Purpose - In many developing countries those living in poverty are unable to participate in markets due to the weakness or complete absence of supportive institutions. This study aims to examine, in microcosm, such an institutional void and to illustrate the strategy and activities employed by an entrepreneurial actor in rural Bangladesh in addressing it. Design/methodology/ approach - The paper is based on an in-depth case study. Data were gathered over two years from field interviews, archives, and secondary sources. Findings - The data illustrate how market access for the poorest of the poor is facilitated through the creation of platforms for participation in the economy and broader society. The authors conceptualize this process as the crafting of new institutional arrangements and as resource and institutional bricolage occurring in parallel. Practical implications - The study offers insights for development agencies, policy makers and companies on how to combat poverty, fight corruption, and stimulate social and economic change. Originality/value - The paper enriches current thinking on institutions and entrepreneurship as well as strategies for social impact.