Setting new frontiers
MARWAR India|September - October 2020
Frontier Markets specialises in facilitating last-mile delivery of products and services to rural customers. In conversation with MARWAR, founder and CEO, Ajaita Shah, talks about how her organisation has created a network of 4,000 women entrepreneurs or ‘Saral Jeevan Sahelis’ to further make life better for villagers.
Pooja Mujumdar

ONE OF THE MAJOR PROBLEMS faced by remote areas in India is limited access to products and services due to gaps in last-mile delivery. Sellers and marketers are not always equipped with the infrastructure needed to reach customers in these last-mile locations and, worse still, neither do they understand rural customers nor can educate them on how certain products work, or how to avail of servicing or repairing facilities after a sale is made. To make a difference, in 2011, Frontier Markets stepped in, and ever since it has been working to solve these problems, while also creating income opportunities for rural women by getting them to market, sell and repair various products and also facilitate delivery in the villages on its behalf.

By using a Frontier Markets-assisted e-commerce platform, till date, these women entrepreneurs have made doorstep deliveries of over a million products and services to 7,00,000 rural customers across the states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha. The products delivered include everything from consumer durables such as solar lighting, home appliances and smartphones, to digital services such as 4G data packages. On one hand, this makes life easier for the rural folk, and on the other, it enables Frontier Markets to ensure a saral jeevan (easy life) for its customers. The organisation even refers to its women entrepreneurs as ‘Saral Jeevan Sahelis’, as they make life easier for villagers by bringing them various products and services. Frontier Markets curates the products to meet customer demand by leveraging its assisted e-commerce platform and accessing customer insights.

At the helm of this revolutionary enterprise is founder and CEO Ajaita Shah, who, instead of opting for a relatively stable career in law back home in the USA, moved to India at 21 to help those who really need help. Her work has won her several awards, fellowships and opportunities to speak at prestigious global forums.

Back to her roots

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