First pioneered with door-to-door health workers in Bangladesh, BRAC
cultivated "a network of like minded people from poor communities who are driven to help both their neighbors and themselves. About 5,000 BRAC-trained microentrepreneurs currently work in Uganda. Each is an independent enterprise; BRAC does not pay them wages or salaries, but it does give them the opportunity to make money on their own by reselling goods at a small markup. These entrepreneurs are, essentially, one-person social enterprises whose activities serve a dual purpose: they generate income, and they also reduce the barriers others face on the path out of poverty." - Susan Davis, President and CEO of BRAC USA in MIT's Spring 2012 innovations journal
like this to work, microentrepreneurs must buy products at a price low enough to earn profit on resale margins. If the system is to avoid dependence on external subsidies that might not be there for the long haul, the producer at least has to break even. BRAC’s end-to-end value chain approach includes a system of mass production. BRAC Uganda, for instance, set up its own seed production and processing enterprise early in 2011.
Another organization, LivingGoods
, uses what they call ‘Avon-like’™ Health Entrepreneurs who go door-to-door teaching families how to improve their health and wealth while selling low-cost, high-impact products like simple treatments for malaria and diarrhea, fortified foods, water filters, de-worming pills, clean cook stoves, and solar lights: