Despite the growth in trade and international aid, the number of people living in poverty around the world is increasing. This book is about understanding that micro-entrepreneurial activities at the Bottom or 'Base' of the Pyramid (BoP) - for the major part present in the informal economy - represent a fundamental mechanism to assist with the survival and life improvement of many poor communities, and take many forms.
In some respects, entrepreneurship at the BoP is not that different from what we witness in developed countries: there is fierce competition and only a few succeed based on either individual strengths and/or third party support. But entrepreneurs at the BoP also face a range of challenges that are not seen in the developed world and this is what makes successful entrepreneurship at the BoP such an interesting topic.
There are important examples of organizations, public and private, large and small, established and new, that seek to promote inclusive entrepreneurship practices, specifically targeting those most in need. In order to disseminate the knowledge gained by these institutions and improve on their efforts, it is important to introduce into business libraries, university courses and aid agencies, books that explicitly address this subject.
In this book, the authors constantly prompt the reader with activities and real examples to assist the learning of theoretical perspectives and encourage thinking outside the box. One case, of a small not for profit organization in Mozambique is woven throughout the text to show the relevance of many of the topics covered.
The first two chapters aim to give the reader a good understanding of two fundamental concepts: the BoP and poverty, which provide the foundations for addressing the range of issues that follow. In the subsequent chapters, the authors examine entrepreneurship, the informal sector, micro-credit, and the variety of other models for economic development that have been developed to alleviate poverty at the BoP. Chapters 7 to 10 examine various agencies and approaches used around the world to assist the growth of entrepreneurship in poor developing contexts.