I. Scojo Foundation will expand its own network and partner with up to eight additional organizations providing products and services to low-income rural communities to bring its Vision Entrepreneur model to underserved areas of the developing world. Scojo Foundation will launch this commitment, with investment from The Peery Foundation and Linked Foundation, by partnering with the microfinance organizations Fundación Paraguaya in Paraguay and Pro Mujer in Mexico to bring Scojo Foundation's Vision Entrepreneur model to their constituents, and with PSI to distribute affordable reading glasses in Zambia, Ethiopia, and Kenya. In addition, Scojo Foundation will continue to work with its partners PSI, Freedom from Hunger, BRAC, and New Development Solutions to replicate its model throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Bangladesh, and with its India field office and partners such as Development Alternatives, Drishtee, and Vedanta Resources to expand its model throughout India.
Committed to employing market-based solutions to solve this global issue, Scojo Foundation has developed a replicable, scalable, microfranchise model. Scojo Vision Entrepreneurs are low-income men and women trained to conduct vision screenings within their communities, sell affordable reading glasses, and refer those who require advanced eye care to reputable clinics. Each Scojo Vision Entrepreneur receives his or her own 'Business in a Bag,' a sales kit containing all the products and materials needed for vision screening, sales, data collection, and marketing, and receives ongoing support from staff. With blueprints for success, Scojo Vision Entrepreneurs run profitable businesses, earning more than twice their previous daily income on each pair of glasses sold.
Recognizing the massive scale of the population in need of reading glasses, Scojo Foundation empowers Franchise Partners, or partner organizations with existing distribution networks to reach the rural poor, to implement Scojo's Vision Entrepreneur model in the communities in which they work. Scojo Foundation provides the tools, knowledge, products, and support for Franchise partners to implement Scojo microfranchises, adding both profit and social value to established programs. Scojo Foundation currently works with nearly 30 Franchise Partners, from small NGOs to large multi-national corporations, in India, Bangladesh, Ghana, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico.
II. Scojo Foundation will provide its partners with the training, support, and inventory necessary to equip their networks of village-based entrepreneurs to start their own microfranchises providing vision screenings and selling reading glasses in their communities. The Vision Entrepreneurs will run profitable business, while the programs themselves will become self-sustaining after the start-up phase, providing a source of revenue to the partner organizations. Following Scojo Foundation's Franchise Partner process, which has been successfully implemented in nine countries across the world with more than 26 partner organizations, Scojo Foundation will first perform a feasibility study to determine the structure of the program and the market for affordable reading glasses. The next phase will be a six-month pilot program, leading to a full-scale, sustainable Franchise Partnership run by the partner organization with technical support from Scojo Foundation as needed.
With over 1,000 Vision Entrepreneurs who have sold over 70,000 pairs of reading glasses and referred over 72,000 people for advanced eye care, Scojo Foundation is closer than ever to achieving its goal of providing access to affordable reading glasses for all. In partnership with organizations such as Fundación Paraguaya, Pro Mujer, and PSI, Scojo Foundation will bring its Vision Entrepreneur model to hundreds of underserved communities across the developing world, increasing the availability of affordable eye care products for poor customers and creating sustainable jobs for rural entrepreneurs.
Anticipated Launch: October 1, 2007
First Milestone(s): Launching of full-scale Franchise Partnerships with Fundación Paraguaya in Paraguay and Pro Mujer in Mexico by August 2008; Distribution of affordable reading glasses to three countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with PSI by January 2008.
MEASURES OF SUCCESS
1. Number of sustainable business created for rural entrepreneurs
2. Number of affordable reading glasses sold
3. Number of people referred for advanced eye care
4. Number of new Scojo Franchise Partnerships launched
5. Number of new country programs launched
VisionSpring is a non-profit social enterprise that improves the economic condition of families in the developing world by broadening access to affordable reading glasses. As we age, almost all of us will lose our ability to see up close. But for the more than 700 million people living in poverty who don't have access to reading glasses, the loss of near vision can mean the loss of livelihood. For tailors, electricians, goldsmiths, and others whose precarious working lives depend on their ability to see up close, the lack of access to reading glasses can have disastrous economic consequences.
A pair of low-cost reading glasses, long available in every drugstore in the United States, can restore their vision and double their productivity, yet this simple, life-changing product has not yet made its way into the hands of those who live on less than $4 a day.