Project Impact is guided by the idea and practice of "compassionate enterprise," In the compassionate enterprise model, a business cycles a portion of its profits and services back into the community, while maintaining sufficient resources for ongoing growth and development. Compassionate enterprise understands that profit is a means to an end, not an end in itself. It is a form of enterprise which evaluates itself in terms of its benefits to society, not just its bottom line. This business model seeks to benefit its employees, its customers, its local community and the world at large.
Presently, there are few examples of health care providers that maximize service to clients as opposed to return on investment to shareholders. By creating a business structure that offers affordable health care to people of all economic strata while remaining both sustainable and profitable, Project Impact seeks to create a new economic paradigm that can be followed and adapted by medical companies, governments, and NGO's alike.
Pricing for Affordability
A major feature of Project Impact's mission to achieve financial sustainability in programs that serve the health care needs of the poor is its pricing model. Project Impact uses a global multi-tiered pricing system, under which the higher revenues earned from health care product and service delivery to wealthier countries are used to cross-subsidize the price of service and product delivery to poorer countries. We also employ a multi-tiered pricing model within a given regional market, to take advantage of variation in local paying capacity. This creates a system that is self-sustaining from user fees, while still affordable to all members of society. "Free" is our lowest price-- anyone who needs our products or services will receive them, regardless of ability to pay.
Harnessing the Marketplace
In the newly emerging economies of developing countries, there is a growing proportion of the population who are willing and able to pay for first-world medical technology. An even greater percentage of the population can afford to pay if the costs are lowered through efficient use of resources in a high-volume setting. It is our experience that it is much easier to create a sustainable business model by relying on consumer-generated income than by relying on ongoing "top-down" generosity from governments and large donors. With an initial investment of capital, our projects are soon able to run themselves. Through pricing models that use revenues from sales to higher-income patients to subsidize sales to lower-income patients we are able to insure greater availability of critical health care technologies in developing countries.
Pricing for affordability is critical in light of recent studies which suggest that global inequality is growing worse every day. The majority of the inequality in world incomes is actually reflected in the difference between national averages, rather than in those between individuals. While the gap between national income levels increases, the prices of goods and services exported from high-income countries are also increasing much more rapidly than the prices of goods and services exported by low-income countries. These price trends mean that the majority of the population of poor countries are able to buy fewer and fewer of the goods and services enjoyed by wealthier country populations. The poorer two-thirds of the worlds population therefore suffer a double marginalization: once through incomes, again through prices. Pricing for affordability on both a national and individual level seeks to address and alleviate this additional marginalization.
In its mission and methods, Project Impact follows in the footsteps of Seva Foundation www.seva.org. Seva has helped restore sight to millions in the developing world by making a long-term commitment to working with local partners, by organizing professional training in cataract surgery, by helping create a model of self-sustaining eye care programs, and by arranging for the transfer of the latest technology to support the highest quality cataract surgery. Its work in India, Nepal and Tibet is now being replicated in other parts of the world.