First Subsistence Marketplaces Bottom-Up Immersion Conference

Dates: January 4-9, 2018; Location: Chennai and Delhi, India


Conference Director

Madhu Viswanathan, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


Conference Co-Chairs


Roland Gau, University of Texas, El Paso

Jayshree Suresh, Hand in Hand Academy for Social Entrepreneurship

Tejinder Sharma, Kurukshetra University

Srinivas Venugopal, University of Vermont


Conference Description

The stream of subsistence marketplaces has pioneered a unique, bottom-up approach to research, education, and practice at the intersection of poverty and marketplaces. Building on six conferences in the last decade and accompanying publications, we now initiate the first immersion conference on subsistence marketplaces.  True to the bottom-up approach that characterizes subsistence marketplaces research, this new series of conferences is envisioned to take place in different continents over time, thus, providing an opportunity for researchers, educators, practitioners and students to engage directly with urban and rural subsistence marketplaces, through conversations and observations.

During the first immersion conference, the organizers will enable field visits to explore research and educational opportunities in urban, semi-urban and rural subsistence contexts near Chennai and Delhi. We envision submissions in the form of proposals for research, education, and social enterprise, focusing on subsistence marketplaces, that would then be discussed and explored through field visits during the conference. The organizers will work with participants to accommodate special requests to maximize immersive learning opportunities. The conference will also feature professional development workshops for junior scholars and doctoral students. The schedule with two distinct parts based on geographic locations will allow for some flexibility, to accommodate constraints. Details will be forthcoming and the description above is tentative and subject to significant changes based on responses from potential participants.  

We look forward to hosting you during this unique immersive conference. 


Subsistence Marketplaces Conference: Background Information

In the past decade, the Subsistence Marketplaces Conference Series has been a leading biennial forum for evolving and sharing research, education and fostering best practices for social and commercial enterprises in subsistence marketplace communities. 

Scholars and practitioners around the world have participated in these forums through conferences, publications, and educational initiatives, beginning with the first Subsistence Marketplaces Conference in 2006. Research by this community has appeared in a variety of outlets, sustained through a series of special issues/sections in academic journals (with more than 50 articles in conference-related special publications and many more in other outlets).

Since its origin, subsistence marketplace research has accumulated a substantial body of knowledge paralleling other approaches to poverty, such as the capabilities approach and base-of-the-pyramid research, providing unique and complementary insights

The term “subsistence marketplaces” was deliberately coined to reflect the need to study these marketplaces across resource and literacy barriers in their own right, beyond being new markets for companies. Business and exchange happens in many different ways across the world. Such exchanges are worthy of study from the inside out as well as the outside in. The term “marketplaces” denotes this focus and emphasizes the need to understand preexisting marketplaces before designing or presuming solutions.

The following link provides more information on the Subsistence Marketplaces Initiative -


Madhu Viswanathan ([log in to unmask])

Roland Gau ([log in to unmask])

Tejinder Sharma ([log in to unmask]" class="">[log in to unmask])

Jayshree Suresh ([log in to unmask])

Srini Venugopal ([log in to unmask])

Madhu Viswanathan                                                              

Diane and Steven N. Miller Centennial Chair in Business 

183 Wohlers Hall, 1206 South Sixth Street, Champaign, IL 61820

Phone: 217-333-4550; Fax: 217-244-7969; email: [log in to unmask]                                     


Subsistence Marketplaces Initiative:

Non-profit website:

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