How can we scale distribution and sales networks that create opportunities at the BoP?


(Caroline Ashley) #21

There are many interesting things about the Jita model, but one particular success factor is that it is operating in rural Muslim communities where women are limited in their freedom to shop and travel independently. They are used to menfolk buying their saris in town. So one of the things they really appreciate about the Jita model is being able to choose items for themselves, from a women seller at their own house. Jita sells a mixture of more conventional consumer products (shoes, saris) and socially beneficial goods (nutritious foods).


(Elfid Torres) #22

Another Example may be the Program 4e Camino al Progresso (quoted in the paper) successfully strengthened SAB Miller’s distribution chain in Latin America, supporting 25’000 Mom and Pop shops across 6 countries of the region. Through training, on-site personal assistance and access to simple and low cost technologies, it enabled participating shopkeepers to increase their sales by 10% and their margins by 2% on average. With the financial participation of the FOMIN, the program also included a community development component, which consisted in training 4000 shopkeepers to leadership role in their communities, supporting them in implementing social impact initiatives. While SAB Miller can now count on more robust, sustainable, loyal and productive distributors, tens of thousands of households across Latin America are now better off.


Jessica Davis Pluess said:

Living Goods is a great example of using product mix that includes durable goods like cookstoves and healthcare in the same distribution channel

Caroline Ashley said:

What's interesting about Living Goods is that they have a distribution model for multiple beneficial goods. Creating such networks is such a big ask that other companies want to use their network, not create their own.


(Jessica Davis Pluess) #23

Welcome Juan! It would be great to learn more about how Unilever is engaging micro-entrepreneurs in their downstream value chain in Latin America?

Juan Céspedes said:

Hello! this is Juan, from Unilever. I work as Social Channels Manager for the Andean Region and Central America


(William Maddocks) #24

There is also Hapinoy in the Philippines started by CARD MRI a large microfinance organization. Thousands of Sari sari shops have co-branded signage and products and benefit from support, access to credit and group puchasing.

Sari-sari Stores are small neighborhood retail shops started and run by women microentrepreneurs from their homes. Quite often these microentrepreneurs mothers – or Nanays – who engage in this microbusiness in order to augment their family’s income.

http://hapinoy.com/#home

There is a brief mention of Hapinoy in the discussion report.


(Abby Mackey) #25

Interesting! That sounds similar to what we are doing at Solar Sister. Rural last mile communities in areas like Tanzania typically do not have ease of access when it comes to purchasing solar lighting and cookstoves. So our women run businesses go door to door and visit the consumer directly (which also decreases travel costs and burden for consumer). We also work with multiple manufacturers and offer a wide portfolio of products so customers can have a choice based on their individuals needs and budgets.

Caroline Ashley said:

There are many interesting things about the Jita model, but one particular success factor is that it is operating in rural Muslim communities where women are limited in their freedom to shop and travel independently. They are used to menfolk buying their saris in town. So one of the things they really appreciate about the Jita model is being able to choose items for themselves, from a women seller at their own house. Jita sells a mixture of more conventional consumer products (shoes, saris) and socially beneficial goods (nutritious foods).


(Aminta Perez-Gold) #26


The results to date provide evidence of their positive impact not only on income generation but empowerment of microdistributors while increasing anchors companies’ sales volume and BoP market knowledge.


(Jessica Davis Pluess) #27

That's great Aminta. Have you also been able to capture some of the benefits to business?


Aminta Perez-Gold said:


The results to date provide evidence of their positive impact not only on income generation but empowerment of microdistributors while increasing anchors companies’ sales volume and BoP market knowledge.


(Caroline Ashley) #28

So we are already hearing about 2 types of networks. One where people are already operating as micro-distributors, such as sari-sari stores or Hapinoy stores. Others, such as for Jita, LIving Goods, or Solar Sister (I assume) the distributors are more likely to be newly incorporated into the distribution chain.

William Maddocks said:

There is also Hapinoy in the Philippines started by CARD MRI a large microfinance organization. Thousands of Sari sari shops have co-branded signage and products and benefit from support, access to credit and group puchasing.

Sari-sari Stores are small neighborhood retail shops started and run by women microentrepreneurs from their homes. Quite often these microentrepreneurs mothers – or Nanays – who engage in this microbusiness in order to augment their family’s income.

http://hapinoy.com/#home


(Jessica Davis Pluess) #29

Thank you everyone for helping frame the conversation with some examples.

In the interest of time, let’s move on to our second question:

Q2. What are the most significant challenges to scale these models, and how do they vary across models, regions, and/or industries?


(Caroline Ashley) #30

HI Abby. I'd like to know if the women that operate as Solar Sister distributors are new to distribution, or were they marketing other goods before?

Abby Mackey said:

Well Solar Sister is one example. We are building a clean energy last mile distribution chain that is made up of women run businesses in Uganda, Nigeria and Tanzania. Women make up the majority of the rural energy poor market in sub-Saharan Africa so Solar Sister has responded with a women-centered supply chain to meet this demand. We have found that more often, women are able to find female customers due to community involvement and strong social networks. Also, women make the majority of energy decisions in their household so it makes sense to target them as the consumers then.


(Elfid Torres) #31

In the examples that I've just mentioned one key challenge to scale is to convince large companies of the benefits of such projects for their core business. Most inclusive projects leveraging networks of existing micro-enterprises are managed by the large companies’ CSR department or foundation and their limited budget. If instead they would be handled by their sales areas, incentives to scale would be bigger.



Jessica Davis Pluess said:

Thank you everyone for helping frame the conversation with some examples.

In the interest of time, let’s move on to our second question:

Q2. What are the most significant challenges to scale these models, and how do they vary across models, regions, and/or industries?


(Zahid Torres-Rahman) #32

Hi Elfid - that's a great example. One of our colleagues, Beth Jenkins, wrote a report about 4e: http://snipbfp.org/2geP91c

Elfid Torres said:

Another Example may be the Program 4e Camino al Progresso (quoted in the paper) successfully strengthened SAB Miller’s distribution chain in Latin America, supporting 25’000 Mom and Pop shops across 6 countries of the region. Through training, on-site personal assistance and access to simple and low cost technologies, it enabled participating shopkeepers to increase their sales by 10% and their margins by 2% on average. With the financial participation of the FOMIN, the program also included a community development component, which consisted in training 4000 shopkeepers to leadership role in their communities, supporting them in implementing social impact initiatives. While SAB Miller can now count on more robust, sustainable, loyal and productive distributors, tens of thousands of households across Latin America are now better off.


Jessica Davis Pluess said:

Living Goods is a great example of using product mix that includes durable goods like cookstoves and healthcare in the same distribution channel

Caroline Ashley said:

What's interesting about Living Goods is that they have a distribution model for multiple beneficial goods. Creating such networks is such a big ask that other companies want to use their network, not create their own.


(Jessica Davis Pluess) #33

Welcome Mauro! It wonderful to hear more about the Danone Kiteiras and what you've found to be some of the key challenges to scale the direct sales model

Mauro Homem said:

Hello everyone, this is Mauro Homem from Danone Brazil. I´m the Head of Public Affairs and in charge of all the Social Innovation platform.


(Caroline Ashley) #34

The biggest challenge I hear from multiple enterprises is salesforce churn.


(Juan Céspedes) #35

Hello Jessica! We started one year ago to build a network of microentreprenuers in rural areas of Colombia and El Salvador. The microentrepreneurs, most of them women, sell unilever products in their communities. We´ve been developing skill building courses for our microentrepreneurs, so they can get their businesss stronger. We've as well developed courses on nutrition and health.

Jessica Davis Pluess said:

Welcome Juan! It would be great to learn more about how Unilever is engaging micro-entrepreneurs in their downstream value chain in Latin America?

Juan Céspedes said:

Hello! this is Juan, from Unilever. I work as Social Channels Manager for the Andean Region and Central America


(Caroline Ashley) #36


Salesforce churn is a huge problem, but takes slightly different forms depending on the network. Some companies deploy their own salesforce and invest hugely in their training and set-up costs. Then suffer when they leave. Others have more independent sellers, who take more of the risk, but might not have the incentives to remain.


Jessica Davis Pluess said:

Thank you everyone for helping frame the conversation with some examples.

In the interest of time, let’s move on to our second question:

Q2. What are the most significant challenges to scale these models, and how do they vary across models, regions, and/or industries?


(Abby Mackey) #37

Most Solar Sister entrepreneurs were informal entrepreneurs in some capacity before, mainly selling crops, baskets, soaps, etc. We are talking very small scale here (typically they do not have actual store structures or permanent selling areas). So entrepreneurs have some experience with selling and Solar Sister provides business skill trainings that not only help them with their new clean energy businesses but also help them improve their existing businesses. Most Solar Sister entrepreneurs also take advantage of our business opportunity on a part-time basis. They sell when they need the additional revenue or they do their Solar Sister activities on top of other business activities. We like that it is a flexible business opportunity.

Caroline Ashley said:

HI Abby. I'd like to know if the women that operate as Solar Sister distributors are new to distribution, or were they marketing other goods before?

Abby Mackey said:

Well Solar Sister is one example. We are building a clean energy last mile distribution chain that is made up of women run businesses in Uganda, Nigeria and Tanzania. Women make up the majority of the rural energy poor market in sub-Saharan Africa so Solar Sister has responded with a women-centered supply chain to meet this demand. We have found that more often, women are able to find female customers due to community involvement and strong social networks. Also, women make the majority of energy decisions in their household so it makes sense to target them as the consumers then.


(Fernando Casado) #38

one of the challenges we found was to develop the capabilities of distributors and retailers.. we recommend doing that by strengthening capability building processes which would include providing product positioning advice to retailers, training on the product's short and long-term benefits to door-to-door sales agents as well as management, negotiation, or sales skills. The cost and effort for training small-scale distributors and retailers is often underestimated, and can be a major challenge when trying to achieve scale and developing a successful distribution network.


(Beth Meadows) #39

Hello - I can talk from experience on some of our challenges - we need more time to talk about them all :) -

Picking the right candidate and making sure their personal challenges don't conflict with the needs of the business.

Empowering them -supporting them - working to network to find partners that can meet the other challenges that they encounter such as domestic or emotional abuse. Earning their trust -

Finding the right provider that has quality and is reliable.


(Jessica Davis Pluess) #40

That's very interesting. As Caroline noted, salesforce turnover has been raised as a key challenge in many inclusive distribution models Have you found this to be an issue?

Juan Céspedes said:

Hello Jessica! We started one year ago to build a network of microentreprenuers in rural areas of Colombia and El Salvador. The microentrepreneurs, most of them women, sell unilever products in their communities. We´ve been developing skill building courses for our microentrepreneurs, so they can get their businesss stronger. We've as well developed courses on nutrition and health.

Jessica Davis Pluess said:

Welcome Juan! It would be great to learn more about how Unilever is engaging micro-entrepreneurs in their downstream value chain in Latin America?

Juan Céspedes said:

Hello! this is Juan, from Unilever. I work as Social Channels Manager for the Andean Region and Central America