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Market based solutions to alleviate poverty have become increasingly popular in recent years. Unfortunately, there are very few examples of profitable businesses that market socially useful goods in low-income markets and operate at a large scale. This paper examines in-depth three case studies of multinational firms that tried to market unquestionably useful products - clean water, eyeglasses, and nutritious yoghurt - to the poor, and did not succeed commercially. The authors also discuss two positive examples of profitable BOP ventures: mobile phones and detergents.
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