Project for Sustainable Eye Care addresses sustainability in three ways. First, sustainable from a human perspective, second, a resources perspective, and third, a profit perspective. If the business is to be exist in years to come and adapt to a changing world, it must satisfy these and constantly look for ways to build upon them.
Human Sustainability: Due to the fact that our project requires certain levels of skill, and in some cases certification, one of the most important aspects is that it is feasible to either train someone locally, or partner with current resources in order to produce glasses. In our business plan we are considering various models, but all include working with a local Guatemalan who will run the day to day operation of the business. This allows for the benefit of this business to go both to the customer who is receiving cheaper glasses, and to the local entrepreneur who will be increasing their level of income and status through the business. Like Pedro and his shop, businesses in Guatemala often are family run, and Pedro’s son and other family members work in his machine shop. This business would likely provided at least one family with a stable recurring revenue stream
Resource Sustainability: Currently in San Pedro there are two optometrists who prescribe and sell glasses. We know from talking to one of the optometrists that there is a readily available inventory of lenses and frames that are order from larger companies in Guatemala City. If we choose to set up a storefront model where the entrepreneur prescribed and fit the lenses, it would be very feasible to order directly from local optometrists, thus benefiting another local business at the same time. A possible and more sustainable model to would be to work directly for these local optometrists and to take order directly from them for their lower income customers. Since these businesses want to focus on higher margin customers, it would be beneficial for both businesses to work together using the availability of resources that local optometrists already have in their access to lenses and frames.
Profit Sustainability: While this business will be operated and modeled off of a social business, one of the goals is still for the business to make a healthy profit. Our goal is for a local entrepreneur to make and sell glasses at a price that is as low possible, but at the same time earns them a salary higher than what most local workers make. This will bring benefit to the community because there is currently no supply of prescription glasses available at prices that workers who earn average or below average salaries can afford. At the same time, a local entrepreneur can focus their sales on this underserved market, but still sell glasses at a profit for himself. The overarching goal is that of providing benefit in the form of glasses to the community. This is a socially minded goal, but we believe it can still be done in a profitable way, as long as the local entrepreneur puts our projects main goal ahead of simple producing a profit.