Author Archives: Brad Michaels

Creating Impact at Scale for Female Entrepreneurs in Pakistan, Peru and Vietnam

Pham Phuong Thao arms crossed to camera standing among flower bushes

The “IGNITE” project is valuable to share since it leverages innovations at scale to reach over 3 million entrepreneurs with financing and business support in Pakistan, Peru, and Vietnam.

The project, financed by the MasterCard Foundation, is high-visibility since it provides those solutions in a manner specially tailored to the needs of community-level (mainly female) entrepreneurs, by (1) ensuring that those services are delivered by practitioners with deep experience working with female entrepreneurs, and by (2) delivering those services virtually on the entrepreneurs’ mobile phones.

I was asked by the VP of CARE to lead the kickoff of IGNITE. I worked with the project teams in Pakistan, Peru, and Vietnam to develop their project plans; I created a Master Plan for the leadership at CARE that rolled up each country’s plan.

Ignite has two sets of partners in each country: a financial services institution and a business training provider, each of whom create a digital solution to reach these community-level entrepreneurs via cell phone, obviating the need for them to travel in order to get services or training.

Working through these local partners, the program provides access to finance along with digital payment solutions, plus training in financial and business management skills, mentoring and coaching, all to women running micro-enterprises or interested in starting their own businesses.

In summary, the special features of this program involve:

– Developing new financial products to fit these community-level entrepreneurs’ needs (which are greater than the level available through microlending but not yet ready to access commercial bank loans.)

– Finding digital solutions to reach community-level entrepreneurs on their mobile phones (rather than requiring them to come to a central location for business training and mentoring.)

– Demonstrating that this model works well across varied regions: Latin America, Southeast Asia, and South Asia.

Success stories of the women who have participated in the program are showcased on the project website which also highlights the programs’ positive impact on their businesses and livelihoods.


New Research Paves the Way for Access to Piped Water in Cambodia

Access to clean and piped water is a crucial component of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 6, which aims to provide safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030. However, up to one in four people globally lack access to safe drinking water. Cambodia has seen strong private sector participation in the provision… Read More

see SociaLab’s new Website and Capability Statement

We are excited to share our updated Website and Capability Statement! You can now easily navigate the Website tabs for “Expertise” and “Solutions”  with just a few clicks. You can also find our blog posts, social media profiles, and contact information directly from the website. We have also optimized the website for mobile devices, so… Read More

How patient engagement is shifting the healthcare industry

Patient Engagement is about getting patients more involved in the care of their own health. Whether through online patient portals, wearable devices or social media, new healthcare players are coming up with innovative ways to help patients monitor their vital signs, symptoms and side effects. These efforts stem from strong evidence that improved health outcomes… Read More

Two steps to writing value proposition like a champ!

Having a groundbreaking or world-changing product is one thing. Being able to convey that idea to interested parties is another. To help you come up with convincing content, SociaLab suggests you develop two steps to clarify and promote your value proposition (VP): A pitch statement A 1-page summary Read More

Sustainable Packaging: the Holy Grail of CSR?

Climate change is happening: 2015 was the hottest year in recorded history. Fortunately, more companies are taking action to help save the planet by integrating sustainable approaches into their business models. “Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)”, a term that has been around for decades, has been encouraging companies to broaden and deepen their approaches.So what kind… Read More

How to Write a “Lasting Impression” Executive Summary

Writing a compelling executive summary is key to making a great first impression among your strategic partners and investors. It is essential to clearly and concisely highlight your company’s purpose and business model. So the question is, how do you capture your readers’ interest, all without exceeding 2 pages? Read More

SociaLab helps launch Esperity to help improve patients’ lives

The healthcare industry has been seeking ways to better engage patients for some time now. Recent evidence has finally shown what many had intuitively assumed: that “patient engagement” not only leads to better patient outcomes, but also to lower costs, thereby benefiting all key players in the healthcare system: patients, providers and payers. Read More

Time for disruption of the “Philanthropic Market”

Recent provocative articles and TED talks suggest many reasons why charities are geared to underperform. Some say its goes all the way back to our Calvinist roots, which created US philanthropy as “a form of penance.” The root cause for underperformance is that nonprofits have a hard time finding donors that will fund their organization’s… Read More