Shampoo, saris and SIM cards: seeking entrepreneurial futures at the bottom of the pyramid

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In recent years bottom-of-the-pyramid (BoP) models have emerged as a popular strategy for offering poor women the opportunity to earn an income by distributing goods and services door-to-door. In this article, we explore one recent example of BoP entrepreneurship: the CARE Bangladesh Rural Sales Program (RSP). The RSP is a partnership between CARE and several multinational and domestic companies that seeks to provide poor women with an opportunity to participate in new forms of economic activity, offering them a prospect to earn an independent income and provide a better future for their family by selling a mix of multinational and locally produced consumer goods across rural Bangladesh. Our research found that the RSP has opened up new pathways of empowerment for some marginalised women in a context of considerable socioeconomic and cultural constraints, yet whether such schemes will have traction as a model for economic empowerment over the long term remains an open question. This article is hosted by our co-publisher Taylor & Francis. For the full table of contents for this and previous issues of this journal, please visit the Gender and Development website.