Europ BoP LL_1
Mike Debelak (far left) and Ana Peréz Aponte (far right) from Inclusive Business Sweden with Stuart Hart (third from left) and representatives from a number of European BoP Learning Labs

Aalto Global Impact together with the New Global organized a one‐day event focusing on practical business cases and experiences of companies and NGOs doing business in low-income markets in Espoo (Finland) on the 17th of June. The goal of the seminar was to enhance companies’ and NGOs’ abilities to tap into the growing market opportunities and to learn how to create inclusive business ecosystems. Find summary of the event here

Stuart Hart was the key speaker of the event and noted that “Until now, globalization has been driven by the west and imposed on the rest” but the wealthy part of the income pyramid is becoming increasingly crowded and the limits of the growth are met in cost barriers and environmental tipping, especially in the middle class. New opportunities exist in the Base of the Pyramid, but it is a difficult market to do business and it requires new technologies, products and business models. The traditional view of BoP meant structural innovation that considered the poor as producers or consumers. It required careful listening, reducing price points, even distribution, derivative product technology and an arm´s lenght relationship via NGOs. The intentions were good, but problems were created. The new generation of BoP (BoP 2.0) means embedded innovation, where the poor are seen as business partners. See his presentation here.

“The new generation of BoP (BoP 2.0) means embedded
innovation, where the poor are seen as business
partners” (Stuart L. Hart)

Mike Debelak talked about the Swedish Inclusive Business Agenda that is currently under development. The objective is to formulate a strategic research, innovation and action agenda for engaging Swedish organizations with BoP opportunities through collaboration with large and small businesses, civil organisations, academia, embassies and people living in the target countries. According to Mike Debelak, the work is based on supportive framework: knowledge development and change; needs-driven collaborative innovation; networking and partnerships; and finance and support especially for early-stage social entrepreneurs. He reminded that co-creation and partnering are critical components of a successful BoP strategy. See Mike’s presentation here.

Also in Espoo took place the First European BoP Learning Labs summit where representatives from Finland, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands and Sweden shared learnings and discussed about challenges and new ways of collaborating.