BoP Trends Topic Of London’s Talk In Japan

WDI Senior Research Fellow Ted London will deliver the keynote address, “Global Trends of the BoP,” at a base of the pyramid (BoP) symposium on Oct. 7 in Japan.

The Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) and the United Nations University (UNU-MERIT) organized the symposium, “Innovating Business Models for the BoP.” In addition to his keynote talk, London also will take part in a panel discussion with corporate executives from Japanese companies who will share what they have learned from the peace foundation’s studies on technologies in the BoP.

The studies were part of a three-year project SPF and the United Nations Development Programme started in 2012 called, “BoP Technology Innovation and Products Incubation.” In all, four feasibility studies were conducted in collaboration with Japanese companies with the objectives of identifying technologies with a high potential for commercialization and finding appropriate business models for the technologies.

London, director of WDI’s BoP research initiative, said that Japanese interest in the BoP is growing. One indication of that interest is the project, which sought out technologies in the areas of clean energy, water, information and communications, and agriculture, London said.

The project conducted technology testing and solicited feedback in selected communities with the purpose of incubating promising technologies by matching corporations in developed countries and entrepreneur/corporations in the BoP. The project also identified barriers to entry in the BoP for the technologies as well as solutions for realizing their potential for developmental impact in the BoP.

Other participants in the symposium will include: Jiro Hanyu, chairman SPF; Yota Ono, director, Trade Finance and Economic Cooperation Division, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; Jin Wakabayashi, director, Private Sector Partnership Division, private sector partnership and finance department, Japan International Cooperation Agency; Eriko Ishikawa, global program manager, Inclusive Business Group, International Finance Corporation; Shinya Kitamura, CEO, Nikken Corporation; and Hiroko Kimura, CEO, Mokan-Joka System Corporation.

London, who also delivered the keynote address at SPF’s symposium on the project last year, is on the initiative’s board along with the chairman of the UNDP, a professor from a Japanese university, and a senior official from the Asian Development Bank.

Last year, he spoke about the BoP market and next-generation business strategies for the BoP. After his keynote address, London participated in a panel discussion on the BoP market and the existing barriers to bringing Japanese technologies to developing countries.

SPF was a sponsor of the WDI BoP Summit 2013, which welcomed 200 leaders from the corporate, non-profit, development, foundation, and entrepreneurial worlds to convene at the Ross School of Business with a focus on building better BoP enterprises and creating a robust roadmap for the BoP community.

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