Since 2001, our innovations have created access to a 700-year-old technology to people earning $4 per day in emerging and frontier markets who have limited or no access to basic eye care services. Our innovation is three-fold and includes product innovations, service, and process. Product Innovation:VisionSpring’s eyeglasses have small modifications which distinguishe them from other products in a market largely dominated by black market goods. Our softflex glasses (trademarked) have a unique rubberized finish which gives them a frosted finish with a velvety smooth feel. They have a modern appeal, and to date we have not encountered a comparable frame finish in Africa.We work with our manufacturer to produce a low-cost eyeglass that will last at least a year of heavy use, if not more. Our glasses have spring-hinged arms and double length screws to enhance durability. The plastic is developed to be significantly flexible. In the African market we tend to see cheap glasses made out of lower grade plastic—which depending on the raw material mix can be very brittle and subject to break inside of 3 months—or we see acetate at a much higher price point which is targeted to the high-end consumer, and not accessible to our target customer segment. Service Innovation:VisionSpring has greatly improved delivery methods by selling eyeglasses through existing networks of community health workers. This method has proven to be a novel and scalable route to reaching the low-income consumer groups that would not otherwise have access to eyeglasses. The adjacency of eyeglasses with health maintains a familiarity with consumers while pushing the delivery of eyeglasses beyond the four walls of health care institutions and optical stores thereby reaching a greater number of first-time wearers and those who have never received eyescreenings. Contracting vision services: In India VisionSpring is engaged by corporate entities as a social impact consultant, rather than a traditional charitable partner. We work with them tocustom design and implement vision interventions that align with a company’s core business need as well as their CSR requirements. Projects are designed around three impact themes: See to Earn, See to Learn and See to be Safe. Process InnovationMinimum Replicable Business Unit: Using this “light footprint” approach we have developed a nimble, cost effective, low-risk method for deepening market penetration and reaching our target customer segment through B2B channels. Pairs of contracted sales associates coupled with a wholesale distributor (or 3PL) allows us to have market presence, nurture meaningful client relationships and engage in face-to-face consultative selling without developing a significant infrastructure or bricks and mortar operations in-country. In the event that an untested market does not yield sufficient sales to support the sales team, we can quickly pivot to the next market without having invested substantial capital and time. Likewise, it allows us to quickly sub-out low performing individuals if necessary.
Economic Growth and Trade, Education and Health
Economic Growth and Trade, Education and HealthSEE LESS
Honduras, Zambia, Venezuela and 35 MoreSEE MORE
Honduras, Zambia, Venezuela, Vanuatu, Uganda, Sri Lanka, South Sudan, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Nigeria, Nicaragua, Nepal, Mozambique, Morocco, Mali, Malawi, Kenya, Indonesia, India, Haiti, El Salvador, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Congo, Democratic Republic of the, Cameroon, Cambodia, Burkina Faso, Bolivia, Benin, Belize, Bangladesh, Tanzania, Senegal, Paraguay, Mexico and GhanaSEE LESS
VisionSpring is aglobal social enterprise whose mission is to create access to eyewear, everywhere. We are positivelydisrupting the traditional optical market, by providing those earning less than $4 a day with access to free vision screenings and radically affordable eyeglasses. To date, we have screened over 6 million individuals across emerging and frontier markets and sold over 3.9 million pairs of eyeglasses in 43 markets. We aim to reach 10 million in the next few years.