Social Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (SEED) Unit

Social Entrepreneurship, Economic Development, Inclusive Business and Impact Investing

The SEED Unit creates and supports scalable economic development and inclusive business models that utilise business principles and innovative partnerships to help people living in poverty gain the income and assets they need to work their way out of poverty.

Who we are

The SEED Unit is a team of business and international development specialists with experience in developing commercially viable models that enhance growth opportunities for farmers, youth, small business owners and the markets they are involved in. Our work involves the research, development, support and measurement of effective approaches to economic development in emerging markets.

SEED’s work spans small business/entrepreneur financing and development; women's economic empowerment; youth livelihood and employment pathways; agricultural value chain and market systems approaches; social-franchising and marketing; savings and financial inclusion initiatives; and online learning platforms for capacity development and peer-to-peer support.

Our aim is that these approaches are scalable and inclusive of people who are poor so that they can prosper and better care for their children.

Want to partner with us?

Email our team if you would like to know more about partnering with SEED to deliver economic development programs.

Small and Growing Business (SGB) Finance

World Vision and its microfinance subsidiary, VisionFund International, are building upon their existing livelihoods and microfinance programs to address a global gap in the credit market and support those small and growing businesses (SGBs) who demonstrate both high growth and impact potential. VisionFund International will look to identify high-growth entrepreneurs within its existing 1.2 million microfinance clients who require credit beyond the traditional limits of microfinance.

The SGB Finance program will:

  • offer suitable financing between US$4,000 and US$25,000 to help small businesses grow; and
  • facilitate ongoing business coaching that will enable the businesses to achieve their goals, thereby delivering both financial and social outcomes.
Learn more about SGB Finance (pdf)

Business Facilitation

Limited employment opportunities make it difficult for people to earn an income and provide for their families. Business Facilitation supports people in communities supported by World Vision who want to start or strengthen their small business.

Our Business Facilitators deliver business training and coaching, and support collective efforts to create an enabling local business environment.

Learn more about Business Facilitation (pdf).



Local Value Chain Development

Local Value Chain Development helps small farmers sustainably increase their incomes through better engagement with markets and by building relationships with service providers that can help them improve productivity, quality and overcome market barriers.

Learn more about Local Value Chain Development (pdf)


Microfranchising allows community representatives to earn an income by selling products, provides a community with access to a socially beneficial product they couldn't get before, and product providers with a way to gain access to an emerging market in a cost-effective way.

Learn more about Microfranchising (pdf)



Savings Groups

Savings Groups focus on savings as accumulated capital, not credit. They facilitate savings, insurance and credit services in a small-scale and sustainable way to members who are traditionally outside the reach of formal financial institutions. They enable community members to plan ahead, smooth consumption, cope with household emergencies and invest in their livelihoods.

Learn more about Savings Groups (pdf)

Project model Accredited Learning & Support (PALS)

Project model Accredited Learning & Support is an award-winning online community learning approach. It delivers facilitated module-based learning and support to World Vision economic development programming staff based in the field. 

Learn more about Project model Accredited Learning & Support (pdf)

"The eLVCD course notes are like a bible to me" (pdf)

Read more participant testimonials (pdf)


Youth livelihoods

Our youth livelihood work empowers adolescents and youth to become active citizens and equips them to successfully transition into adulthood.

Our multi-dimensional programs target the principal causes that perpetuate economic disadvantage amongst young people.

Learn more about Youth Livelihoods

Meet the SEED team


Mark Harwood - Manager (SEED)

Bachelor of Business Management (Hons), Bachelor of Science in Psychology (Hons), Masters in Social Impact

Mark leads the Social Enterprise and Economic Development (SEED) Unit: a team of specialists who research, design and support the scale-up of economic development, inclusive business and impact-investible approaches throughout World Vision’s programs internationally. Prior to this role, within SEED Mark led the development of an innovative approach to helping Small and Growing Businesses (SGBs) to scale in order to achieve inclusive economic development through improved access to credit and ongoing business coaching.

He also managed the development of the PALS (Project model Accredited Learning and Support) online learning approach to support World Vision employees who are implementing economic development programs in developing contexts globally.

Prior to joining World Vision Australia in 2011, Mark worked with Accenture as a Management Consultant in their Strategy and Change Management division for six years, based out of Australia, Africa and Asia.

Get in touch with Mark




Andy Hunter - Senior Advisor (Market Systems Development)

Bachelor of Business (International Business); Master of International Relations

Andy joined the SEED Unit in November 2013 and his portfolio includes market systems programming across Asia-Pacific, East Africa and the Middle East, designing and supporting market-led interventions that engage the private sector.

He has an international business development background, specialising in entrepreneurial thinking and business modelling. He is highly engaged in his work and draws genuine excitement from using his skills in the development context – working towards market based solutions to fight the causes of poverty.

He moved into international development via UNICEF, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, after having worked in the private sector across Melbourne in his capacity in business development and entrepreneurship.




Lerina Sinaga - Learning Advisor (Online Lead Facilitator)

Bachelor of Business Administration

Based in Indonesia, Lerina has been working with the SEED Unit since 2009. In the past two years, she has primarily focused on developing and supporting the Local Value Chain Development online learning course. She is the lead e-Facilitator who helps, guides and supports course participants from more than 20 countries. 

Before this, Lerina focused on research, design, monitoring development, upscale and evaluation of the Local Value Chain Development and Business Facilitation project models. This work included providing support, advice, mentoring and training to project staff in the Asia-Pacific region and Tanzania.

Prior to joining World Vision, Lerina worked in Indonesia for Tearfund-UK as a Project Coordinator of Small Business Enterprise, and also with Catholic Relief Services and Compassion Indonesia.




Colin Dyer - Senior Advisor (Savings and Loans, Graduation Approach for the Ultra Poor)

Masters of Transformational Development, Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment

Colin joined World Vision in 2015 and was first engaged as the Economic Development Advisor in Timor-Leste and the Pacific region. This position had a geographical focus on this region but interacted closely with the SEED Unit in new opportunity development and the training and equipping of local business entrepreneurs.

He joined the SEED Unit late in 2016, focusing on small- and micro-business development; especially in the areas of financial management and community-based savings and loan groups. As World Vision focuses more intently on the world's most vulnerable children, Colin has now undertaken the challenge of working with the poorest of the poor to build resilience and development through enterprise and meaningful employment. 

Colin has a business background, working as a marketing and development manager and administration manager, but more recently and for nine years was based in the Pacific as the founder and managing director of a substantial social enterprise. 




Kate Williams - Advisor (Youth Empowerment, Women's Economic Empowerment, Economic Recovery)

Bachelor of Business Management, Master of Social Science (International Development)

Kate provides technical support on programs achieving outcomes related to economic empowerment through Youth Economic Empowerment, Women’s Economic Empowerment and Economic Recovery.

She joined World Vision Australia in September 2012, spearheading SEED's work in exploring and prototyping pathways for youth to better engage in economic activities. Between 2012 and 2017, Kate’s work focused on developing holistic approaches to adolescent and youth livelihood programming known as IMPACT Clubs or SKYE Clubs respectively.

Kate was based in Armenia for two years supporting pilots across the Middle East and Eastern Europe region, before transitioning to Cambodia in 2015 to provide focused technical assistance in the South-East Asia region. 

Prior to joining World Vision, Kate worked with a number of NGOs focusing on microfinance, business development and income generation projects in Nepal, Peru and the Philippines. In December 2012, Kate founded a Melbourne-based NGO, The Global Women's Project.




Gordon Chan - Advisor (Social Franchising)

Bachelor of Commerce, Masters of Business Administration

Gordon joined World Vision Australia early in 2017 and works primarily on the organisation’s microfranchising portfolio. He collaborates with external partners to franchise business models that bring socially beneficial products to remote communities and provide employment opportunities to low-income households. In addition to expanding World Vision’s capabilities in this area, Gordon is working to develop and disseminate new innovations in market development. 

Prior to joining World Vision Australia, Gordon worked in Ghana for Engineers Without Borders Canada, providing advisory services to agribusinesses and impact investors as well as developing a new, scaleable approach for low-cost small and medium enterprise consulting.  During this time, he also supported the growth of an incubator for livestock agribusinesses. Gordon also worked at the Roberts Enterprise Development Fund to develop social impact bonds for employment-focused social enterprises and at Deloitte where he advised private, public and non-profit clients as a strategy consultant.




Virginia Gough (Gini) - Learning Advisor (Lead Instructional Designer and Lead Developer)

Masters of International Development, Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, Advanced Diploma of Group Facilitation, Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment

Gini joined World Vision’s SEED Unit in February 2013 and she works alongside livelihoods subject matter experts in designing and facilitating online learning experiences. Complementing her work at World Vision, Gini is also an Associate Facilitator with the Groupwork Institute of Australia.

Prior to joining World Vision, she worked for Oxfam Australia in the role of Organisational Development and Learning Manager and for RedR Australia supporting their experiential learning programs.