VisionSpring’s early work involved training local people, or vision entrepreneurs, to conduct outreach and sell quality, low cost eyeglasses in their communities. Despite the clear need for basic eye care in these communities, the vision entrepreneur model soon proved unsustainable in isolation, with limited potential for scale. VisionSpring recognized that in order to maximize access to this underappreciated tool for socio-economic development, we needed to create businesses that would
eventually scale with a blend of commercial, impact, and philanthropic investment. Accordingly, VisionSpring refined our interventions to incorporate the successful elements of the vision entrepreneur based model into a hub and spoke approach where VisionSpring optical shops operate as hubs and vision entrepreneurs act like spokes conducting outreach in the communities surrounding the optical shops.