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More multinationals profiting from world's poor, warns academic

A rapidly growing number of mainstream national and multinational companies are now engaging with the world’s poor for profit, according to associate professor Ranjit Voola from the University of Sydney Business School.

More multinationals profiting from world's poor, warns academic
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Speaking ahead of a national inclusive business forum to be held in Melbourne later this month, Dr Voola said the four billion people in the developing world who live on less than $5 a day offer the private sector a golden opportunity to profit from a largely untapped $5 trillion market while also helping to alleviate poverty.

“These companies are now realising that the poor are key players in the market,” said associate professor Voola.

The University of Sydney Business School now offers a unit in its Master of Management program called Poverty Alleviation and Profitability, which encourages students to radically rethink the traditional business focus on prosperous middle-class markets and engage with the poor profitably.

As examples of how business can best engage with the poor profitably, Dr Voola pointed to a venture in Kenya, which allows money transfers and access to microfinance via a mobile phone.

“This provides a return to the telecom company that supplies the service, while enhancing financial literacy and financial inclusion amongst the poor,” Dr Voola said.

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