Side Event: Serving Base of the Pyramid Markets and Customers: From Pilot to Scale


DAY 1 – Monday 2 May – SwissTech Convention Centre

Side Event hosted by Swiss Water Partnership (SWP), Swiss Bluetec Bridge (SBB), and Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science (EAWAG)

>> Download the side event flyer and the full program details here[PDF]


Base-of-the-Pyramid (BoP) strategies have become increasingly popular among private companies, social businesses, and even non-profit organizations in recent years. BoP refers to the approximately 3.3 billion people living in extreme poverty, subsistence, and low-income segments, whose daily income ranges from 3 to 12 USD. As market-based solutions to alleviate poverty, BoP strategies consider the BoP population as consumers, who have unmet needs, and not as beneficiaries of aid programs. BoP strategies focus on charging for goods, which changes the awareness from getting something for “free” to paying for something “valuable”. When BoP consumers can afford something themselves, they become more self-confident.

Few companies have so far addressed the opportunities in designing and delivering goods and services to BoP customers. However this might change in the near future: interest for these customers is growing, on the one hand, because of its purchasing power as a group, and on the other driven by the new demanding Sustainable Development Goals.

Reasons why you should attend this side event:

  • Get to know the specificities of the BoP market: for some criteria, BoP markets are surprisingly similar to affluent markets – for example product desirability – but different for others – for example willingness to pay for (affordable) services.
  • Discuss the roles of private and public sector in service delivery: public entities have a key role to play in supporting private companies to deliver services, through framework conditions that are conducive and active support measures (awareness raising, demand creation, education).
  • Discover innovative business solutions for BoP markets: relevant business experiences from around the world will be showcased, highlighting opportunities and challenges for business solutions for BoP markets and customers. Also best practices for market entry, piloting and scale-up will be scaled-up.
  • Exchange cross-sector insights and network: There will be participants and showcases from the agriculture, energy, sanitation, and water sectors, representing start-ups, SMEs, social entrepreneurs, the finance, and non-profit world. This means a unique chance for you to talk, learn from others, share insights, look for partners, and meet people who face similar challenges.

Join this interactive session on the essential characteristics of BoP markets and customers and how your organization can succeed in such a context.