Jackie Stenson

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Jackie Stenson

2013 Global Fellow
Founder of Essmart Global, Inc. with Diana Jue

Jackie Stenson 2013 Global Fellow

Bold Idea 

Deliver life-improving technologies to the people in India who need them most by developing innovative distribution channels embedded within existing local retail networks.


Despite the invention of hundreds of life-improving technologies, such as affordable solar lantern and water filters, few of these products are reaching and impacting their intended end users because distribution channels are broken. Essmart is a distribution company in southern India for these life-improving technologies. We create a marketplace for these goods in places where people already shop - their local mom-and-pop retail stores by aggregating a catalogue of existing, high-quality products, demonstrating them in stores, and training shop owners to sell them. Essmart is filling a significant gap in the global supply chain while improving local businesses and enabling technology access for rural households.


Jackie is CEO and co-founder of Essmart, a distribution company for life-improving technologies in southern India. 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. Jackie received awards for outstanding scholarly work for both her undergraduate and masters dissertations, and she continues to give lectures on technology design, commercialization, and dissemination at Harvard, MIT and Yale. Jackie studied mechanical engineering at Harvard and Engineering for Sustainable Development at the University of Cambridge.

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