Definition of bottom of the pyramid (BOP)
The Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) is a socio-economic concept that allows us to group that vast segment - in excess of about four billion - of the world’s poorest citizens constituting an invisible and unserved market blocked by challenging barriers that prevent them from realising their human potential for their own benefit, those of their families, and that of society's at large.
Technically, a member of the BOP is part of the largest but poorest groups of the world's population, who live with less than $2.50 a day and are excluded from the modernity of our globalised civilised societies, including consumption and choice as well as access to organised financial services. Some estimates based on the broadest segment of the BOP put its demand as consumers at about $5 trillion in Purchasing Power Parity terms, making it a desirable objective for creative and leading visionary businesses throughout the world. One of the undeniable successes in this process is the explosion of the Microfinance industry witnessed in many parts of the world.
The first person to really focus on BOP was C.K. Prahalad (1941-2010), who in the process has inspired influential leaders and countless ordinary citizens sharing his vision, to joint efforts for the unleashing of their creative and productive potential as part of an inclusive capitalist system, free of paternalism toward the poor.