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NCSA Colloquium: Subsistence Marketplaces

NCSA Colloquium: Subsistence Marketplaces

Abstract: The Subsistence Marketplaces Initiative ( at the University of Illinois and has pioneered the area of enquiry and practice entitled subsistence marketplaces which adopts a unique bottom-up approach to understanding and designing solutions at the intersection of poverty and marketplaces. This initiative has created unique synergies between research, teaching, and social initiatives - including courses on subsistence and sustainability reaching almost a thousand students a year at the University of Illinois, and tens of thousands of students around the world through Coursera. Among these courses is a yearlong sequence with international immersion rated on of the top entrepreneurship courses by Inc magazine and involving students from across campus in projects that bring together technology, design, and business. Madhu Viswanathan founded and directs the Marketplace Literacy Project (, a non-profit organization, pioneering the design and delivery of marketplace literacy education to low-income consumers and subsistence marketplaces. Through his organization and partners, almost 20,000 women have received marketplace literacy education – with ongoing programs or pilots in India, Tanzania, Uganda, Illinois, and Argentina. This talk will focus on these initiatives and their implications for technology.

Light refreshments will be available after the colloquium. 

Friday, April 10, 2015