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and hear about common scaling roadblocks
and how to overcome them from CASE,
VisionSpring, Evidence Action and Imazon.

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What does it take to scale social impact?

As we seek to create solutions to widespread, seemingly intractable problems, such as poverty and climate change, answering this question is as urgent as ever. To inform the actions of social entrepreneurs and the strategies of funders who support them, the Innovation Investment Alliance and CASE at Duke University created Scaling Pathways. 

The Scaling Pathways series explores the strategies that leading social enterprises have taken to scale their social impact.

The series includes:

  • Pivoting to Impact, a piece that distills critical lessons learned that cut across geographies and sectors and provides information vital to enterprises and funders trying to unlock impact at scale. 
  • In-depth Case Studies that tell the stories of three IIA-funded organizations: their scaling strategies, pivots, successes and failures on the road to scale. 
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The Innovation Investment Alliance (IIA) is a funding and learning partnership between the Skoll Foundation and USAID’s Global Development Lab, with support from Mercy Corps, that has invested almost $50 million in eight proven, transformative social enterprises to scale their impact. Together, we aim to create systems-level change across sectors and geographies and draw out lessons on scaling that are applicable to the social enterprise community and inform the ongoing conversation on how to create sustainable impact at scale.


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Based in Belém, Brazil, Imazon has been working to decrease deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions in the Brazilian Amazon for over 25 years.  Its unique combination of data-backed research, innovative technology tools, and multi-sector partnerships has led to many successes and hard fought lessons learned.

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VisionSpring provides affordable eyeglasses to people in areas that otherwise would not have access. VisionSpring has experimented with different business models through the years – from direct sales to retail to wholesale – resulting in distribution of glasses to over 3.5 million people in 40 countries. Scaling Pathways examines the retail launch in El Salvador, what was learned, and how that’s impacted future scaling plans.

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