WDI Class of 2015 Summer Interns Head Overseas

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Thirteen University of Michigan graduate students from six University of Michigan schools and colleges have traveled to 12 countries around the world this summer as part of the WDI Global Impact Internship program.

The students are working with private sector companies, global NGOs, social enterprises, and start-ups on a number of different tasks, including developing business and marketing strategies, implementing impact assessments, and improving vaccine and medical care supply-chain challenges in emerging market countries.

The interns are stationed in India, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Zambia, Bangladesh, Mexico and China. They come from the Ross School of Business, the Ford School of Public Policy, the School of Public Health, the School of Natural Resources and Environment, the Department of Economics, and the School of Nursing.

Here are the interns and their projects.

Samantha Madden
School of Nursing

Founded in 1970, Africare is committed to addressing development and policy issues by working in partnership with the people of Africa to build sustainable, healthy, and productive communities. It has delivered more than $1 billion in assistance to tens of millions of men, women, and children throughout all 36 countries across the African continent. Africare centers its development approach on community-led initiatives and partners with local organizations to ensure institutional strengthening and capacity building. Africare began its operations in Zambia in 1978 and has since invested approximately $45M through projects addressing agriculture and food security, community based financial institutions, and maternal and child health, just to name a few.

Madden will work on the Zambian Maternity Homes (ZaMs) project to develop infrastructure to combat disease and reduce child and maternal mortality. She also will make sure investments are sustainable for the long term.

Nancy Kasvosve
Ross School of Business
School of Public Health
Baxter Healthcare

Baxter is a global healthcare company with expertise in medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology. It has been a leader in the healthcare industry for more than 80 years. Baxter’s Business Model Innovation team is one of the centers of expertise and focuses on market development and business model innovation (BMI). The team’s mission is to increase the access to Baxter therapies around the world through disruptive new business models. During 2014, the BMI team partnered with Baxter’s franchises to help define the business strategy for the next 10 years. As part of this process, they needed to prioritize in which countries they wanted to focus their future innovations. Brazil and the renal business have been prioritized in the Latin American region. The BMI team already identified a few possible new businesses in the countries that they would like to develop and would like Kasvosve to lead the development of one of two businesses in Brazil.

She will be responsible for testing business assumptions in the field, analyzing possible partnership in the country, re-vectoring and adapting the business model based on the market insights, and developing a business plan – including financial analysis for the respective business models.

Sharolyn Arnett
Ford School of Public Policy
South Africa

Founded in 2004, the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP), with offices at the University of Pretoria, the University of Stellenbosch, and the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, is made up of 37 public and private sector researchers, analysts and experts who pool their knowledge and research to inform policy and decision-making within South Africa’s food system. BFAP is a multidisciplinary and inter-institutional platform that collaborates with several food and agriculture organizations, and is part of the newly established Regional Network of Agricultural Policy Research Institutes (ReNAPRI).

Arnett will conduct research and write policy briefs for BFAP and ReNAPRI. She also is expected to assist in building ReNAPRI’s capacity.

Surabhi Rajaram
School of Public Health
CARE Bangladesh

CARE works across 87 countries around the world to fight poverty and marginalization. CARE Bangladesh, one of the largest country offices, has been active in Bangladesh since 1949. The WDI internship project is to build on work of existing CARE projects that address critical gaps in skilled human resources by developing private community health care providers.

Rajaram will assist in the design of individual business plans for these pools of local health workers. She will facilitate implementation of an inclusive business model that holds the potential to address those gaps and improve rural health care systems in a sustainable, replicable and scalable manner. She also will work closely with both Health and Private Sector Engagement (PSE) units of CARE Bangladesh.

Rebecca Baylor
School of Natural Resources and the Environment
Ektta and Enable India

Ektta’s vision is to be a capacity builder of social sector organizations by using technology solutions and social outcome measurement frameworks to make an amplified social impact. Ektta works extensively with organizations that not only have their own established history of capacity building internally but also have a track record replicating their process with many other partners. Ektta’s approach is to take this to a new level by significantly incorporating its best practices in to the SoPact platform that measures social impact. SoPact, a partner of Ektta, has developed a platform that allows them to take it to a new organizations working in a same space and seamlessly deploy it in a short time. Ektta has engaged with Enable India (EI) for more than a year. With the help of SoPact, Ektta has developed a new technology platform for EI that will go live before May 2015.

Baylor will work with EnAble India in Bangalore to understand its work, and study and evaluate present data metrics after its new platform implementation.

Carlos Robles
Ford School of Public Policy
Jordan Siegel: Borrowing Law Across Borders
Argentina and Mexico

Companies in emerging economies are held back in their development by the reality of weak and/or incomplete rule of law, and weak and/or incomplete laws about corporate governance. Specifically, weak and/or incomplete laws about corporate governance make outside financiers and technology providers more reluctant to invest their resources as minority investors in companies. As a result, in emerging economies the cost of capital is unnecessarily high, and too few companies receive needed outside investment. One of the possible solutions that Harvard Business School Prof. Jordan Siegel has identified for solving this problem is for companies to voluntarily adopt and follow laws from other countries. Some ways to accomplish this include cross listing its shares abroad, making a new parent company incorporated in a foreign country, and reorganizing -if needed – using U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy laws.

Robles will collect and analyze data that will be helpful to the analysis of using U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy laws as part of the toolkit for overcoming weak and/or incomplete laws in emerging economies.

Diana Callaghan
Ross School of Business
Land O’Lakes – International Development Division

Land O’Lakes, Inc. is a Fortune 500 company and the second largest farmer-owned agricultural cooperative in the United States. The International Development Division (IDD) is part of the corporate social responsibility arm of Land O’Lakes. Since its inception in 1981, IDD has designed and implemented over 280 development projects in 80 countries around the world. The division is currently implementing 30 projects in 19 countries, mainly in Africa and Asia. IDD’s vision is to be a global leader in transforming lives by engaging in agriculture and enterprise partnerships that replace poverty with prosperity, and dependency with self- reliance. In its technical work, IDD places a particular emphasis on generating economic growth, developing and scaling profitable enterprises, enhancing food safety and security, and improving health and nutrition.

Callaghan will focus on accelerating the advancement of agriculture technology and invention-based business from the product prototyping, validation, and piloting phases to the commercial production and scaling phases. This will include facilitating external financial investment in a subset of IGE-affiliated businesses. Callaghan also will work with small and growing agriculture technology businesses in the “missing middle” – businesses that are in the product piloting, validation and preparation for market phases – with the primary goal of helping them become attractive, accessible investment opportunities.

Shukun Ma
Ross School of Business
Nuru Energy

Nuru Energy’s objective is to eliminate the use of kerosene that 2 billion people use for light and which consumes up to 25 percent of their income. Nuru has developed a one-of-a-kind robust and simple-to-use off-grid recharging platform, the Nuru POWERCycle pedal generator & the Nuru Octopus Charger (which accepts both POWERCycle & solar inputs). Its energy platform provides reliable, clean, and sustainable power anytime, anywhere. With the energy produced with just 20 minutes of pedaling or direct sunlight, the system can fully recharge 5 Nuru LED lights (each lasting 18 hours) or up to 5 other USB charged devices, including mobile phones. Nuru recruits Village Level Energy Entrepreneurs (VLEs) who sell Nuru’s LED lights to communities and earn an income from recharging services. By 2018, Nuru aims to set-up 10,000 VLEs providing clean energy to 2 million households.

In 2015, Nuru Energy intends to move beyond traditional funding sources and mobilize both commercial and grant funding via a new Microfranchise Fund that will be set-up by the second quarter of 2015. Potential new funders include corporations and individuals (including African diaspora) who would like to fund development projects, but are not keen on traditional grant-funding models. More emphasis on marketing will be required to support such innovative fundraising from non-traditional sources.

Ma will build upon the efforts of last year’s WDI intern, working to improve Nuru’s online presence and market its business model to potential funders.

Puneet Goenka
Ross School of Business
Seattle, Washington; South Africa; Ghana; Uganda

PATH is an international nonprofit organization that transforms global health through innovation. Our mission is to improve the health of people around the world by advancing technologies, strengthening systems and encouraging healthy behaviors. Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, PATH has close to 1,000 staff members and offices in 24 countries.

Goenka will develop a market strategy and establish the business value proposition for two closely related medical technologies that address maternal and child health needs (i.e. uterine balloon tamponade and mHealth non-invasive anemia screening device) in South Africa, Ghana, and Uganda.

Julio Villasenor
Ross School of Business
The Ihangane Project

The Ihangane Project (TIP) empowers local communities to develop sustainable, effective, and patient-centered health care delivery systems that holistically respond to the needs of vulnerable populations. It envisions a world in which quality health care leads to healthy, inclusive, and empowered communities. TIP has been working with Ruli District Hospital and its seven associated health centers to determine key strategies for improving health outcomes within its community. One aspect of this work includes TIP’s partnership with the William Davidson Institute (WDI) and the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. With the assistance of Ross School of Business student teams and WDI Global Impact Fellows over the past five years, this collaborative effort has worked to identify opportunities to improve communication flow, cost-effectiveness, and financial sustainability of its health care delivery system.

Villasenor will have the unique opportunity to help lay the foundation for TIP’s work over the next 5-10 years by developing a strategic plan that will help it reach its goals. He also will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the impact of all prior projects done by Ross MBA teams and WDI interns. In addition, Villasenor will identify an appropriate business model for fortified porridge production.

Hester Bentil
Ross School of Business
The Market Project

The Market Project (TMP) partners with established care organizations that provide early intervention, basic life skills, and counseling for men and women rescued from trafficking, trauma, and exploitation. Within trauma-informed workplaces launched by TMP, participants are further equipped with transferable skills, robust business training, and mentoring that encourages integration and stability beyond their time in aftercare. The Market Project seeks to launch a number of small businesses offering safe and affirming employment to war-affected women in the Gulu region of northern Uganda. The terrorizing insurgency in Uganda largely ceased in 2008 and the region is experiencing economic growth. The women have been receiving basic training and remedial basic numeracy and literacy training from our care partner in the region. TMP will then offer them basic training specific to production needs. The business will maximize access to local raw materials and human capital. These women will be paid at fair, competitive wages. Over time, these women will be trained in all aspects of production, business development and management, allowing them to assume more and more responsibilities in the business or move on as a better- trained employee with work experience.

Bentil will pursue intensive research on local and regional markets, in-country financial and legal enabling environments, and the export market for the product lines in key U.S. and European cities. TMP expects to replicate this model in other areas.

Michelle Gross
Ross School of Business
School of Natural Resources and the Environment
Sri Lanka

For more than a decade, VeAhavta has sponsored the Grace Care Center (GCC) in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. Grace is a home for about 70 orphans and destitute seniors, and offers daycare services and vocational training. Grace aims to help overcome poverty one child at a time by providing the sense of home and family that had been lost to civil war and disaster. The orphanage is situated on seven acres of beachfront property and is a converted beach resort.

Gross will focus on strengthening VeAhavta and GCC’s financial sustainability by helping the organization develop a business model for generating income to reduce its dependency on international donors and traditional fundraising. She will develop a business plan where tea exports from Sri Lanka will be sold by Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Zingerman’s, a world-renown delicatessen and gourmet food shop. A portion of the proceeds will go toward funding the education of girls at the GCC orphanage. In collaboration with the co-founders of Zingerman’s and VeAhavta, tea farmers, local Sri Lankans, and Gross will work to establish exportation agreements. The young women from GCC will not only benefit from the proceeds of this high- quality product, but will also learn business management skills as they help maintain the quality and consistency of the product exported to Zingerman’s.

Yisi Zhan
College of Literature, Science and the Arts, Master in Applied Economics
Vision in Practice

Vision in Practice (ViP) is a not-for-profit blindness prevention consultancy with a mission of service to humanity through the elimination of avoidable blindness. Vision in Practice assists eye care institutions and professionals in China to provide high-quality, ethical eye care to all regardless of their ability to pay. ViP’s current focus is on well-established and financially viable private eye centers at the “Base of the Pyramid” that are committed to major improvements in their quality, efficiency, reputation, clinical and surgical volume, and capacity to deliver services deep into the community – particularly low-income and poorly served rural areas. In partnership with Aravind Eye Care System of India, ViP provides consulting services for those institutions to transform the quality and productivity of services by embracing an ethical framework, improving management, increasing efficiency and professionalism, creating demand for services, raising the standard of care, and documenting learning. Because of the potential to establish a prototype for delivery of effective ethical care deep into vast underperforming regions of China, ViP felt it is essential that it measures and evaluates the processes that it set in motion in its newest collaboration with Aipu Xiantao Eye Hospital in rural central China.

Zhan will develop and establish a measurement and evaluation regimen centered on a classic impact assessment.

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