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Global Distributors Collective launches Innovation Challenge

25.03.2019 PovertyRisk reductionPress release

The Global Distributors Collective (GDC), a collective of over 100 last mile distribution companies coordinated by Practical Action, which aims to help make life-changing products affordable and available to all, today launched its pioneering Innovation Challenge.

The collective is calling upon its members to submit innovative ideas that solve some of the biggest problems that last mile distributors (LMDs) face, in return they will receive financial and technical resources to help bring those ideas into reality.

Billions of people around the world do not have access to everyday products like solar lights, water filters and clean cookstoves, because reaching low income or vulnerable communities, often in remote, sparsely populated areas, is difficult and expensive.

Distribution businesses who serve these communities face a range of challenges: they operate in isolation within high-risk/low-infrastructure markets, with little capacity and no collective voice, and instead of learning from and leveraging one another they are continuously reinventing the wheel. The Global Distributors Collective believes that its members are best placed to apply innovative solutions to solve these challenges.

Emma Colenbrander, Head of the GDC, said:

“The Innovation Challenge is unique because of its collaborative, bottom-up nature. Members are actively encouraged to feedback on the design of the shortlisted innovations and apply for Innovations together.

“Innovations will be selected on their ability to be replicable by other LMDs and all learning will be made open source. It is hoped that this collective approach will strengthen and support the sector as a whole.”

The first wave of the innovation challenge has been made possible due to the GDC’s partnership with funders including DFID and P4G.

Last mile distribution companies are invited to sign up as members to access GDC’s Innovation Challenge Fund. To learn more about the Innovation Challenge or to and sign up, visit the website at