Business on the Edge

How to Turn a Profit and Improve Lives in the World’s Toughest Places

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By Viva Ona Bartkus

By Emily S. Block

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$39.00 CAD



  1. Hardcover $30.00 $39.00 CAD
  2. ebook $18.99 $24.99 CAD

A road map for how businesses can grow and make money while reducing poverty and conflict in some of the world’s most challenging environments  

Many companies worry that expanding into emerging markets is a risky—and even dangerous—move. Professors Viva Ona Bartkus and Emily S. Block see things differently. They argue that by entering markets in the world’s frontline regions—areas stuck in cycles of violence and extreme poverty—businesses can actually create stability and expand opportunity for communities and corporations alike.

From helping Colombian farmers transition from growing coca to produce to disrupting human trafficking rings by creating more construction jobs in the Philippines, Business on the Edge proves that businesses can make money while advancing corporate social responsibility, environmental conservation, and social justice. Partnering with groups including multinational companies, NGOs, and the US military, Bartkus and Block outline their process for generating opportunities, detailing their successes and failures in launching over eighty growth-oriented business solutions in thirty countries.

Bridging the gap between academic research and real-world experience, Business on the Edge shows how businesses can reduce risks, cut costs, and increase profits, all while creating economic opportunities that transform communities.

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  • “As competition among global companies becomes increasingly fierce, business leaders thinking strategically about where and how to expand will find this book an essential resource. Business on the Edge explains how to build business and create value in some of the most challenging places on the planet. At the same time, Bartkus and Block explain how those strategic investments can provide far more enduring impact in those challenged communities than foreign aid.”
    T. Michael Nevens, Director Emeritus, McKinsey & Company
  • “Equal parts inspirational and pragmatic, Business on the Edge is brimming with insights and lessons from Bartkus and Block’s decades of experience launching businesses in far-flung corners of the world. Business leaders who are serious about growing their operations in the developing world, while also achieving social impact in the communities in which they invest, need to read this book.”
    Wayne Murdy, former CEO, Newmont Mining
  • Business on the Edge makes a forceful argument about the power of business to do good in the world while also making a profit. Bartkus and Block outline a clear, step-by-step guide for business leaders to seek opportunities in challenging markets with confidence.”
    Francis X. Taylor, former EVP, General Electric
  • “The lessons that I learned from Bartkus and Block laid the foundation for me to lead our team to launch the COVID vaccine in the United States. Ensuring that business, NGOs, and government worked together effectively was crucial to deploying the life-saving vaccine during an ever-changing global pandemic. Confronted by the vast uncertainty in this increasingly complex business environment, leaders should turn to Business on the Edge to guide them on how to do good in the world.”
    Christopher Villani, group product director for the COVID-19 vaccine, Johnson & Johnson
  • “A breakthrough approach to national security, Business on the Edge offers a powerful model for preventing conflict and accelerating postwar reconstruction. They harness the dynamism of the whole of society with remarkable results in some of the world’s most troubled regions. A must-read for those committed to peace, prosperity, and the universal dignity of an honest day’s work.”
    Lieutenant General Charles Cleveland, commander, US Army Special Operations Command
  • “Nothing stops a bullet like a job. Bartkus and Block have taken this truth to heart and figured out how to make it happen in the toughest parts of the world.”
    Father Greg Boyle, author of New York Times bestseller Tattoos on the Heart

On Sale
Jul 16, 2024
Page Count
272 pages
Basic Books

Viva Ona Bartkus

About the Author

Viva Ona Bartkus is Paul E. Purcell Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. She is a former partner at McKinsey & Company and the founder of the revolutionary course Business on the Frontlines.

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Emily S. Block

About the Author

Emily S. Block is the George M. Cormie Chair of Management in the University of Alberta School of Business. A former consultant for Accenture, Block now teaches negotiations and decision-making and runs the university’s Business on the Frontlines program.

Learn more about this author