Subsistence Entrepreneurship Conference

The AEL is proud to be one of the sponsors of the Fifth Subsistence Marketplaces Conference to be held on June 13-15, 2014 at Champaign, Illinois.


Call for Papers
Submission Deadline: 31 January 2014

Consumption and Entrepreneurship in Subsistence Marketplaces: Spanning Geographies and Substantive Domains


Conference Chair

Madhu Viswanathan

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Consumption and Conservation


Substantive Domains of Subsistence

Diverse Geographies

Social Innovation

Curricular Innovation


Organized by the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, the fifth Subsistence Marketplace Conference will be held at the I-Hotel in Champaign, Illinois.

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 and Sub-Saharan Africa. In the last decade, the Subsistence Marketplaces Conference has been a leading forum for evolving and sharing research and fostering best practices in these communities.

In its fifth edition, the 2014 conference is titled to highlight consumption and entrepreneurship while emphasizing diverse geographies and substantive domains of subsistence. Specific themes include consumption and conservation, entrepreneurship, substantive domains of subsistence, diverse geographies, social innovation, and curricular innovation.  The theme of consumption and conservation emphasizes the need to understand the environmental issues that impinge on day-to-day living and basic needs.  The theme of entrepreneurship covers the gamut from survival and subsistence to thriving and transformational.  Specific substantive domains of subsistence such as water, food, sanitation, and energy will be of particular focus, with each of these vital life realms representing significant challenges and opportunities.  This theme is particularly germane for work conducted in a variety of disciplines encompassing the social and physical sciences.  The theme of diverse geographies highlights the need to study, compare, and contrast a range of subsistence contexts, across regions around the world.  Cutting edge research and practice relating to social enterprises in subsistence marketplaces are highlighted through the theme of social innovation.  The theme of curricular innovation will focus on modules, courses and programs that bring subsistence marketplaces into the classroom.

The conference will begin with a reception Friday evening, June 13, and sessions through Saturday and mid afternoon Sunday, June 15.  The conference will include plenary sessions, participatory workshops, special sessions on specific topics, and presentations of papers submitted in response to this call. An emphasis will be on sharing ideas and knowledge among researchers, practitioners and students. A preconference workshop for doctoral students and junior researchers is planned for Friday afternoon, June 13.

Academics, students, social entrepreneurs, policy makers, and business and nonprofit practitioners are encouraged to submit papers and attend. Some suggested topics are provided overleaf, however, submissions may go beyond these topics


Suggested Topics

  •                 Consumer behavior in subsistence marketplaces
  •                 Entrepreneurship in subsistence marketplaces
  •                 Substantive domains of subsistence (e.g., water, sanitation, energy, food)
  •                 Emergence of marketing systems
  •                 Environmentalism of subsistence consumers and consumer-merchants
  •                 Issues of environmental justice relating to subsistence marketplaces
  •                 Sustainable product design for subsistence marketplaces
  •                 Inventing and re-inventing new products and services for subsistence marketplaces
  •                 Organization design and re-design for operating in subsistence marketplaces
  •                 Collaborative models for business innovations
  •                 Supply chain and distribution challenges and opportunities
  •                 Pricing for value and sustainability
  •                 Marketing communication and education
  •                 Innovative research methods
  •                 Economic and financial perspectives on subsistence marketplaces (e.g. financial literacy)
  •                 Health, well-being and justice in subsistence marketplaces
  •                 Merging social and business missions through social innovations
  •                 Incorporating business practices in nonprofit organizations developing social innovations
  •                 Social innovation alliances and partnerships among NGOs, governments, and businesses
  •                 Bringing subsistence contexts into the classroom
  •                 Multidisciplinary teaching initiatives addressing subsistence phenomena and regions


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: Title, author(s), and full contact information including email.
  • Pages 2-3:Double-spaced abstract of the paper or special session, inclusive of references, tables, and other key materials
  • Format: Please email as Word documents to the conference chair.
  • Notification of Review Decision: 15 February 2014


Submissions for Publication

A special issue or a special section of the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing will be published based on articles developed from research presented at the conference and submitted to the review process.  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, and Journal of Marketing Management).  Further details will be available as they are finalized.  A tentative schedule is as follows:

Submission Deadlines for Full Drafts: 

August 31, 2014 – Deadline for paper submission after incorporation of comments from conference participants and conference chairs

November 30, 2014 – Feedback to authors after peer review

January 31, 2015 – Deadline for revised submission

May 31, 2015 – Final deadline for subsequent revisions

Submission Requirements:

Page 1:                   Title, author(s), and full contact information (including e-mail).

Pages 2-35:  Double-spaced paper not to exceed 35 pages including references, appendices, and exhibits.

To be submitted as Word attachments via e-mail to


Conference Chair Contact Details

Madhu Viswanathan: