August 28, 2015

Exploring Bottom of Pyramid concepts at the Fowler Center

Heather Frutig is a Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit Fellow and a 2016 MBA candidate.

I attended the Bottom of Pyramid Global Network Summit at the University of Vermont in Burlington, VT, in mid-July thanks to the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit and the Flourish Prizes. Chris Laszlo, PhD, faculty director for research and outreach for the Fowler Center, was also in attendance. The Bottom of Pyramid Global Network Summit's “main objective was to present and discuss real-life BoP business initiatives being implemented by entrepreneurs and corporate innovators who are driving sustainable innovation from the bottom up.” It was exciting and inspiring to see so many folks with diverse interests collectively brainstorming about factors that affect businesses serving the world’s poorest, like scalability, public-private partnerships and funding requirements and opportunities above and beyond the traditional charity model.

As a Fowler Center Fellow, I’m looking forward to applying the information I learned to both my teaching case and the Flourish Prizes. I have been working on a teaching case that focuses on Bottom of Pyramid concepts faced by Proud Mary, a global textile company that employs traditional artisans in developing nations to create fashionable clothes and home wares. A deeper understanding of the issues this demographic faces has been useful in looking holistically and empathetically at the dilemmas that this company thinks about.

In working on the Flourish Prizes and seeing its evolution, I believe that the story platform will be used in ways that we cannot even imagine. The impact of A2F will be farther reaching than we realize. For example, I was in a session on funding social startups at the conference and it struck me that A2F might be used as a tool to link innovations with investors. Not only can this educate students and elevate innovations, but it has the potential to scale up entire companies. I am grateful for the opportunity to attend the Bottom of Pyramid Global Network Summit and look forward to implementing what I garnered from the experience.


  1. Thanks Heather for this great report and for all your support for the Flourish Prizes & AIM2Flourish!

  2. This was my second time attending an event at this place, and was my first business event here (the other event was a charity show). Everything at party places in the Bronx was perfect, the drinks and food was amazing. Even the coffee was wonderful.