Base of the Pyramid


International Base of the Pyramid Conference, Johannesburg, 15-19 Nov 2009; Abstract deadline 12 May, paper deadline 31 Jul

The University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation invite you to an international BoP conference in Johannesburg, South Africa from 15-19 November, 2009. Abstracts deadline 12 May, Papers deadline 31 July.

International Base of the Pyramid Conference
15-19 November, 2009
Johannesburg, South Africa
Sponsored by the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Abstract submission deadline: 12 May 2009 (400-500 words)
Submit abstracts to

Call for Papers

Consumers, producers, businesses and communities at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) continue to receive attention by academic researchers and practitioners.  In the current economic downturn, it has even been suggested that this segment or space provides opportunities to innovate in a recession (Nussbaum, 2009). 

Prahalad and Hart (1998) initiated a stream of research and activity that has presented the world’s poor as an opportunity for innovation, partnerships and profitable growth.  Others have raised concerns with this market-development approach and pointed to limited empirical research (Karnani, 2007; Landrum, 2007).  Some initiatives have begun tracking the efforts of MNCs in the BoP and suggest a second generation of corporate BoP strategies that include “co-invention and business co-creation” (Simanis and Hart, 2008, 2).

This conference will bring together academic researchers, especially those working across Southern Africa, to deepen our understanding of how organisations can more effectively engage in the BoP.  The conference will provide an opportunity for researchers to present conceptual and empirical papers across a range of topics related to the BoP context. 

A field trip and experiential learning opportunity will be designed into the conference programme, as well as an opportunity to engage with practitioners currently developing and executing BoP strategies in Southern Africa.  Arrangements are currently also underway for the conference to host a visiting delegation from Danish Industry investigating suitable BoP strategies.

A special edition of the accredited and internationally indexed South African Journal of Business Management has been confirmed for revised versions of the five best papers presented at the conference.

Submission and communication deadlines:

Abstract submissions: 12 May 2009 (400-500 words)
Notification of abstract acceptance: 15 May 2009
Submission of completed papers: 31 July 2009 (5500-6000 words)
Notification of paper acceptance: 1 September 2009

For any queries, please contact Michael Goldman, Senior Lecturer with the Gordon Institute of Business Science at or on +27-11-7714127.


Karnani, A. G. (2007) The Mirage of Marketing to the Bottom of the Pyramid. California Management Review, 49(4), 90-111.

Landrum, N. E. (2007) Advancing the “Base of the Pyramid” debate. Strategic Management Review, 1(1), 1-12.

Nussbaum, B. (2009) 5 Ways To Innovate In A Recession. BusinessWeek, Retrieved February 5, 2009, from

Prahalad, C. K. & Hart, S. L. (1998) The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid. Strategy+Business, 26, 54-67.

Simanis, E. & Hart, S. L. (2008) The Base of the Pyramid Protocol: Toward Next Generation BoP Strategy. New York: Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise. Retrieved February 5, 2009, from