Kirti Mishra, Director, Ecociate was invited as a speaker at the 7th Subsistence Marketplaces Conference at Urbana Champaign, University of Illinois, USA. He was invited to share his learning and experience of working in subsistence marketplaces in South Asia. In the session called ‘Businesses in Subsistence Marketplaces’ he shared the emerging opportunities in various sectors like agriculture, WASH, nutrition, energy etc. He shared few examples from India, Nepal and Bangladesh on emerging opportunities and how private sector actors are developing business models. He shared some key insights which were appreciated by the participants. Importance of co-creating with communities, leveraging existing social infrastructures (such as SHGs, FPOs etc.) to develop sustainable delivery models, leveraging strength of Government machineries in creating scalable models etc. were shared along with specific examples. Developing a last mile business solutions is not about creating something which is out-of-box. It is more of integrating various existing dots to arrive at a sustainable solution.  The participants asked a range questions which were addressed by him.

In the other session on ‘Impact Assessment’, a broad framework was presented by him to showcase the complexities and dynamism involved in assessing any initiatives in subsistence marketplaces. It is not only assessing the core goals of achieving SDGs or income enhancements, but it is also to assess whether right products/services (or even activities) are designed by addressing the capabilities of communities to sustain and  scale up the initiative. Other panelists added their learning and experience to build the discussion on the same. Participants liked the concept of Community Score Card as an approach to assess subsistence market place initiatives, as it goes well with the bottom up approach (which is a core principle of subsistence marketplaces). A range of questions were asked to get his perspectives.

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