Current Projects

Paul Clyde speaking during Juarez press conference

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.

    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 implemented Business & Culture: A Virtual Practicum — a classroom-to-classroom, action-learning course on international business cultures that brings together undergraduate students from Egypt, Libya and the U.S., supported by the Stevens Initiative. The course ran five times at the Ross School of Business, starting in Winter 2020. Participants attended lectures by international faculty, worked on interregional teams through synchronous and asynchronous exchange, employed field research methods to learn about one another’s business cultures and created a final project that captured their cross-cultural learnings. The program equipped young people in the U.S. and MENA region with the necessary competencies to communicate, problem-solve and collaborate in a global team environment—all essential 21st century skills in an interconnected world. The Education sector collaborated with the Performance Measurement and Improvement service, which led 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 was used to improve the course and develop generalizable knowledge on how to increase the impact of virtual exchange courses.

    MADE (India, Kenya, Vietnam)

    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 and provides other support to EDOs that is based on the EDOs’ needs. 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)

    MADE supported the Poornatha team to develop a B2C Sales & Marketing Strategy. The MAP team provided Poornatha with recommendations on the entrepreneur-type to target including product bundling and pricing. Poornatha is already successfully operating in the B2B segment where it serves clients of India Bank and operators of retail electronic outlets through its ‘Empower’ training program. To date, Poornatha has trained over 1,700 SME owners across 9 states in 7 different languages in India.

    Korn Rise (Vietnam)

    Working with a new potential partner, a team of MBA students developed a market entry strategy for starting an EDO in Vietnam as part of the MADE network in partnership with Poornatha. The students also conducted a financial analysis and market analysis to identify potential market opportunities and include financial projections with the strategic plan.

    CIPE Bahrain — Economic Diversification and Access to Finance in Bahrain

    The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), WDI, and Tenmou (a Bahrain-based angel investor network) and a consortium of U.S. and Bahraini stakeholders collaborated to strengthen the Bahraini entrepreneurial ecosystem through encouraging investment, advancing business growth for Bahraini startups and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs); and increasing access to finance and strengthening the Foreign Trade Agreement-based US-Bahraini commercial relations. Under this project, which is funded by the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) of the U.S. State Department, WDI supported Tenmou with the delivery of a mentorship program, which matched two cohorts of 25 Bahraini MSMEs with a mentor. Mentors provided their mentees with one-on-one guidance over four months. At the end of each cohort, a select number of SMEs participated in a pitch night where they pitched their business to a panel of investors. WDI trained the mentors on how to work effectively with their mentees through a mentorship toolkit, short videos, and live webinars with a mentorship expert. Based on learning from the program, WDI published an article on NextBillion: “Seven Keys to Successful Business Mentorship Programs: How Entrepreneur Support Organizations Can Maximize Their Impact.” Through WDI Publishing, WDI developed two business cases featuring entrepreneurs from the program, appropriate for adoption in both entrepreneurship training programs in non-academic settings and university courses. WDI led two virtual training sessions on gender lens investing (GLI). The sessions focused on inspiring Bahraini investors to promote gender equity and integrate gender considerations into their investing approach, as well as how to apply a gender lens to business operations and understanding financial gains of different GLI strategies. WDI also participated virtually in two training sessions on FinTech which focused on: 1) advantages of utilizing FinTech to advance business growth and 2) returns on investing in the FinTech sector and digitization.

    Ford Fund Fellows

    WDI created an 8-week online course: Starting a Business: Your Entrepreneurial Journey. The pilot program ran in April-May 2023. The course consisted of live training sessions, guest talks, short videos, online quizzes, and a capstone project in which participants worked in teams to conceptualize and pitch a new business via a video. The video was then judged by the program mentors and winning teams received a special certificate. The pilot program had 88 participants from nine countries.

    FPT School of Business & Technology (Vietnam)

    WDI is partnering with the FPT School of Business & Technology’s business school, FPT, on a new general management certificate program: the Advanced MiniMBA program. The program is running in the fall of 2024 and combines online instruction with in-person training in Vietnam. Topics covered are competition, marketing, finance, strategy and leadership.

    NGO Leadership Program (Poland)

    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 strategic planning, resource mobilization, resilience and digital security to help NGOs run more effectively and sustainably. The fall 2024 NGO Leadership workshop will be held in October in Warsaw.

    NGO Leadership Program (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 workshop in Slovakia covers marketing, strategic planning, entrepreneurship, fundraising and management to help NGOs run more effectively and sustainably. In 2024, the spring NGO Leadership workshop will be held in June in partnership with Bratislava-based partner, Hekima. Twenty five participants will come from Ukraine. Supplementary online modules on topics including leadership, social media marketing, and conflict resolution will be available to participants.

    Seminarium

    WDI partners with Seminarium, one of Latin America’s leading training providers, on four-day virtual programs in the areas of leadership, human resources management and marketing.

    SSE Riga

    WDI’s flagship mini-MBA certificate program, delivered in partnership with Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, is now being offered in a flexible, hybrid format. It includes a blend of synchronous and asynchronous online and face-to-face instruction at SSE Riga. The Strategic Management Programme features six modules which equip participants with a cross-functional approach to business. The program offers access to world-class professors who will share global best practices in the areas of marketing, strategy, financial management, and leadership. It features lively discussions around global management trends and ample opportunity to explore the challenges that participants face every day in their businesses. The program is offered in the spring.

    Technological Institute of the Philippines (T.I.P.)

    T.I.P. is a technological institute that provides education and has a unit that engages with the private sector in developing new technologies. WDI is collaborating with T.I.P. to develop a strategic roadmap for commercializing technologies produced through funded research and special projects. The commercialization plan will guide researchers in their initiatives along technology transfer. A team of MBA students performed a market analysis of two technologies and began an overview of the commercialization process within T.I.P. A second team did a deep dive into programs and courses, then developed recommendations for how to improve the commercialization process.

    Clean Cooking Alliance Market Systems Learning Partner

    WDI is supporting the learning objectives of the Clean Cooking Alliance Market Strengthening Program by developing innovative methods to measure the effectiveness of market strengthening interventions. We are providing programmatic and data support, informing programmatic adaptations and pivots, and contributing to knowledge products targeting clean cooking enterprises, funders, policymakers and other stakeholders.

    Clean Cooking Alliance Irish Aid

    WDI collaborated with the CCA Market Strengthening Program to generate learnings from projects supported by Irish Aid. This work entailed collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data from projects in CCA's Venture Catalyst Program and User Insights Lab. The Energy team worked with the PMI team to synthesize findings across projects based on key learning questions.

    Chihuahua Charging Forward (Mexico)

    WDI is collaborating with the Secretaría de Innovación y Desarrollo Económico (SIDE), Frente Norte and Instituto de Innovación y Competitividad (I2C) of the State of Chihuahua in Mexico to help cement their position as a leader in the transition to e-mobility. This project includes initiatives to help connect industry leaders with opportunities related to the EV value chain, document e-mobility innovations by local companies, and prepare the talent pipeline for EVs in Chihuahua via collaborations with key stakeholders based in Michigan and in select low and middle-income countries.

    Wind Energy Market Entry in Vietnam

    WDI continues to expand the company’s wind energy artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things (IoT) products to extend operations in other geographic markets. WDI is working with connections in different countries to identify specific opportunities for Vietnam.

    Distributed Fertilizer (South Africa, Rwanda)

    Building on frameworks developed in other markets, we continued working on the market analysis for a new technology to produce ammonia for fertilizer in a small-scale, distributed way using renewable energy. We have also been assisting the researchers in developing a new company that will take the product to market.

    Zero-Emission Vehicle Academic Partnership

    With support from the U.S. Mission Mexico Public Diplomacy Section, WDI is implementing an academic partnership focused on vehicle electrification training, research and innovation to support higher education institutions in Chihuahua, Mexico. Through the partnership, a select group of faculty in engineering disciplines from the state of Chihuahua will acquire or deepen technical skills related to vehicle electrification technology.

    Busoga Health Forum (Uganda)

    This project is designed to extend the business of an Ethiopian company providing imaging services in Ethiopia to Uganda. The initial work has involved market analysis and working with the different parties on governance recommendations.

    Identifying Sources of Economic Development Funding for a Digital Health Organization

    WDI supported an Africa-based private non-profit information technology organization with searching for 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, analyzed them and developed a fundraising strategy. The second phase of the project focused on approaching potential funding sources and introducing the client to potential collaboration partners.

    Clinica de Familia (Dominican Republic)

    Clinica de Familia was established to serve as a comprehensive family care clinic that provides quality care to people throughout La Romana province. Over the past year, work with DR has focused on potential revenue generating models that could be used by CdF to support its overall cost structure. The first project developed recommendations on imaging equipment. The second focused on the profitability of a gastroenterological clinic and a third looked at adding dental services to the new clinic.

    Grip Forté Hand/Wrist Rehabilitation Device (Ghana)

    WDI is partnering with the U-M School of Engineering’s Global Health Design Initiative, the Aerospace Engineering department and a doctor in Ghana to iterate on a design of a hand rehabilitation device with an eye toward commercialization in a Ghana Rehabilitation facility. The latest prototype was produced using 3D printing and the new “Grip Forté” is currently being field tested in Ghana. The team is expanding the project building a 3D printed PETG recycling device.

    Global Fund – National Strategic Plans, Performance for Results

    The Global Fund works closely with countries to help them achieve long-term sustainability of health programs so they can maintain progress and continue to expand services after Global Fund support ends. WDI provided ad hoc support to Global Fund teams working with countries. Examples of this support include estimating the costs of providing specific types of services and developing frameworks that countries can use as they prepare to transition away from donor support.

    Global Fund – GeneXpert

    WDI conducted a review for the Global Fund with the goal of leveraging ongoing Diagnostic Network Optimization initiatives, as well as performance metrics in selected countries and other existing data sources on investments in GeneXpert technologies, to support robust cross-country comparisons, and develop a conceptual framework for addressing cost efficiency questions for multi-disease integrated testing platforms. The work entails developing a Theory of Change that recognizes the complex relationships between cost-efficiencies and other components of the Global Fund’s Value for Money concept, including effectiveness, equity and sustainability.

    Global Fund – Market Shaping

    The Global Fund plays a significant role in global markets for health products related to HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria, both as a financing institution and by negotiating procurement terms for a portion of the health products that it finances. To support the Global Fund’s Health Finance Department in its work with Supply Operations, WDI used the Global Fund’s influence as a major purchaser of HIV, TB and malaria commodities to collaborate with suppliers, research institutions and external partners to analyze pipelines, create incentives and apply strategic purchasing to drive down the price and drive up the quality of key commodities.

    Hospital Management Education Modules

    WDI’s Healthcare Delivery sector is offering an online 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 includes modules on Process Analysis and Optimization, Time-Driven Activity-Based Costing, and Healthcare Supply Chain. Modules on Cost Management and Control, and Due Diligence are in development. The program consists 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. To date, six hospitals from Mexico, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and Pakistan have participated in the courses. They are: Nyaho Medical Center, Ghana; Grupo OSME, Mexico; Evercare Hospital Lekki, Nigeria; AfyA Care, Nigeria; Avenue Healthcare, Kenya; and Evercare Hospital Lahore, Pakistan.

    International Finance Corporation, Africa Medical Equipment Facility

    The Africa Medical Equipment Facility (AMEF), launched by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and supported by the government of Norway, connects lenders and medical professionals to improve the availability of medical equipment across Africa. The program has three pillars: 1) financial risk-sharing for banks, 2) training for lenders, and 3) training for leaders of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) focused on healthcare. The funding is focused on increasing essential healthcare investments in the region, while the training for lenders and healthcare SMEs was developed to ensure a smooth process. IFC has engaged WDI to deliver AMEF training courses to both client financial institutions and healthcare focused SMEs in Côte d’Ivoire.

    International Center for Rehabilitation (Ghana)

    The International Center for Rehabilitation (ICR) is a new rehabilitation clinic in Kumasi, Ghana opened by Dr. Abena Tannor, the first practicing physical medicine and rehabilitation physician in Ghana. This project focused on research related to the commercialization of a hand rehabilitation device and viability of setting up a 3D printing facility.

    Kisii Hospital Vision Center (Kenya)

    Develop a protocol for establishing seven Vision Centers around Kisii and develop recommendations on location of Vision Centers. Kisii Eye Hospital is also expanding into Kisumu with a second hub hospital. A second project this year is designed to put together an execution plan complete with financial and market analysis for the Kisumu market.

    OSME Board Seat (Mexico)

    WDI’s Senior Director of Healthcare Delivery, Ioan Cleaton-Jones, is an independent director on the board of Grupo OSME in Mexico. OSME is constructing a new private hospital in the city of San Luis Río Colorado in Northern Mexico. OSME currently operates a large medical clinic that offers primary care, 24-hour urgent care, medical imaging, selected specialist consultations, and a pharmacy.

    Poovanthi (Livewell) (India)

    Poovanthi is a rehab facility that was started over 10 years ago. At that time, WDI supported work on developing the business plan. This year, WDI supported a team of MBA students in developing a five year strategic plan to support Poovanthi’s expansion plans. In addition WDI had an MBA student work at Poovanthi for the summer to determine unmet medical needs that may be addressed with engineering solutions. This is in partnership with the College of Engineering.

    Shifa International Hospitals Board Seat (Pakistan)

    WDI’s Senior Director of Healthcare Delivery, Ioan Cleaton-Jones, is an independent director on the board of Shifa International Hospitals (Shifa), which is publicly listed on the Pakistan Stock Exchange. He was nominated to the board by the International Finance Corporation, which owns 12% of Shifa. Shifa’s flagship operation is the 550-bed Shifa International Hospital, an advanced teaching hospital treating complex medical conditions, located in Islamabad. This hospital is one of only four in Pakistan that are quality accredited by Joint Commission International (JCI), the international arm of the US Joint Commission which does quality assurance in US hospitals. It also serves as the teaching hospital for the private, nonprofit Shifa Tameer-e-Millat University, which has colleges of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, medical technology and other healthcare-related disciplines. Additionally, Shifa has a second hospital in the city of Faisalabad, with another under construction in the same city. It also has outpatient medical centers, medical labs and pharmacies.

    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 implemented Business & Culture: A Virtual Practicum — a classroom-to-classroom, action-learning course on international business cultures that brings together undergraduate students from Egypt, Libya and the U.S., supported by the Stevens Initiative. The course ran five times at the Ross School of Business, starting in Winter 2020. Participants attended lectures by international faculty, worked on interregional teams through synchronous and asynchronous exchange, employed field research methods to learn about one another’s business cultures and created a final project that captured their cross-cultural learnings. The program equipped young people in the U.S. and MENA region with the necessary competencies to communicate, problem-solve and collaborate in a global team environment—all essential 21st century skills in an interconnected world. The Education sector collaborated with the Performance Measurement and Improvement service, which led 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 was used to improve the course and develop generalizable knowledge on how to increase the impact of virtual exchange courses.

    Clean Cooking Alliance Market Systems Learning Partner

    WDI is supporting the learning objectives of the Clean Cooking Alliance Market Strengthening Program by developing innovative methods to measure the effectiveness of market strengthening interventions. We are providing programmatic and data support, informing programmatic adaptations and pivots, and contributing to knowledge products targeting clean cooking enterprises, funders, policymakers and other stakeholders.

    Clean Cooking Alliance Irish Aid

    WDI collaborated with the CCA Market Strengthening Program to generate learnings from projects supported by Irish Aid. This work entailed collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data from projects in CCA's Venture Catalyst Program and User Insights Lab. The Energy team worked with the PMI team to synthesize findings across projects based on key learning questions.

    DAI MSP ROI Tool

    United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Feed the Future Market Systems and Partnerships activity, which is led by DAI seeks to build the evidence base for the return on investment (ROI) of women’s empowerment in low- and middle-income countries. WDI is leading ROI calculations for case studies of women empowerment efforts conducted by three businesses. The case studies are being led by MarketShare Associates.

    Developmental Evaluation Pilot Activity (DEPA-MERL)

    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 the William Davidson Institute (WDI) at the University of Michigan. 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.

    Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Support for the Kenya Climate Innovation Center’s Sustainable Waste Innovation for a Future in Transition Program (2024-2027)

    WDI is collaborating with the Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) on the Sustainable Waste Innovation for a Future in Transition (SWIFT) program, a three-year incubator and accelerator program targeting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the waste management sector in Kenya. Funded by the IKEA Foundation, the program’s primary objective is to transform the waste management sector through innovative business models that embrace the principles of circular economy. The SWIFT program will support 110 SMEs from across the country through business advisory services, technical assistance, mentorship and access to finance, and by fostering an enabling environment through advocacy and policy support. WDI's role is to design an impact measurement strategy, essential for evaluating the program's effectiveness. WDI will also develop the research design, sampling strategy, surveys, and analysis plan. During this project, WDI will strengthen KCIC staff’s measurement capabilities while actively learning about the waste management and climate change context in Kenya. WDI will conduct the data analysis and identify statistically significant program impacts. These efforts will culminate in the production of detailed reports at baseline and end-line phases, encapsulating key findings. These insights will also support KCIC.

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