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Fuimos aceptados en el Scale Up Oftalmológico de Eyelliance, The Miller Center y Agora

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Fuimos aceptados en el Scale Up Oftalmológico de Eyelliance, The Miller Center y Agora

Scaling a solution is not the same as solving a problem at scale. Nearly 1 billion people around the world live with blindness or vision impairment that is correctable with a pair of eyeglasses. No single solution will ever scale to solve a problem of that enormity.

EYElliance set out to solve this billion-person problem not by scaling a single solution but with a system orchestration approach—when social innovators fuel change behind the scenes by connecting people, providing resources and support, and mobilizing collective, unified efforts. EYElliance is agnostic to the solution. Its goal is to solve this very solvable problem at a population level with an ever-expanding toolbox of solutions in a variety of contexts.

We’ve already looked at EYElliance’s work in Liberia, where they collaborated with the Liberian Ministries of Health and Education, NGOs, and the private sector, all of whom came together to transform the eye health landscape and spur exponential change in a system that was previously marked by incremental growth. Now we’ll turn to a part of their work that falls into the “proactive” model of impact, where an intervention accelerates the rate of change in a system that has shown indicators of movement in a positive direction.

“One of EYElliance’s founding premises is that inclusive optical can become a new impact industry, one on a similar scale to off grid solar. We started to see profitable inclusive optical businesses meeting the needs of low- and middle- income consumers popping up in a couple of countries and we asked ourselves how could EYElliance fan the flames of what was already working.” Elizabeth Smith, co-Founder of EYElliance

Smith and EYElliance co-Founder, Jordan Kassalow, understood that development finance plays a critical role in the growth of any impact industry, so they decided to test an approach to attract new, innovative development investment in Latin America and beyond.

Sourcing investment

Vision correction feeds into several Sustainable Development Goals: eliminating poverty (SDG 1), ensuring good health and well-being (SDG 3), providing quality education (SDG 4), advancing gender equality (SDG 5), and guaranteeing decent work (SDG 8), and the UN General Assembly recently passed a resolution calling for universal access to eye health for all by 2030. Eyeglasses fundamentally change lives for the better, making eye health an attractive investment for development finance institutions.

“There is such great evidence in terms of how vision translates into pro-development metrics: kids learning better, adults becoming more productive, and road traffic accidents decreasing,” said Kassalow. “It became a natural issue area that fit very well into the mandate of development finance.”

Investment from development finance is rarely deployed in tranches less than $10 million. Accordingly, EYElliance is exploring how developing a critical mass of inclusive optical companies could attract regional investment in Latin America. To do so, EYElliance engaged a select cohort of entrepreneurs to launch and scale regional chains of inclusive optical stores, helping them adapt a successful model—Ver De Verdad, a 100-location chain in Mexico—for markets in Chile, Peru, and Ecuador.

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