Current Projects

Can Tho Province, VietNam - January 28, 2015 A young girl standing on a boat, which is full of watermelons, is controlling drones to photograph how bustling floating markets Floating Cai Rang

Overview

The William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan (WDI) was founded in 1992 on the belief that a thriving private sector was essential to the development of an economy. More than 25 years later, WDI continues to embrace this premise by working with firms in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to develop profitable business models and apply business approaches to non-profit organizations working in markets that are not served by the for-profit sector.

We apply our extensive experience working with firms in LMICs to develop business models with a focus on professional education, healthcare, finance, and energy, in addition to offering measurement and evaluation services. Our engagement model involves WDI staff, research fellows, faculty from the University of Michigan (U-M), faculty from other leading business schools, and/or teams of University of Michigan graduate students working with our clients to develop solutions. These solutions are tailored to the clients’ comparative advantage while accounting for the constraints and opportunities specific to the target market.

The following is an overview of ongoing or completed projects during the last 12 months, categorized by sector or service area.

    Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD): Laboratory Leadership and Management Essentials

    BD and WDI, in partnership with the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), created an 8-part online course for 34 participants from laboratories across Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda based on the curriculum of the in-person APHL Foundations of Laboratory Leadership and Management. The course provides management and leadership skills to laboratory staff via videos, assignments, tests, and office hours. It leverages the ExtendEd portal, a learning management system custom developed by WDI for our education programs. The course represents the first collaboration between WDI’s Education, Healthcare, and Performance Measurement and Improvement sectors.

    Business & Culture: A Virtual Practicum (USA, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon)

    WDI is a collaborative, multi-disciplinary organization. As a result, it often engages multiple sector and services teams in our work. The following project undertaken by both our Education sector and Performance Measurement and Improvement service demonstrates our holistic approach. The Education sector is implementing Business & Culture: A Virtual Practicum — a classroom-to-classroom, action-learning course on international business cultures that brings together undergraduate students from Egypt, Lebanon, Libya and the U.S., supported by the Stevens Initiative. The course is expected to run four times at the Ross School of Business, starting in Winter 2020. Participants will attend lectures by international faculty, work on interregional teams through synchronous and asynchronous exchange, employ field research methods to learn about one another’s business cultures and create a final project that captures their cross-cultural learnings. The program will equip young people in the U.S. and MENA region with the competencies they need to communicate, problem-solve and collaborate in a global team environment—all essential 21st century skills in an interconnected world. In collaboration with the Education sector, the Performance Measurement and Improvement service is leading the design and implementation of an impact evaluation of the program on students in the U.S., Libya, Lebanon and Egypt. In addition to assessing the impact of the program on student outcomes (e.g. empathy, cross-cultural communication skills, business skills and knowledge), the data will also be used to improve the course and develop generalizable knowledge on how to increase the impact of virtual exchange courses.

    Ford Impact Training

    The Ford Community Impact Training program provides online training, funded by the Ford Motor Company Fund, for students globally that have participated in Ford Fund programs and are making a difference in the communities where they live. The program equips them with the skills they need in communications and team building, with curricula custom designed by WDI. Participants learn from interactive online modules, assignments, and quizzes to test their understanding of the content as they go through the program. They also work on cross-cultural teams on a final project under the guidance of program mentors. Participants who complete all program requirements receive a program completion certificate and are invited to join an online alumni networking group.

    Livelihoods Innovation through Food Entrepreneurship (Turkey)

    WDI collaborated with a consortium led by the Center for International Private Enterprise on the Livelihoods Innovation through Food Entrepreneurship (LIFE) Project, funded by the U.S. Government. Other consortium members included IDEMA, Union Kitchen, and The Stimson Center. During 2017-2020, the LIFE Project had established two Food Enterprise Centers (based in Istanbul and Mersin, Turkey) where entrepreneurs participated in an entrepreneurship incubation program and had access to shared kitchen space for testing and producing their products. The mission of the LIFE Project was to support and encourage entrepreneurship, job creation, and cross-cultural engagement in the food sector. The LIFE Project’s entrepreneurship incubation program built sustainable livelihoods by equipping refugees and members of the host communities with the skills and knowledge they needed to build successful businesses. Underlying LIFE Project activities was gastrodiplomacy – that is, leveraging food as a medium for cross-cultural engagement.

    With the obstacles brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Project’s strategy required a pivot as in-person training at the Food Enterprise Centers ceased. The WDI team provided guidance to IDEMA, the implementing partner, as they shifted to offering the in-person entrepreneur incubation training to an online format. The WDI team also facilitated an online workshop about resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic to help equip the consortium with the skills to meet the changing needs of the project participants during the challenging time.

    MADE (India)

    WDI is a founding partner of the Michigan Academy for Developing Entrepreneurs (MADE), along with Poornatha Foundation in India and the Zell Lurie Institute at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. MADE was established to support small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in low-and middle-income countries through local Entrepreneur Development Organizations (EDOs). MADE connects the resources of the University of Michigan (U-M) with the EDOs in the field through its governance. The governing board includes seats for different institutes at the University of Michigan and EDOs in different countries around the world. Thus, the EDOs have a direct role in determining the products and services offered by MADE. MADE has involved students and/or faculty from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, psychology department, Institute for Social Research, Stamps School of Art and Design, Law School and School of Education

    Poornatha (India)

    Poornatha has provided training to over 800 SMEs by entering into a partnership with Indian Bank to provide online training to 1,500 micro, small and medium enterprise entrepreneur account holders of the bank in 10 vernacular languages.  The program was launched by the honorable Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs of India.  More recently Poornatha reached an agreement to provide training to 500 operators of retail electronic outlets. Poorantha has also launched its direct online training program - "Empower" to train entrepreneurs in the vernacular. The program received an overwhelming response of 76 entrepreneur registrations. Poornatha has also been investigating the best way to extend its Journey in Joy (JnJ) model of training across India.  As a part of Michigan Academy for Developing Entrepreneurs (MADE), Poornatha's activities have been supported by WDI and MADE in various ways including research on opportunities, assistance in development of programs and specific products to be used in these programs such as the business assessment tool.  MADE also collaborated with Poornatha and University of Michigan's School of Education to launch a study on Poornatha's entrepreneurship learning modules, pedagogy and impact of the course on entrepreneurs through photo documentation. Poornatha has provided training to over 800 SMEs by entering into a partnership with Indian Bank.

    Private Equity Support (Kenya)

    Work with PES is focused on developing a systematic approach for assisting locally (Kenyan) owned SMEs by equipping them with the necessary training and skills, providing one-on-one support and then developing a template for providing such assistance in the future based on the learnings from the one-on-one offerings. Students have also worked on developing two business assessment surveys - intake and diagnostic. The intake survey is a short survey that provides PES with information on whether an SME is suited for its business offerings - consulting & advisory services. The diagnostic survey is a longer one that provides PES with a comprehensive picture of the various aspects of an SME’s business after PES takes it on as its client.

    LvBS Consulting (Ukraine)

    Teams have been working with LvBS Consulting to develop a consulting program focused on marketing. Specifically, a survey tool has been developed to help identify areas in which the clients can focus their efforts, and training materials have been identified to help educate clients in specific areas of marketing. The tool has already been tested by a few SMEs that LvBS works with.

    Institut Africain de Management (IAM) (Senegal)

    An MBA student worked on developing a framework for knowledge transfer between the EDOs and an implementation plan for a pilot project. The project focused upon  knowledge transfer of Poornatha’s ‘Empower’ training modules (described above) to IAM. The pilot training sessions are currently underway in Dakar (Nov 2021).

    NGO Leadership Program (Poland, Slovakia)

    WDI works with the Weiser Center for Europe & Eurasia (WCEE) at U-M to offer NGO Leadership workshops to non-profit leaders from across central and southeastern Europe. The workshops cover marketing, strategic planning, resource mobilization, fundraising and management to help NGOs run more effectively and sustainably. In 2021, the workshop will be held online for emerging NGO leaders from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia in partnership with Bratislava-based partner, Hekima.

    Private Sector Engagement Thematic Review for The Global Fund

    WDI collaborated with Aceso Global on a project for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to examine how the organization might engage more with the for-profit private health sector in multiple low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to help achieve its objective of eradicating the three diseases and inform the development of its next five-year strategy. WDI and Aceso Global conceptualized and carried out a landscaping study of multiple aspects of the for-profit private health sector in LMICs, including health service delivery, supply chain, how care is paid for, and digital health. The team analyzed challenges and barriers to engage with the for-profit private health sector. Recommendations based on the research were presented in a final report on how to expand the Global Fund’s engagement with the for-profit private health sector. Additionally, six case studies were developed to give the Global Fund deeper insights in selected countries, of which WDI developed case studies on South Africa and Kenya.

    A-Heza, TIP Global Health

    TIP Global Health, in partnership with Partners in Health-Rwanda, is conducting research to determine the feasibility of a locally procured and produced Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) at scale in Rwanda.  This project involved a cost analysis of 3 potential product formulations, identification of the most cost-effective formulation, and development of recommendations to further lower the cost.

    Country Level Efficiency Analysis Support and Value for Money review

    The WDI Healthcare team prepared two summary reports for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, reviewing its catalytic investment aimed to improve efficiency of disease programs and health systems as well as the comprehensiveness and depth of applicants’ understanding and approach to Value for Money during a recent grant cycle.

    E-Heza Digital Health Record Expansion, TIP Global Health (Rwanda)

    E-Heza is a digital health record developed in Rwanda. The newest modules have been completed and the team has expanded the existing modules to 14 new health centers. TIP is in the process of working on strategy, scale and operations' needs.  This project involved developing criteria for partnerships for market expansion through an analysis of the geographic, political, cultural, and healthcare landscapes in East Africa.

    Redat Health (Ethiopia)

    Redat Healthcare is an Ethiopia based ambulance, house call, home care and telehealth service provider that will utilize a GPS based application to connect medical professionals and ambulances with patients for house call clinical services. Ethan Healthcare is developing an application that will connect patients with medical professionals. This project involved developing a funding model that would tap into the diaspora by generating funding that would cover the cost of services for friends and family back in Ethiopia.

    Healthcare Implications of COVID-19 on Countries on the Path to Graduation from Least Developed Country Status

    The WDI healthcare team assessed the health impacts of COVID-19 on the social and economic situation in countries that are on the path to graduation from "least-developed" status. The health impact report forms part of the series of the COVID-19 impact assessments prepared under the aegis of a joint project between the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Enhanced Integrated Framework. The findings of this work were presented to the WTO least-developed countries group in December 2020 and fed into the Triennial Review of the Committee for Development Policy of the United Nations in February 2021.

    Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD): Laboratory Leadership and Management Essentials

    BD and WDI, in partnership with the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), created an 8-part online course for 34 participants from laboratories across Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda based on the curriculum of the in-person APHL Foundations of Laboratory Leadership and Management. The course provides management and leadership skills to laboratory staff via videos, assignments, tests, and office hours. It leverages the ExtendEd portal, a learning management system custom developed by WDI for our education programs. The course represents the first collaboration between WDI’s Education, Healthcare, and Performance Measurement and Improvement sectors.

    Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD): Infection Prevention and Control (Kenya)

    The William Davidson Institute is a collaborative, multi-disciplinary organization. As a result, WDI often engages multiple sector and services teams in our work. The following project undertaken by both our Healthcare sector and Performance Measurement and Improvement service demonstrates our holistic approach.   WDI is working with global medical device company, Becton, Dickinson & Company (BD), to assess the impact of the new program, Infection Prevention and Control, in Kenya. The goal of the program is to strengthen health worker and patient safety through appropriate safe intravenous infusion therapy practices, leveraging BD’s longstanding knowledge and safety-engineered technology designed to reduce the rate of needle-stick injuries in healthcare workers, thus contributing to the prevention of injection-transmitted infections such as HIV and other blood-borne pathogen transmission.

    Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD): Lab System Strengthening – Labs for Life

    The William Davidson Institute is a collaborative, multi-disciplinary organization. As a result, WDI often engages multiple sector and services teams in our work. The following project undertaken by both our Healthcare sector and Performance Measurement and Improvement service demonstrates our holistic approach.   The goal of the program is to support quality laboratory systems which are needed in order to effectively scale-up HIV prevention, care and treatment efforts. WDI’s work includes developing the Monitoring and Evaluation design and implementation plan, and collecting data to measure the impact of the program activities that include Strengthening Laboratory Management Towards Accreditation (SLMTA) training and BD mentorship, in multiple labs across Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and India.

    Identifying Sources of Economic Development Funding for a Digital Health Organization

    WDI is supporting an Africa-based private sector organization with obtaining grant funding to develop its digital health product further to prepare it for use by potential public sector clients. During the first phase of the project, the WDI team identified potential funding sources and captured key information on each to help inform the client's fundraising strategy.

    Hospital Management Education Modules

    WDI’s Healthcare Delivery sector is developing an online pilot program to equip management executives of private hospitals, clinics, and healthcare delivery enterprises in low- and middle-income countries with the skills to improve efficiency through better processes, and to allocate costs more accurately for better strategic and pricing decisions. The program will include modules on Process Analysis and Optimization and Time-Driven Activity-Based Costing. The program will consist of online, asynchronous training for each of the two modules; synchronous remote class sessions via Zoom; and a team-based action learning project based on a real business challenge at the participating institutions. WDI is planning to offer the pilot of this program to private health provider executives in Ghana and Mexico.

    Labotec (South Africa)

    Labotec, a supplier of scientific instrumentation solutions  in sub-Saharan Africa, is interested in exploring entry into oncology diagnostic markets in South Africa. This project identified the most attractive diagnostic markets to enter followed by specific recommendations on partners to work with based on an in-depth analysis of the global providers of this equipment.

    NADB Providing Due Diligence Advisory Services to the North American Development Bank for the Financing of OSME Hospital

    WDI provided due diligence advisory services to the North American Development Bank (NADB) for the potential financing of the construction and operation of a private hospital in San Luis Río Colorado, Sonora, Mexico. This work is helping the NADB assess its first ever financing of a healthcare project. WDI delivered a report to the NADB with findings to assist them in making an informed decision on the opportunities and risks of providing finance. The report summarized WDI’s analysis of various aspects of the business, including operations, management, cost structure, financial projections, risk management, and positioning within the market.

    Primary Care Modeling

    The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Gates Foundation) is making time-sensitive decisions for addressing challenges in primary healthcare, polio eradication and other priority areas. Light-touch research on efficiency and quality of healthcare delivery would add significant value for decision makers as they navigate a range of potential investment and implementation options. Given the quick pace and dynamic context, research should build on existing knowledge and tools, utilize small samples and rely on short feedback loops. To address this need, the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan (WDI) proposed conducting a set of discrete research activities. Each activity draws on WDI’s deep experience applying a business lens to healthcare challenges in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The activities include:
    • Capturing both quantitative and qualitative data related to how problem solving, decision making and “running a business” is done at the district level, to better understand management practices and their effects on healthcare efficiency and quality.
    • Utilizing WDI’s proof-of-concept simulation model to capture the effect of technology and/or process interventions on the efficiency and quality of immunization services in various LMIC healthcare settings.
    WDI research outputs to facilitate data-driven decisions by Gates Foundation staff, grantees and government partners, leading to more efficient and effective healthcare systems, is the primary outcome of the work.

    Sustaining Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) Plus

    WDI is a member of the Sustaining Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) Plus consortium. SHOPS Plus is USAID’s flagship initiative in private sector health. The project seeks to harness the full potential of the private sector and catalyze public-private engagement to improve health outcomes in family planning, HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, and other health areas. SHOPS Plus supports the achievement of US government health priorities and improves the equity and quality of the total health system. SHOPS Plus aims to increase use of priority health services by:
    • Improving the enabling environment for the private health sector
    • Strengthening provision of private sector information, products, and services, resulting in expanded access for underserved populations
    • Increasing effective public-private engagement
    • Sharing innovative, emerging, and tested private sector models.
    • Applying a total market approach
    WDI’s role on the project is to utilize its business expertise in the healthcare sector to support development of market-based analysis and pricing approaches.

    SHOPS PLUS – Private Sector Subcommittee

    The International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) is the largest scientific conference on reproductive health and family planning in the world. WDI co-chaired planning efforts of the newly established private sector subcommittee for the ICFP conference in 2022. The goal of the new subcommittee is to increase the strategic engagement of the private sector beyond the large manufacturing corporations by harnessing the full potential of the private sector and catalyzing public-private engagement. WDI represented the Strengthening Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS Plus), a consortium led by Abt Associates, in the international planning process of the private sector subcommittee and co-chaired with leaders from USAID and Population Services International, Uganda.

    SHOPS PLUS Madagascar Health Enterprise and Innovation Ecosystem Mapping and Development

    Through the Strengthening Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) Plus USAID-funded project led by Abt Associates, WDI developed a Madagascar Health Enterprise and Innovation Directory based on a mapping activity that identified innovative health enterprises in Madagascar, and the partners and types of support available to them. The directory illustrated the types of financial and technical support available to health enterprises, and the partners that provide various types of support. WDI leveraged the insights gathered through the mapping activity to contribute to the development of recommendations that explore how USAID/Madagascar can promote enterprise innovation, leverage private sector resources, and maximize priority health outcomes through financially sustainable health enterprises. WDI provided the SHOPS Plus team in Madagascar with technical guidance related to a business plan competition offered in collaboration with Orange Fab, which supports development of new health enterprises that positively affect low-income populations. The WDI team also developed Health Entrepreneurship basic and advanced training curricula for students at Madagascar’s Faculty of Medicine at the University of Antananarivo.

    Total Systems Effectiveness Gates Investment Support (Global)

    This project created a model to assess the business case for various initiatives/new technologies that will allow investors to understand whether a specific technology or initiative would be appealing to business partners, and, if not currently appealing, to determine how much funding would be needed to make the technology financially appealing to business partners.

    Taxes on Tobacco, Alcohol, and Sugar-Sweetened Beverages in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (Global)

    This work builds on an economic modeling project previously completed for the Global Fund.  WDI is designing and building a Python-based tool for estimating changes in excise tax revenue and product consumption given a change in excise tax rates for tobacco, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverages. It is expected that the tool will be used eventually by a multilateral task force.

    U-M Center for Global Health Equity (CGHE) + Global Health Design Initiative (GHDI)

    WDI is partnering with the U-M CGHE and the School of Engineering GHDI to design a rubric to estimate the probability of success of future commercialization of student-designed technology and devices. During the summer of 2021, a small team used two Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation student-designed devices in a pilot process with an eye toward commercialization of one or both of these devices in a Ghana Rehabilitation facility.

    Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD): Laboratory Leadership and Management Essentials

    BD and WDI, in partnership with the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), created an 8-part online course for 34 participants from laboratories across Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda based on the curriculum of the in-person APHL Foundations of Laboratory Leadership and Management. The course provides management and leadership skills to laboratory staff via videos, assignments, tests, and office hours. It leverages the ExtendEd portal, a learning management system custom developed by WDI for our education programs. The course represents the first collaboration between WDI’s Education, Healthcare, and Performance Measurement and Improvement sectors.

    Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD): Lab System Strengthening – Labs for Life

    The William Davidson Institute is a collaborative, multi-disciplinary organization. As a result, WDI often engages multiple sector and services teams in our work. The following project undertaken by both our Healthcare sector and Performance Measurement and Improvement service demonstrates our holistic approach.   The goal of the program is to support quality laboratory systems which are needed in order to effectively scale-up HIV prevention, care and treatment efforts. WDI’s work includes developing the Monitoring and Evaluation design and implementation plan, and collecting data to measure the impact of the program activities that include Strengthening Laboratory Management Towards Accreditation (SLMTA) training and BD mentorship, in multiple labs across Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and India.

    Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD): Infection Prevention and Control (Kenya)

    The William Davidson Institute is a collaborative, multi-disciplinary organization. As a result, WDI often engages multiple sector and services teams in our work. The following project undertaken by both our Healthcare sector and Performance Measurement and Improvement service demonstrates our holistic approach.   WDI is working with global medical device company, Becton, Dickinson & Company (BD), to assess the impact of the new program, Infection Prevention and Control, in Kenya. The goal of the program is to strengthen health worker and patient safety through appropriate safe intravenous infusion therapy practices, leveraging BD’s longstanding knowledge and safety-engineered technology designed to reduce the rate of needle-stick injuries in healthcare workers, thus contributing to the prevention of injection-transmitted infections such as HIV and other blood-borne pathogen transmission.

    Business & Culture: A Virtual Practicum (USA, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon)

    WDI is a collaborative, multi-disciplinary organization. As a result, it often engages multiple sector and services teams in our work. The following project undertaken by both our Education sector and Performance Measurement and Improvement service demonstrates our holistic approach. The Education sector is implementing Business & Culture: A Virtual Practicum — a classroom-to-classroom, action-learning course on international business cultures that brings together undergraduate students from Egypt, Lebanon, Libya and the U.S., supported by the Stevens Initiative. The course is expected to run four times at the Ross School of Business, starting in Winter 2020. Participants will attend lectures by international faculty, work on interregional teams through synchronous and asynchronous exchange, employ field research methods to learn about one another’s business cultures and create a final project that captures their cross-cultural learnings. The program will equip young people in the U.S. and MENA region with the competencies they need to communicate, problem-solve and collaborate in a global team environment—all essential 21st century skills in an interconnected world. In collaboration with the Education sector, the Performance Measurement and Improvement service is leading the design and implementation of an impact evaluation of the program on students in the U.S., Libya, Lebanon and Egypt. In addition to assessing the impact of the program on student outcomes (e.g. empathy, cross-cultural communication skills, business skills and knowledge), the data will also be used to improve the course and develop generalizable knowledge on how to increase the impact of virtual exchange courses.

    Developmental Evaluation Pilot Activity (DEPA-MERL), Digital Strategy

    Developmental evaluation (DE) was created to evaluate innovative programs that operate in complex environments and are thus expected to adapt over time. The Developmental Evaluation Pilot Activity (DEPA-MERL), developed under the U.S. Global Development Lab’s Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning Innovations (MERLIN) program at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is testing the effectiveness of DE in the USAID context. The DEPA-MERL consortium consists of Social Impact (prime), Search for Common Ground (Search), and WDI. As part of the consortium, Social Impact and Search are implementing DEs while WDI is serving as an evaluator to assess the effectiveness of this approach in the USAID context.

    In early 2020, USAID launched its first-ever Digital Strategy in order to align the Agency’s vision for development assistance with the world’s evolving digital landscape. USAID’s Innovation, Technology, and Research (ITR) Hub, formerly the U.S. Global Development Lab, is responsible for leading the strategy implementation. DEPA-MERL launched a new DE in mid-2020 to support up to four of the Strategy’s 15 implementation initiatives by providing insights into how the initiatives work within their teams and with each other as well as timely input for decision making. For the first time at USAID, the Developmental Evaluator is being embedded remotely into the initiatives due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The WDI team also conducted an analysis across the three DE pilots that occurred during the first five years of the MERLIN award. The report, Advancing the Use of Developmental Evaluation: A Summary of Key Questions Answered during a Multiyear Study of Developmental Evaluations Implemented at USAID, shares findings and lessons learned across the experiences to facilitate learning from the implementation of DE in the USAID context.

    To learn more about the previous pilots or to access guidance the consortium has developed for organizations, managers, and evaluators that seek to implement the developmental evaluation approach please go here.

    G-Search

    The Gender-Smart Enterprise Assistance Research Coalition (G-SEARCh) comprises a group of six like-minded impact investors: AlphaMundi Foundation, Acumen, SEAF, Root Capital, AHL Venture Partners and Shell Foundation, working to help scale purpose-driven businesses and gender lens impact investing for more sustainable and inclusive economies through actionable evidence, fostering dialogue and collaboration across sectors. As part of this effort, the William Davidson Institute’s (WDI) Performance Measurement and Improvement team will develop and execute robust research to generate evidence on improvements in the financial and social performance of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that receive gender-lens investments and incorporate gender-smart activities across their business processes. The goal of this research is to provide knowledge and lessons to SMEs as they seek to become more inclusive and gender-equitable, and to impact investors, as they allocate resources to gender-smart interventions and approaches so that impact investing becomes a tool for gender transformation. The consortium has released the G-SEARCh tested tools & approaches for gender lens investing as its first product.

    Mathematica – Measurement, Learning and Evaluation in the Nutrition Sector (Africa, Asia)

    Under this project, WDI is collaborating with Mathematica to support efforts by a global health organization to enable innovation across the value chain and disseminate learnings about sustainable business models in low- and middle-income markets. Supporting an ambitious learning agenda, WDI has helped develop a comprehensive MLE framework to support achievement of strategy goals for a portfolio of projects seeking to improve the nutritional status of low- and middle-income consumers in Africa and Asia. In addition, WDI has led the documentation and assessment of business model innovations tested by private sector partners and their impact through the development of comprehensive case studies and other knowledge products designed to stimulate replication of successful approaches in other markets.

    Primary Care Modeling

    The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Gates Foundation) is making time-sensitive decisions for addressing challenges in primary healthcare, polio eradication and other priority areas. Light-touch research on efficiency and quality of healthcare delivery would add significant value for decision makers as they navigate a range of potential investment and implementation options. Given the quick pace and dynamic context, research should build on existing knowledge and tools, utilize small samples and rely on short feedback loops. To address this need, the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan (WDI) proposed conducting a set of discrete research activities. Each activity draws on WDI’s deep experience applying a business lens to healthcare challenges in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The activities include:
    • Capturing both quantitative and qualitative data related to how problem solving, decision making and “running a business” is done at the district level, to better understand management practices and their effects on healthcare efficiency and quality.
    • Utilizing WDI’s proof-of-concept simulation model to capture the effect of technology and/or process interventions on the efficiency and quality of immunization services in various LMIC healthcare settings.
    WDI research outputs to facilitate data-driven decisions by Gates Foundation staff, grantees and government partners, leading to more efficient and effective healthcare systems, is the primary outcome of the work.

    Biomass Gasification Scale-Up and Commercialization

    WDI is supporting commercialization of gasification technology, which generates renewable power and organic fertilizer/biochar from agricultural waste. With a grant from the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Innovation Hub for AgBio at Michigan State University, WDI will work with Jose Alfaro, assistant professor of practice at U-M’s School for Environment and Sustainability and WDI Research Fellow. As part of the project, WDI will complete market studies for the initial markets of Costa Rica and Michigan, support advancements in the engineering and design of a commercial-scale product, and initiate commercial agreements with partners and customers.

    Wind Energy Market Entry in Brazil and South Africa

    WDI is supporting the growth of BLP's renewable energy portfolio in Brazil and South Africa. In early 2021, a Ross MAP team identified Brazil as a high-potential market to expand BLP's wind energy artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things (IoT) products. WDI is further developing a market entry strategy and identifying specific opportunities for Brazil, as well as conducting market analyses to determine the landscape for wind and other AI and IoT technology opportunities for BLP in South Africa.

    International Investment Fund (India)

    In 2019, Ross School of Business kicked off the International Investment Fund, a WDI supported initiative. As part of that effort, WDI worked with students and faculty from Ross to establish the protocol, review the legal requirements from both U.S. and Indian perspectives, and completed an initial round of due diligence. In 2020, the fund continued by conducting due diligence, providing support to firms interested in becoming investment ready and investigating future opportunities for investments. Some of the SMEs are located in the state of Tamil Nadu, India and are affiliated with Poornatha (a MADE partner). The fund is now looking at ways to expand to other countries.

    Vittas International

    Vittas International is a Fintech company founded in 2019 with the goal to bring transparency to the lending ecosystem in Nigeria by providing lenders with a tool to better assess the credit risk of potential borrowers. To effectively accomplish this goal, Vittas wanted to learn from global competitor(s) and other adjacent financial services companies that have succeeded and failed in similar technology-driven endeavors. The project scope included conducting a competitive analysis of Fintech products and business models and providing Vittas with insights and recommendations. To overcome challenges related to raising capital for debt financing, Vittas wants to set-up a digital bank. The project scope included identifying the process of setting-up a digital bank and developing an implementation plan for Vittas.

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