It’s All About Distribution

Have you ever been excited about a low-cost technology that has the potential to improve the lives of millions? Like an affordable solar lantern or water filter or agricultural tool? While focusing on these great products may be exciting, hundreds of these technologies already exist. Yet few of them are actually reaching their intended end user and achieving widespread impact.

In this webinar, Jackie Stenson will discuss one of the most critical challenges facing technology-for-development initiatives: distribution. She will discuss the journey that led her to this realization, and she will share insights into successful distribution strategies as well as unsuccessful ones. Lastly, she will discuss what her social enterprise, Essmart, is doing to address this gap in the global supply chain and how Essmart is bringing attention to the under-recognized and underfunded – yet critical – challenge of technology dissemination.



Jackie Stenson is CEO and Co-Founder of Essmart (, a distribution company for life-improving technologies in southern India. As an engineer by training, Jackie wanted to design technologies that could impact low-income populations around the world. After working with technology-for-development initiatives in 11 African countries and India over multiple years, she realized that the real challenge is getting these products to their intended end users. She shifted her focus to technology dissemination and wrote her master’s thesis on innovation diffusion strategies in low-income settings, which helped lay the groundwork for Essmart. Essmart is a for-profit social enterprise based in Tamil Nadu, India that connects local retail shops to a catalogue of essential goods by providing marketing, distribution, and after-sales service. Jackie studied mechanical engineering at Harvard and Engineering for Sustainable Development at the University of Cambridge. She received awards for outstanding scholarly work for both her undergraduate and master’s dissertations, and she continues to give lectures on technology design, commercialization, and dissemination at Harvard, MIT and Yale.

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