Subsistence Marketplaces Initiative



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  • 217-333-4550



Parent Program(s):

  • College of Business




Enabling sustainable marketplaces through management & technology.


The Subsistence Marketplaces Initiative seeks to develop and disseminate actionable knowledge for creating sustainable solutions for subsistence marketplaces.  The radically different context of subsistence and the emphasis on sustainable solutions provides a very challenging setting for research, education, and practice in management.  Their work is at the intersection of subsistence and sustainability, and the lessons learned are likely to be useful in all contexts to collectively face the challenges that confront humanity.

Unique to their approach is a bottom up orientation that begins with a micro-level understanding of buyers, sellers, and subsistence marketplaces.  They adopt a marketplace rather than a market orientation, viewing subsistence contexts as more than markets to sell to, rather as individuals, communities, and preexisting marketplaces to learn from.  Their focus should be distinguished from macro-level economic approaches, and mid-level business strategy approaches such as base of the pyramid (BOP) research.  Their goal is to understand and enable the progress from subsistence marketplaces to sustainable marketplaces, i.e., marketplaces characterized by sustainable production and consumption that enhance individual and community welfare and conserve natural resources.

Their work on subsistence marketplaces over the course of many years has created unique synergies between research, teaching, and social initiatives.  In all three arenas, their work involves engagement of students, businesses, and social enterprises as well as a diverse set of faculty and campus entities across different disciplines. They have also created forums to connect a community of researchers and practitioners and enable outlets for publication.

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