Second Virtual Subsistence Marketplaces Conference

Aerial view of the LMU letters on the bluff


Second Virtual Subsistence Marketplaces Conference

And Launch of Journal and Knowledge/Practice Portal

May 28 - 30, 2021

Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles via Zoom

6:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. Pacific Time (GMT -7)

9:00 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. Eastern Time (GMT -4)

5:00 p.m. - 9:15 p.m. Tanzania Time (GMT +3)

6:30 p.m. - 10:45 p.m. Indian Standard Time (GMT +5:30)

Sponsored by the Center for International Business Education (CIBE) at Loyola Marymount University

Co-sponsored by LMU College of Business Administration, Subsistence Marketplaces Initiative and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

The spread of COVID-19 has brought out in the starkest terms how individuals in subsistence marketplaces are unequal in day-to-day life, yet essential to the well-being of others. Our interactive, immersive virtual forum will be themed around envisioning a Post-Covid world that addresses stark inequalities locally and globally in subsistence marketplaces. How do we work toward such a future through research, education, and practice? We envision sessions and workshops organized around topics such as understanding the nature of inequalities in different geographies and domains of subsistence, connecting local and global issues, envisioning sustainable pathways post-Covid in subsistence marketplaces, and developing education about subsistence marketplaces that make the virtual real.

The conference purposefully includes a blend of virtual interviews with subsistence consumers and entrepreneurs in different countries, plenary sessions, participatory workshops, special topical sessions, and presentations of papers submitted in response to this call. The emphasis is on sharing nascent ideas and knowledge (or new and provocative questions) among researchers, practitioners, and students. 

Day 1: Discussion – Grounding the Conversation

Friday, May 28 

6:00 a.m. - 6:15 a.m. PT: Welcoming Remarks

6:15 a.m. - 7:30 a.m. PT: Session 1

  • Street Hawkers in Subsistence Marketplaces - Role & Impact

    • Tamal Samanta
    • Rajesh K. Aithal
      Indian Institute of Management Lucknow

    Bottom of pyramid entrepreneurs Insight from Pathrud, India

    • Ardhendu Shekhar Singh
      Symbiosis School of Banking and Finance
    • Yogesh Brahmankar
      Symbiosis Institute of Business Management Pune
    • Vinod Shastri
      Bennet University

    Investigating entrepreneurial challenge and action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Thailand



  • Consumer behaviour in subsistence marketplaces; Consumers' relation to social innovations, such as barriers or supporting mechanisms to their adoption


    An Empirical analysis of preferred behaviour of subsistence marketplaces towards insurance products

    • Preeti Devi
      Department of Commerce – Chaudhary Bansi Lal University


    Changing the Habitus


    Protecting Oneself from the Contagion: A ZMET Analysis of Subsistence Marketplace Consumers to understand their attitude and behaviour towards Personal Protection Products

    • Sweetha Rai and Preeti Priya
      Institute of Rural Management Anand, India



  • Synergies between research and practice in subsistence marketplaces


    Business model development for Circular economy: Empirical evidences from India and Kenya


    Helping Rural Communities by Helping the Honeybee in Bulgaria


    E-commerce as a bridge between subsistence communities and their customers: Case studies from Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) Producer firms





  • Envisioning Subsistence Marketplaces In A Post - Pandemic World


    Impact of COVID 19 Pandemic on the Subsistence of Local Communities in Union Territory Ladakh


    Learning from subsistence marketplaces and beyond: A cross-sectoral comparison in Benin with item-response theory



7:30 a.m. - 7:45 a.m. PT - Break

7:45 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. PT -  Session 2

9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. PT - Break

9:15 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. PT - Session 3


INTERACTIVE SYMPOSIUM: Current and Emerging Subsistence Marketplaces Research Issues (Methodology, Diversity, Gender, Finance, and Pedagogy) (Chair: Jessie Wang)

Roundtable discussion of cases presented by:

  • Majeda Khouri, The Syrian Sunflower
  • Ashira Perera, Consultant, Natural Resources & Energy
  • Paula Sofia Takashima Aguilar, Grameen De La Frontera, Mexico


Day 2: Immersion – Journeying Bottom-Up

Saturday, May 29

6:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. PT

Chaired by Samanthika Gallage and Jessie Wang

  • Introduction to Day 2
  • Participants choose groups and topics*
  • Small group planning for virtual interviews
  • Small group interactions and conversations through virtual interviews – Round 1
    • Africa, Latin America, and other possible locations
  • Small group debrief
  • Small group interactions and conversations through virtual interviews – Round 2
    • Africa, Latin America, and other possible locations
  • Small group debrief
  • Report back on lessons learnt
  • Closing remarks

* 8-10 breakout rooms/parallel interviews planned with each conference chair overseeing 2-3 rooms and facilitating one of the rooms assigned to them. Remaining breakout rooms will be facilitated by Ronika Chakrabarti, Ronald Duncan, Arun Sreekumar and Srinivas Venugopal.


Day 3: Emersion - Charting Pathways

Sunday, May 30

6:00 a.m. - 6:15 a.m. PT (GMT -7)

  • Summary of Day 2 and Transition - Jacob Park

6:15 a.m. - 7:00 a.m. PT

  • Introduction to Journal and Knowledge-Practice Portal

7:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m. PT

  • Conducting Research in Subsistence Marketplaces in a Post-COVID World: The Nitty Gritty - Jacob Park and Jessie Wang

    • Panel and Small Group Discussion

8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. PT

  • Curricular Innovation Workshop - Samanthika Gallage and Shikha Upadhyaya

    • Immersion and Design in Small Groups

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. PT

  • Workshop: Envisioning a Social Enterprise: Defining Individual and Organizational Purpose

    • Frederic Kastner, Co-Founder, Director of Social Innovation at The Entrepreneurial Refugee Network
    • Ben Freedman, Co-Founder, Bubble Chamber - Clarity and Growth for 4th Sector Enterprises
    • Sandeep Shrestha, Business Sustainability Professional, Educator and Scholar

10:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. PT

  • Chairs' Closing Remarks 




Conference Director

Madhu Viswanathan ( /
Loyola Marymount University

Conference Virtual Immersion Coordinators

  • Cristy Azuara, Mexico
  • Luis Chavez, Honduras
  • Ron Duncan, USA
  • Steve Morse, USA
  • Leticia Villareal, Mexico 
  • Radovan Restovic, Mexico
  • Ramadhani, Lulu, and Maalim Kupaza, Tanzania
  • Marie Nyiraneza, Uganda

Conference Co-Chairs

Call for Papers

Subsistence marketplaces consist of consumer and entrepreneur communities living at a range of low income levels, and are concentrated in developing countries and regions such as Brazil, India, China, Vietnam, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Pacific Islands. Additionally, many individuals in developed countries also live in subsistence. The subsistence marketplaces stream of work pioneered at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, is unique in examining the intersection of poverty and marketplaces with a bottom-up orientation. This approach is rooted in a micro-level understanding of life circumstances of consumers, entrepreneurs, and communities. This stream has been reflected in seven biennial conferences, two immersion conferences, and about 60 refereed articles in related special journal issues, as well as in dedicated session tracks at other conferences and refereed articles in a variety of journals. This conference series has been a leading forum for evolving and sharing research and fostering best practices for improving quality of life in these communities. 

Background on Subsistence Marketplaces Conferences

Our conferences are not only interdisciplinary but also inter-sectoral, drawing from researchers and practitioners from business, government, and social sectors.  The Second Virtual Subsistence Marketplaces Conference is intended for a wide audience that spans research or practical interest in subsistence marketplaces, with diverse disciplinary backgrounds such as in business (e.g., marketing, management, entrepreneurship, strategy), development, policy, and related social sciences as well as technical areas.

The conferences we have organized cover themes from: consumption and entrepreneurship beyond literacy and resource barriers to consumption and commerce for a better world; impactful research to sustainable innovation; micro-level insights to macro-level impact; and symbiotic academic-social enterprise. We have spanned geographies and substantive domains, developed pathways at the intersection of research and practice, and extended connections between subsistence marketplaces and sustainability. We initiated a parallel series of immersion conferences unique to our bottom-up approach through field interactions, with the first and second conferences held in India and Tanzania, respectively. We debuted our virtual conference series in 2020, with the spread of COVID-19. Accompanying each biennial conference have been special issues or sections, to encourage research with this bottom-up approach. The research featured at our conferences and published in special issues/sections cover a wide range of poverty contexts from isolated tribal communities to refugee settlements, to rural and urban settings around the world. Moreover, this fundamental understanding has been used to derive implications for a variety of sectors of society.

2021 Subsistence Marketplace Conference

The 2021 conference is titled to envision subsistence marketplaces in a Post-Pandemic world. It will also mark the launch of a new journal and web portal – Subsistence Marketplaces.

A key emphasis is to look back to the previous conferences, and the resultant research, education, and practice; as well as to look forward toward new pathways for impactful research, education, and practice. Central here will be the unique synergies between research, education and social enterprise.

The specific themes for this conference will help to organize the broad range of work in the field and facilitate discussion among participants. We list some topics below for illustrative purposes.

The conference purposefully and uniquely includes a blend of virtual interviews with subsistence consumers and entrepreneurs in different countries, plenary sessions, participatory workshops, special topical sessions, and presentations of papers submitted in response to this call. The emphasis is on sharing nascent ideas and knowledge (or new and provocative questions) among researchers, practitioners, and students.

Academics, students, social entrepreneurs, policy makers, and business and nonprofit practitioners are encouraged to submit papers and attend.

Suggested Topics

We invite papers based on research and/or lessons from practice around the following suggested themes, although submissions may go beyond these topics.

Subsistence Consumer-Entrepreneurs

  • Consumer behavior in subsistence marketplaces
  • Facets of scarcity in subsistence marketplaces
  • Entrepreneurship and/or creativity in subsistence marketplaces
  • Reflections on agency of subsistence consumer-entrepreneurs and the changes they help achieve

Social Justice and Well-Being

  • Substantive domains of subsistence (e.g., water, sanitation, energy, food, housing)
  • Health, well-being, and justice in subsistence marketplaces
  • Intersectional and/or gender-, class-, ethnicity/race-, language-, able-bodied-, and/or nationality-based oppressions related to entrenched or changing power dynamics experienced by consumers
  • Environmental issues affecting subsistence consumers, consumer-merchants, including aspects related to climate change, war or violence
  • Issues of environmental justice relating to subsistence marketplaces
  • Practices that improve or decrease consumers' well-being, such as technological advancements, economic, social and personal development programs

Marketing Systems & Elements

  • Emergence of marketing systems
  • Sustainable product design for subsistence marketplaces
  • Inventing and re-inventing new products and services for subsistence marketplaces
  • Supply chain and distribution challenges and opportunities
  • Pricing for value and sustainability
  • Marketing communication and education

Organizational Models/Practices

  • Organizational design and redesign for operating in subsistence marketplaces
  • Collaborative models for business innovations
  • Sustainable business practices in subsistence marketplaces

Social Innovations

  • Consumers' relation to social innovations, such as barriers or supporting mechanisms to their adoption
  • The merging of social and business missions through social innovations
  • The adoption of business practices in nonprofit organizations developing social innovations
  • Social innovation alliances and partnerships among NGOs, governments, and businesses


  • Bottom-up and market-based development policies
  • The Sustainable Development Goals, including policies/practices that aid progress and/or result in unintended consequences
  • Building long-term research partnerships with local non-profits and government institutions

Education: For the Classroom and Practice

  • Pedagogical advancements in subsistence marketplaces, such as economic and financial perspectives (e.g., marketplace and financial literacy)
  • Synergies between research and education about subsistence marketplaces
  • Synergies between education and social enterprise in subsistence marketplaces
  • Pedagogical advancements in bringing subsistence contexts into the classroom, including multidisciplinary teaching initiatives


  • Synergies between research and practice in subsistence marketplaces
  • Innovative research methods
  • Methodologies/Methods to improve the relationship between researchers and research participants
  • Developing  theoretical insights of subsistence marketplace research

Abstract Submission Requirements

All authors are asked to submit a three-page abstract, from which acceptance decisions will be made and preliminary session planning will be carried out. Proposals for special sessions are also welcome.

Page 1

  • Suggested theme(s) for which the submission is to be considered (papers do not have to fit any particular theme)
  • Title
  • Author(s) with full contact information including email

Pages 2-3

  • Double-spaced abstract of the paper or special session, inclusive of a list of selected references, tables, and/or other key materials

Format: Please email as a Word attachment to

Submission Deadline: February 28, 2021

Notification of Review Decision: March 14, 2021

Submissions for Journal Review for New Journal on Subsistence Marketplaces

A special issue or a special section of the soon-to-be-launched journal titled Subsistence Marketplaces is likely to be published based primarily on articles developed from research presented at the conference and submitted to the review process. However, submission to the special issue will also be open to research not presented at the conference. Prior conferences have led to a book (Advances in International Management series by Elsevier in 2007), and special issues/sections of journals (Journal of Business Research, Journal of Macromarketing, Journal of Marketing Management, Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, Journal of Consumer Affairs). Further details will be available as they are finalized. A tentative schedule is as follows.

Submission Deadlines for Full Drafts

  • September 30, 2021: Deadline for paper submission after incorporation of comments from conference participants and conference chairs
  • November 30, 2021: Feedback to authors after peer review
  • January 31, 2022: Deadline for revised submission
  • May 31, 2022: Final deadline for subsequent revisions