Each fortnight, the Good Business column from Positive News catches up with people who are leading social change. It’s hosted by Impact Hub Islington, an incubation space in London for socially minded entrepreneurs.
Nicola Slawson talks to Tamsin Chislett, partnerships manager of Living Goods, a company giving away its successful ‘Avon Lady’-style business model in a bid to bolster healthcare in developing countries
Here’s an excerpt, you can read the full article here:
Nicola: Hi Tamsin, tell us about Living Goods Tamsin: We work in Uganda and Kenya, operating networks of mostly women who make a living by selling high-impact health products door-to-door. Essentially we’ve borrowed Avon’s direct selling business model and made it work for products that are actually really important and in communities that are really poor. What makes the business so unique?
We tackle a couple of the big problems with medicines in the area: affordability and quality. Normally, between the manufacturer of a drug and the village, there’s a chain of about 10 distributors and each of those have to add on their own margin, so by the time it reaches the village, it can cost more than it should. There’s also a lot of scope for people to mix counterfeits into the supply chain. We have a really short supply chain that we control. We can make sure it’s not counterfeit and we’re very competitive on price. What products do the women sell?
They sell treatments for diseases that cause the vast majority of deaths in children under five. So we focus on solutions for mothers and children for illnesses such as malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea, as well as everything needed for a healthy newborn. They also sell preventative products such as mosquito nets and fortified foods, as well as a small number of consumer goods such as soaps, nappies and reusable sanitary pads. And they also sell technologies. Particularly in Kenya, we do really big business in solar lights, cleaner cook stoves and water filters.
If you’re a Hub member and are interested in being featured in the next Good Business column, get in touch with Nicola Slawson from Positive News.
Photo credit: Esther Havens