Confronting the Last Mile Problem in the Developing World

After her first trip to India, she decided to return with a plan to address this problem. As a graduate student at MIT, Rajasingh traveled to India two more times to conduct research through MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) and her thesis focused on the gap between making technologies and getting them to Indian villages. A tip from her thesis reader, Media Lab lecturer Joost Bonsen, connected her to a Harvard student that was cross-registered in one of his classes, Jackie Stenson who shared her passion and they came up with the idea for their company over lunch at Mass. Avenue’s Flour Bakery.

These five startups are getting a share of £200,000 to help battle poor eyesight globally

Essmart sells a wide range of vital technology, like solar lighting and smoke-reducing cook stoves, to rural communities in India. It does this by getting those products to 15 million local retail shops which it says count for 90 per cent of India’s $550bn annual retail spend. It has partnered with eyewear company Essilor, which is supplying it with low-cost reading glasses and UV-protective sunglasses, and has shifted 4,000 units of its products to date. As part of the collaboration, Essilor has trained Essmart’s field staff.