Almost three billion people live on less than $2 dollars per day. Paul Polak, one of the co-authors of the Business Solution to Poverty: Designing Products and Services for Three Billion New Customers (Berrett-Koehler Publishers 2013), believes that social entrepreneurship is the solution to ending global poverty.
From a marketing standpoint, those 2.8 billion people represent an enormous international market that is not being utilized in the economy. Innovation and technological advancements in the world of supply and demand could put products on the market that are affordable to those nearly three billion people. With a market of that size, anyone is bound to enjoy capital gain as well as improve the lives of countless people in need.
Author Paul Polak founded a business to sell cheap irrigation pumps to farmers in Bangladesh to increase their access to clean, healthy drinking water. The market for the water pumps raised the average income of the farmers by $150 million dollars a year. Contaminated water systems spread disease quickly to a massive amount of people, contributing to the ‘water crisis’ that plagues societies around the world.
What is the water crisis? Countries with no access to clean water are more heavily riddled with disease, rendering them unable to work and contribute to the economy. Medical treatment is expensive even for people who are working, so the inability to work combined with the need for disease treatment puts a heavy financial strain on a massive number of people- all because their drinking water is basically poisoning them. Unclean water spreads disease and consequently causes the economy to get stuck in a downward spiral deeper into poverty and distress. Of the 3.4 million water, sanitation, and hygiene-related deaths that occur annually, 99% in the developing world.
Polak believes that selling affordable products that improve the lives of people in developing countries could benefit both the entrepreneurs marketing these products and the customers who are buying them. The Business Solution to Poverty outlines how companies focusing on the market in developing countries could bring an end to global poverty in approximately 30 years.
Another book called, “Thirty Years to Peace,” that more extensively details the business solution to global poverty timeline, is reported to be released in the next year. America has the wealth and manpower to launch these initiatives and the fact that it is a hugely profitable market should make it attractive to executives across the nation. There is no downside to ending global poverty through business ventures.
– Kaitlin Sutherby