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Make Poverty Business: Increase Profits and Reduce Risks by Engaging with the Poor [Hardcover]

Craig Wilson , Peter Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

31 Oct 2006
Poor people in developing countries could make excellent suppliers, employees and customers but are often ignored by major businesses. This omission leads to increased risk, higher costs and lower sales. Meanwhile, businesses are asked by governments and poverty activists to do more for economic development, but their exhortations are rarely based on a proper business case. Make Poverty Business bridges the gap by constructing a rigorous profit-making argument for multinational corporations to do more business with the poor. It takes economic development out of the corporate social responsibility ghetto and places it firmly in the core business interests of the corporation, and argues that to see the poor only as potential consumers at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) misses half of the story. Make Poverty Business examines the successes, failures and missed opportunities of a wide range of global companies including Wal-Mart, BP, Unilever, Shell and HSBC when dealing with the poor and with development advocates in the media, NGOs, governments and international organisations. It includes a discussion on how to use a poverty perspective to provoke profitable innovation - not only to create new products and services but also to find new sources of competitive advantage in the supply chain and to develop more sustainable, lower-cost business models in developing countries. Make Poverty Business will be essential reading for international business managers seeking to increase profits and decrease risks in developing countries, development advocates who seek to harness the profit motive to achieve reductions in poverty, and academics looking for practical strategies on how business can implement BOP initiatives in developing countries.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 190 pages
  • Publisher: Greenleaf Publishing; 1st edition (31 Oct 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1874719969
  • ISBN-13: 978-1874719960
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,388,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Entertaining, well written and refreshingly free of management jargon, this is an engaging contribution to the debate on development. William Keegan, Senior Economics Commentator, The Observer --The Observer

Make Poverty Business will revolutionise how people think about corporate social responsibility. No CEO should be without this book. Alex Singleton, Director-General, The Globalisation Institute --The Globalisation Institute

This is a savvy, eminently useful book that should be in the hands of global business managers and development agency staff alike. Craig Wilson and Peter Wilson go beyond the anecdotal evidence for tapping the consumer and outsourcing potential of the poor. In clear, no-nonsense language, they provide a roadmap of new angles, hidden pitfalls, and profitable shortcuts. They blend their first-hand, hard-won experience in developing nations with nuanced research by some of the world's leading development thinkers. Page for page, this book represents a very good deal - both for the poor harried managers in today's globalizing enterprises, and for the poor themselves, who will benefit from its impact. Joseph S. O'Keefe, writer in residence, The Brookings Institution --Brookings Institution

From the Author

We wrote Make Poverty Business because we saw no shortage of
books exhorting business to contribute more to society, but very few books
making a rigorous profit-making case and suggesting practical ways to do
it. C K Prahalad's "Bottom of the Pyramid" made a good start but saw the
poor only as consumers whereas we also see them as potential employees,
partners, distributors and suppliers.

Drawing on business strategy, economic theory, long experience and common
sense we try to identify the "inefficiency traps" that stop multinational
companies doing mutually-beneficial business with the poor and we suggest
low-cost, low-risk ways of overcoming the barriers.

Our book has captured some people's imagination already. Michael Strong,
Chief Executive of Flow, described it as "wonderful" and added: "Make
Poverty Business will be read by business leaders, but it should be read by
everyone who cares about global poverty. It contains dozens of specific,
practical suggestions for corporate managers interested in increasing the
stability and profitability of their operations in poor nations - and,
quite remarkably - the authors make a solid, level-headed case that their
suggested business practices will reduce global poverty and improve the
reputation of global business. A must read for corporate managers and NGO
leaders who realize that ethical business can serve the best interests of

William Keegan, Senior Economics Commentator at the Observer, describes
Make Poverty Business as: "Entertaining, well-written and refreshingly free
of management jargon, this is an engaging contribution to the debate on

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Win-win 20 Nov 2006
At last a book that describes a real win-win for businesses interested in serving the world's poor. "Make Poverty Business" discusses the people at the "bottom of the pyramid" not just as consumers of big business products and services, but also as prospective suppliers and employees. Peter Wilson and Craig Wilson put forward an engaging proposition for companies who are interested in working with and helping the poor, but which, at the same time, need to take risk out of their endeavours. This book shows us how business can make profits, not at the expense of the poor, but to their benefit.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important book, long overdue 15 Jan 2007
There has been far too much noise, recently, and not enough action to relieve the incredible poverty still endured in much of Africa. The solution must come not from charity but business, and this book is a fine starting point for any CEO wishing to address this huge challenge in a profitable manner. Well-argued and comprehensive, the authors' case for a holistic approach to the poor - as employees and stakeholders, as well as customers - must resonate with anyone who has observed the rapid development in S.E. Asia, China or India.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Accessible, intelligent, timely and a good read! 15 Jan 2013
By Penny Garland - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A refreshingly straightforward book to guide managers tasked with developing and implementing business strategies in poor and developing countries and communities. Reinforces the often overlooked commonsense approach to developing the skills and opportunities for the poor and enlisting them to work with you rather than simply be exploited as consumers. This approach increases the likelihood of developing secure and cooperative relationships at every level.
5.0 out of 5 stars The time has come to address poverty as a business opportunity 18 April 2007
By Eric Mccallum - Published on
I recently returned from a conference addressing global poverty where a young entrepeneuer from Tanzania addressed the problem and solution very consisely "We don't want aid, we want jobs". Make Povery Business has been the most compelling book I have read to date in it's argument of why multi-national corporations should enter third world markets. The Wilsons present a balanced look at the huge potential market opportunities selling to half the gloabal population living in poverty and the inherent risks as well. I think the they do a nice job in looking at all the players addressing poverty and suggesting how they can leverage each others work by sticking to their core competencies. They look honestly at incentives and motivation while making the business based argument. The book is very readable and spends more time looking at possible market based solutions and how they might play out, rather than going over the injustice and history of poverty which by now anybody who is paying attention already knows.
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