Jim Tailor has an MPA from Harvard University and an MBA from the University of Southern California. He has over six years' supply chain distribution experience in the private sector in the US. In the mid-1980s, Jim managed post-war development assistance following the Khmer Rouge period in Cambodia. In the 1990s, he spent seven years as Resident Adviser to the Ministry of Planning in Indonesia. He is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive of Proximity Designs, Myanmar.
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- Proximity Designs
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- Hybrid Social Enterprise
- Agriculture, Food and Beverage
- Areas of Impact
- ASEAN, Myanmar
Founded by entrepreneurs Debbie Aung Din and Jim Taylor in 2004, Proximity Designs is a social enterprise with 14 years of experience achieving social impact in rural Myanmar.
Proximity aims to transform the small farm sector in Myanmar by bringing smart agricultural technologies, farm finance and innovative extension services to poor, rural farmers in Myanmar. Most of Proximity's highly affordable products are manufactured locally in Myanmar and developed in Proximity’s in-house design lab. These products include foot-operated irrigation pumps, drip irrigation sets, water storage tanks, financial services and farm advisory services. These products and services are designed to dramatically reduce daily hardships and improve household productivity and incomes by replacing time-consuming, antiquated technologies. For example, rural customers who replace their rope and buckets with Proximity's irrigation technologies typically double their net seasonal cash incomes ($200-300). They can then use this money to buy food, send their children to school, reinvest in their farms and more. Myanmar faces a huge credit vacuum as well, so Proximity offers various loan products to help farmers purchase products and inputs.
Proximity's success is rooted in the extensive distribution network it has developed to reach customers in even Myanmar’s most rural and isolated areas. The distribution network is comprised of 165 private agro-dealers, 180 village kiosks, over 840 independent village agents, 1,800 community groups and 135 product demonstrators. Proximity trains these groups and individuals and equips them to do necessary installations and repairs. Proximity brings dealers and agents together in Yangon for multi-day training sessions that increase skills and foster a commitment to improving farmers' situations.
Proximity understands that the sustainable well-being of its rural customers depends on a supportive macro-policy environment. To that end, Proximity leverages its in-depth knowledge of rural conditions, teaming up with Harvard University's Ash Center to research and analyse Myanmar's economy. Several groundbreaking reports have been produced to help inform key decision-makers in Myanmar. Since 2004, Proximity's products and services have increased the income and well-being of nearly 2.8 million people, some 555,600 rural households, by $263 million.