Tom Harrison


Tom works in the following areas:

  • Market system transformation: understanding how a market system functions and what is constraining poor people from getting the full benefit from the market as consumers, producers or employees.  Designing interventions that address the root cause of these constraints and evaluating their impact, including the use of randomised control trials;
  • Inclusive business: supporting companies and organisations that are committed to using the skills and resources of the private sector to contribute to sustainable international development, including through better impact measurement and feedback to decision making;
  • Donor engagement with the private sector: helping donor organisations and NGOs to work in partnership with companies to deepen their collaboration and drawing out lessons about what achieves the most impact, and why.

Inclusive business distribution challenges


"Distributing product across the rural market segment holds the key to how most corporations will sustain themselves over the next few years and the longer run."


So begins the executive summary of a new publication “The Base of Pyramid distribution challenge” by Sachin Shukla & Sreyamsa Bairiganjan. In their note introducing the paper the authors explain that "Taking into account the complexities of operating in rural Indian markets, this paper moves the discussion beyond a one-size-fits-all strategy for the rural market scenario. To this end, the paper presents a new analytical framework to help companies identify viable alternate distribution channels and evaluate their capabilities."


The Business Innovation Facility already has several projects where learnings from this report can be valuable. The Rural Sales Program aims to transform from a successful NGO managed project into into a for-profit company with Facility support. The Low Cost LPG Cylinder initiative in Nigeria aims to provide Nigerian households with affordable and accessible clean cooking fuels. In this project the lack of infrastructure at the “last mile” to the homes consumers, in addition to the lack of suitable/affordable product options for low income households, are two of the key reasons for limited use of LPG as the preferred cooking fuel. The Facility will support the creation of stakeholder momentum to drive the implementation of a large-scale Generic Fuel Switch campaign in Nigeria.


I'm sure we will see more such projects as the Facility goes along, and in due course be able to share our own lessons about how to address base of the pyramid distribution challenges.