The emerging market economies of Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America represent an increasingly important element of the growth strategies of many businesses — from venture backed startups to established multinational companies. These markets contain a majority of the Earth’s population and a substantial fraction of economic activity and purchasing power. While the idea that companies and investors can profit by looking for growth opportunities in emerging market countries is not new, there are a set of economic and political trends that make it particularly compelling right now. However, company strategies need to adapt in order to fully capitalize on the potential of emerging markets; in particular, companies should shift their focus from the small group of high income consumers in these markets to the whole of the economic spectrum, including the much larger groups of middle and lower income consumers.
Eliot Jamison is a partner at Origo | Global Business Advisors. Among other activities, Eliot has a leading role in a major research effort with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development that is identifying financial resources — and the strategies for accessing those resources — available to corporations engaged in socially beneficial business activities in emerging markets. Prior to joining Origo in 2003, Eliot held a number of positions in the financial services industry. He was part of a small team that selected, structured and managed private equity investments for Bessemer Partners & Co. (now Lindsay Goldberg & Bessemer). Before joining Bessemer, he provided financial and strategic advice to medium and large sized corporations as part of the mergers and acquisitions group at Merrill Lynch. Eliot holds a BA in economics and philosophy from Columbia University and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.