The MicroConsignment Model

The MicroConsignment Model is a form of microfinance that eliminates financial risk for micro-entrepreneurs, empowering them to embark on the unknown venture of marketing a new technology for the first time.  In this way, it becomes a tool to create access in marginalized communities to products, services and technologies that have measurable economic, environmental or health-related benefits. By tapping into existing networks of local entrepreneurs, training them for the work and “lending” them products through MicroConsignment, we can provide critical services and create supply chains for high-impact products that reach even the most remote communities - the so-called “last mile” towns and villages of the developing world.

MicroConsignment in Practice

In each of the countries where Social Entrepreneur Corps works, our sister organization Community Enterprise Solutions (CES) is on the ground implementing the MicroConsignment Model as a principal backbone of their work.  In Guatemala, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic, CES is in the process of incubating local social businesses that each in their respective countries go by the name Soluciones Comunitarias (SolCom). Year-round, CES and local SolCom leadership are training MicroConsignment entrepreneurs, distributing products, building relationships in communities, and creating access to key technologies such as reading glasses, water filters, and solar lamps.  With Social Entrepreneur Corps, you have the opportunity to join our team for a time to support the growth and development of this work.

Grassroots Consulting

As part of our outreach efforts to create access in communities through the MicroConsignment Model, our local team on the ground builds relationships with other businesses, nonprofits, and local community leaders and associations.  In this process, we encounter many opportunities for collaboration and seek to create social impact by empowering these partners and supporting them in their own work.  With Social Entrepreneur Corps, we provide local individuals, entrepreneurs, organizations and small businesses with consulting services, educational talks, resources and/or information to help them achieve their respective missions more effectively.

Pioneering Social Innovations

To enrich the work we do with the MicroConsignment Model, we are constantly looking for new ways to engage with communities and build on the relationships our microentrepreneurs form. These are some of the social innovations we’re developing right now, with support from Social Entrepreneur Corps interns.

Smart Vision Labs

This year, we are excited to announce that our co-founder and President, Greg Van Kirk, is now Director of Social Venture for startup Smart Vision Labs and is participating together with our global team in the implementation of a new technology for giving eye exams.  This device, a hand-held portable auto-refractor, can diagnose vision issues such as myopia and astigmatism.  Its portability and affordability means that eye care and corrective glasses can now become accessible for the first time in many rural areas through vision entrepreneurs.  This is an immense opportunity for social impact, and we are looking to apply the efforts of Social Entrepreneur Corps teams to the development of an implementation plan and supporting strategies and materials.

Impact Schools

For MicroConsignment promotion and access campaigns to villages, there is enormous potential impact that can be created by reaching out to local schools.  We have recently incorporated two new product solutions that make school partnerships even more vital to our work:

  • new high-capacity water filtration systems, capable of providing children with clean drinking water while at school
  • the Smart Vision Labs auto-refractor, enabling us to diagnose and solve vision issues in children for the first time

We need great creativity and ingenuity in our efforts to bring these impactful technologies to schools and make the most of this new opportunity.

Financial Literacy

To invest in one of the products that a MicroConsignment entrepreneur is offering to a community, the client must have first, cash on hand, and second, an understanding of the long-term value of a product that may save them time, money, and effort down the road.  Basic financial literacy classes are a powerful way to empower community members to make thoughtful choices in all areas of life, taking a longer view of their family’s welfare in order to make the next step forward.  Social Entrepreneur Corps and Community Enterprise Solutions have been exploring financial literacy initiatives for some time, but this year we hope to intensify our efforts and outreach.

Community Savings Groups

Group Financed Community Banks (GCB) is a social innovation that builds off the ACAF model created by Ashoka Fellows Salamon Raydan and Jean Claude Rodriguez Ferrera as well as the CrediCapaz work of Social Entrepreneur Corps interns. The mission is to empower individuals who have groups with strong “social capital” to be able to save and borrow using the economic resources that already exist in their communities. This strategy removes the micro credit intermediary and gives communities control over their own financing structures and terms.

Your Role

We weren’t just interns doing busy work. We had the opportunity to mold our work and make real contributions. When we had ideas, we were taken seriously. You can make as big of an impact as you want. It’s interesting: the creators of the MicroConsignment Model set out to create access to opportunity for rural women, and by some fortunate accident, they ended up creating access to opportunity for college students as well. Seize it.

- Craig M., Duke University, Nicaragua

Our mission is to provide you with the knowledge, experience, skills and ongoing support necessary to work to empower marginalized individuals, families and communities in Guatemala, Ecuador,  Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic.

You may ask yourself, “Can I make really make a difference?” The answer is, “You most certainly can!” The Social Entrepreneur Corps leadership team is laser-focused on empowering you to be able to empower others. Read below about the “tools” you bring to the field as a part of our team helping people to build a better future for themselves.

Needs & Feasibility Analyses

You help us to understand the dynamic of real, perceived and felt community needs through research, observation, surveys and informal conversations. You learn how to ask the right questions, in the right way. And then you listen, record what you learn and communicate your conclusions to our team.

Innovation Design

You help us to modify and design appropriate, dignified, systematic and scalable solutions. Whether it’s a new way to reach and educate people, or an innovative technology with measurable impact, it should empower community members to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families.

Capacity Building

You will deliver workshops, facilitate trainings and work one-on-one with local constituents and beneficiaries, providing them with critical skills, knowledge and tools that were previously inaccessible.

Scaling Impact

When we find a social innovation that works, we want to scale our impact by teaching it to others. You play a critical role by reaching out to organizations and communities so that we can share our best practices.


Can we do better? You’ll find out by talking with individuals, families, communities and organizations that we support. You will help us to better understand what’s working, what’s not, and how we can improve.

Highlighted Recent Work

Declaro Mis Derechos Brochure
Declaro Mis Derechos BrochureDominican Republic
Participants created a promotional brochure for families seeking to declare their children in the DR.
Solar Lamp Girasol Info Sheet
Solar Lamp Girasol Info SheetDominican Republic
Participants designed a promotional flyer for the new solar lamp product.
Water and Sanitation Manual
Water and Sanitation ManualDominican Republic
Participants created an informational manual to help entrepreneurs promote best practices for hand washing in conjunction with water filter sales.
Shampoo Production
Shampoo ProductionEcuador
Participants designed a shampoo production manual to support local artisans in venturing in a new business opportunity.
Nutrition and Hygiene Habits
Nutrition and Hygiene HabitsEcuador
Participants designed a nutrition and hygiene poster to promote healthy habits in rural communities.
Andean Stove Manual
Andean Stove ManualEcuador
Participants created a construction manual to facilitate training and building process of stoves in Ecuador.
Family Impact Profiles
Family Impact ProfilesGuatemala
Participants created informational profiles on families who had previously purchased Soluciones Comunitarias products to determine the impact the purchase had on family wellbeing and savings.
Lema Customization
Lema CustomizationGuatemala
Participants created a customization scheme for the beautiful handwoven textiles allowing potentials buyers to choose from their range of rich natural dye colors.
Feasibility Study New Solar Lamps
Feasibility Study New Solar LampsGuatemala
Participants assessed the potential for the introduction of two new solar lamp models into the product line offered through the MicroConsignment Model.
Abonatura Labels
Abonatura LabelsNicaragua
Participants created labels with product information to better present, inform and improve sales.
Campamentos de Cafe Brochure
Campamentos de Cafe BrochureNicaragua
Participants created a brochure to promote the educational projects the organization is implementing in Nicaragua.
Water Filter Warranty
Water Filter WarrantyNicaragua
Participants created a warranty card to implement a new costumer service tool for clients purchasing water purification systems.’