The End of Poverty is an article in a recent Time magazine issue. About 1.5 Billion people, according to the article, live on less than $1 per day. According to CK Prahlad’s Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid 4 Billion people live on less than $2 per day.
THIS is the bottom of the pyramid – a population of consumers currently not quite participating in the market economy, but if they could, then a great economic force could be set in motion.
Dr. Mohammed Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank, invented the Micro-finance model, now serving 3 Million women in villages of Bangladesh, offering very small denomination loans to micro-entrepreneurs.
I would like to invite readers to brainstorm with me on ideas to tap into this potential market.
A few important technological developments are happening right now: the notion of mobile micro-payments is emerging as a First-world phenomenon and a payment infrastructure necessary for Mobile content, gaming, ring-tones, and a whole lot of marginally useful (mostly useless), but hugely profitable products is now becoming a reality.
Needless to say, this product suite is not anywhere in the realm of purchase requirements of the 4 Billion consumers in question. The infrastructure, however, with minor modifications, could become immensely relevant and important.
The Village Phones, if they could process payments, now stand to become Village Banks. All on a sudden, it even becomes affordable for major banks and credit providers to provide a micro-finance service for this enormous volume market, world-wide.
My interest, in this thread, is to explore what are the possible variations and nuances of this development.