Print Friendly
NextBillion’s New and Improved Hub for “Base of the Pyramid” Solutions
NextBillion’s new Web site includes new interactive features to explore business innovations for the “base of the pyramid.”

NextBillion’s new Web site includes new interactive features to explore business innovations for the “base of the pyramid.”

Our friends at NextBillion.net, a joint project between the World Resources Institute and the Acumen Fund, have enjoyed the first full month of their recent makeover, flaunting a sleek new design and host of interactive features.

The Web site, which originally launched in May 2005, is intended to be the go-to online resource for all things related to the “base of the pyramid,” or “BoP,” a term that describes the approximately 4 billion people who live on less than $2 per day, and that represents a vastly untapped business market. As NextBillion writes: “It has come to designate not the poverty but the potential of the world’s poorest citizens as entrepreneurs, employees and discerning consumers.”

Therefore, the name “NextBillion” has a dual meaning: It “represents the next billion people to rise into the middle class from the base of the economic pyramid (BoP); on the other, it indicates the next billion(s) in profits for businesses that fill market gaps by integrating the BoP into formal economies.”

The new NextBillion.net integrates the original blog with a full-fledged Web site and online social network, intended to bring together “the community of business leaders, social entrepreneurs, NGOs, policy makers and academics who want to explore the connection between development and enterprise.”

From the World Resources Institute Pressroom:

The Web site’s new look includes:

* A newsroom with streaming mainstream-media articles about BoP issues
* An interactive research report and publications section
* A full Spanish version, with a team of writers from Latin America
* A career center with jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities in the BoP sector

Here’s a sampling of NextBillion blog posts–including some written by The City Fix founder and editor Ethan Arpi–related to BoP solutions gleaned from the intersection between sustainable transport and information technology:

Bikes That Power Laptops
August 16, 2006
By Ethan Arpi
Many Ugandans are now utilizing bicycles to power their computers. The new bike powered computers have significantly improved communication and economic mobility in the villages.

Moving the Next Billion: In Bangalore, Mapunity Can Put Everyone on the Map – Literally
November 9, 2007
By Abigail Keene-Babcock
Mapunity is a system that links together MIS, GIS, and SMS technologies to enhance transportation access and planning in Bangalore.

Another Biking Innovation for the Base of the Pyramid
June 12, 2008
By Derek Newberry
The Aquaduct tricycle is designed to meet multiple needs for the poor – in this case, the challenges of water filtration and transportation.

What Works: First Mile Solutions’ DakNet Takes Rural Communities Online
November 3, 2005
By Rob Katz
DakNet leverages short-range wireless technology in tandem with traditional telecommunication and physical transportation infrastructures. Local transportation facilitates data exchanges between rural villages and Internet hubs.

Bogota’s Transmilenio: Transformation of a City a la BoP?
January 21, 2008
By Abigail Keene-Babcock
Bogota’s hugely successful Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, the Transmilenio, has been the centerpiece of the city’s urban regeneration


Mass Transit That Works

June 13, 2006
By Ethan Arpi
Porto Alegre is walking in the footsteps of other Latin American cities, which have developed some of the most sophisticated mass transport systems in the developing world. These systems, which are both cheap and efficient, improve urban mobility, access to jobs, economic growth, and social equity.

Print Friendly
  • I just discovered your BoP concept, and while I’m in complete agreement that the world’s inequity needs to be solved, I’m concerned about the vast environmental destruction that would ensue, should you accomplish your mission statemens:

    “… the potential of the world’s poorest citizens as entrepreneurs, employees and discerning consumers.”

    even more troubling:

    “Therefore, the name “NextBillion” has a dual meaning: It “represents the next billion people to rise into the middle class from the base of the economic pyramid (BoP); on the other, it indicates the next billion(s) in profits for businesses that fill market gaps by integrating the BoP into formal economies.”

    Your mission appears to be rooted in a completely western idea of prosperity, where the ultimate goal is to raise people to a level of “consumption” on a par with the American middle class. As is widely documented, that level of consumption is a dead end.

    The second phrase below is especially troubling. It’s a familiar form of corporate speak, used to soothe the inevitable resistance from the powerful business interests that are among the world’s most wasteful resources users.

    You appear to believe that demographic equity can be achieved without a major shift in commerce, marketing and regulation work. Few, if any, serious environmentalists–David Suzuki, Paul Hawken, Bill McDonough, Bill McKibben–would agree. They’s say you’re part of the problem.

  • Thanks for the summary of the recent Next Billion changes. I, like many, appreciate their work. I am pleased to stumble upon your site too! Keep up the good blogging!

    Chris