BA 612: Business Strategies for the Base of the Pyramid

  • Credits: 2.25
  • Fall B 2016: Nov. 1 – Dec. 13
  • Section 1 (Day session)
    • Tuesdays and Thursdays: 12:40-2:10pm
    • Three Friday Sessions (Nov. 18, Dec. 2 & Dec. 9) 9am-noon
  • Section 2 (Evening session)
    • Tuesdays: 6:30-9:30pm
    • Three Thursday Sessions (Nov. 17, Dec. 1 & Dec. 8) 6:30-9:30pm

Exploring the Intersection of Business Development and Poverty Alleviation

Business Strategies for the Base of the Pyramid (BA612) focuses on the growing alignment between global efforts to create a more inclusive world and the opportunity to build market-based ventures that serve the needs of the poor.

The goal of the course is to provide you with practical concepts, tools, and frameworks for evaluating and building business approaches that address unmet societal needs of the base of the pyramid (BoP), the four billion low-income people who live in the informal sector in the developing world. Using a carefully crafted set of case studies, simulations, videos, and readings, we will apply these learnings to better understand successful BoP venture development by companies, non-profits, and development agencies in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

To help students gain a first-hand understanding of on-going work in the field, the course also includes two 3-hour lab sessions focused on interaction and shared learning. For each, I invite an expert deeply involved with BoP venture development to convey both their organization’s vision and some of the obstacles they are currently facing. Recent participants include leaders from Acumen Fund, CEMEX-Mexico, GE Healthcare, Movirtu, Oxfam, Pfizer, Unilever-India, and VisionSpring.

For more information, please contact Prof. Ted London ( or the TA for the course, Alfred Iwasaki (

Please note: This course is non-technical and does not require a special business background. An objective of the class is to incorporate perspectives from a mix of students from across campus. As such, the course is designed to be highly interactive, and sharing knowledge and experiences from different viewpoints is an important outcome. In prior years, the course has drawn students from a variety of non-business disciplines, including Applied Economics, Asian Studies, Engineering, Education, Information, Kinesiology, Law, Medical, Natural Resources and Environment, Psychology, Pharmacy, Public Policy, Public Health, Social Work, & Urban Planning.

Subject Code: BA 612