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School of Business | Department of Management and International Business | International Business | 2011
Thesis number: 12529
Partnerships in BOP business
Author: Hietapuro, Marjo
Title: Partnerships in BOP business
Year: 2011  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management and International Business
Academic subject: International Business
Index terms: kansainväliset yhtiöt; international companies; kumppanuus; partnership; yhteistyö; cooperation; verkostot; networks
Pages: 82
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_12529.pdf pdf  size:827 KB (846173)
Key terms: base of the pyramid; BOP; poverty alleviation; partnerships; cross-sector partnerships; partner roles; partner networks
Objective of the study

The purpose of this study was to find out what kinds of partnerships companies form in base of the pyramid (BOP) business, i.e. business aimed at alleviating poverty in subsistence markets. Although partnerships have been frequently promoted in previous BOP literature, very comprehensive studies on the topic have not been made before.

Data and methodology

The research was conducted as a multiple-case study, including data on 20 BOP business models of both foreign and local companies from various sectors. The data was collected mainly from existing case studies and company websites.


The findings of the study highlight the importance of partnerships in BOP business. The study provides an overview of different kinds of partnerships that companies doing business at the BOP may form with various types of actors, such as nongovernmental organisations, local microentrepreneurs, other companies, government agencies, intergovernmental organisations, and universities. As the main contribution of the study, nine categories of roles that partners can take in BOP business are presented: co-developers, suppliers, distributors, complementors, customers, microfinance providers, brokers, funders, and impact assessors. Furthermore, the study describes what types of actors companies may engage as partners in each of these roles.
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