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

Joint Forces In A Coalition

In our previous articles, we described how Numi Tea is leading the way in sustainable packaging and how it has overcome certain challenges to introduce the use of “bio wrap” to package its tea products. A recap of the previous articles shows that tea bags are currently made of PET which is not biodegradable. Numi… Read More

Ensuring Quality With Sustainability

In our first article, we introduced Numi Tea and its sustainable packaging initiative. In this article, we dive deeper into the launch of the initiative, and describe some of the challenges encountered by Numi Tea and how it has overcome these. As with every company, quality is of major concern. This is no different for… Read More

The Leaders In Sustainable Tea Packaging

Tea making has a long history and is spread across many cultures. But in today’s world, have you wondered about the sustainability aspect of the process which enables tea leaves or tea bags to get from the farm to the shelf of your local grocery store? Founded in 1999, Numi Tea has been spearheading its… 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