the unique, opportunity-rich BoP.

About the author

Ted London is an internationally-recognized expert on enterprise strategy and poverty alleviation. He is Vice President of the William Davidson Institute and a faculty member at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.

"Like many, I've struggled with how to bring innovation to meaningful scale, while never sacrificing the north star of impact. This book offers a blueprint that will enable social entrepreneurs and enterprise leaders to apply hard-fought lessons and avoid key missteps; it offers the right tools to translate intention to action. I wish I had Ted's guidance when I founded Root Capital. An invaluable contribution."

—Willy Foote, Founder and CEO of Root Capital

"Ted's book couldn't have come at a better time! After a tough, fifteen-year journey through unmapped territory, BoP entrepreneurs are eyeing the future with cautious optimism. They will gain immensely from the strategies laid out in this field guide, distilled from Ted's ring-side view of several failed business models, many drawn-out experiments, and successful initiatives operating at scale."

—S. Sivakumar, Architect, ITC e-Choupal

"In this must-read book, Ted London draws on over a decade of experience linking two formerly separate domains: the business world and the development community. He provides an integrated set of tools, frameworks, and strategies for successfully enhancing the chances of the more than 4 billion poor through entrepreneurship and venture creation. With this book, we may finally fulfill the base of the pyramid promise."

—Stuart L. Hart, University of Vermont and co-author of the The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid

"Ted's vision combines clear thinking, refreshing humility, and a roadmap for audacious individuals who are ready to take on some of the world's toughest challenges. This is an important book for seekers, learners and especially doers who reject the status quo and are determined to make real change."

—Jacqueline Novogratz, Founder and CEO, Acumen

"This book is a highly practical account, based on deep insights, of how to address one of the biggest business and humanitarian issues—and opportunities—of our age: serving the needs of the base of the pyramid. One of the most convincing accounts yet of the role BoP enterprises play in poverty alleviation."

—Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever