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about us



Our leadership team has been innovating solutions for the "last mile" in some of the most resource constraint regions of the world for the past 20 years. Along the way we've created dozens of social innovations, non profits and social enterprises helping to empower local leaders and individuals to create profound social impact in their communities. We've helped to generate over $10 million of economic impact and created jobs for over 1,000 people. We've built models to get healthcare, energy and agricultural solutions to communities for the first time. We've received awards from Ashoka, the World Economic Forum, Levi Strauss & Co. and the University of Notre Dame, to name a few. And we've created experiential learning opportunities for over 3,000 people in 7 different countries working with everyone from high school students to Deloitte and Warby Parker. Last but certainly not least, we're fortunate to have built long-standing relationships with amazing people and organizations in countries from Guatemala to Haiti that have empowered us to work together to create change. 


Article: When Microcredit Won't Do


Greg Van Kirk: Selected 2010 + 2014

2014 Community Parter of the Year


Greg Van Kirk: Selected 2012


Greg Van Kirk: Fellow 2008

Innovation Award Winner

Winner: Leveraging Business for Social Change

Chapter: Using MicroConsignment to Open a Door to Economic Inclusion

Irish Impact: Community Partner of the Year



Greg Van Kirk

Greg is a social entrepreneur, consultant and educator. Over the course of 20 years he’s worked with with a diverse variety of organizations, leaders and communities in the US, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, Suriname, Brazil, Haiti, The Dominican Republic, Bosnia Herzegovina, Serbia, Egypt, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea, South Africa, India and Thailand. 

Greg has designed social entrepreneurial experiences, taught courses and led workshops for thousands of students and professionals. He is the founder of SocialEntrepreneurU, is a former Ashoka Leadership Group Member, is a two-time Ashoka Globalizer Fellow and World Economic Forum "Social Entrepreneur of the Year for 2012 (Latin America)".  Greg is the principal designer of the award-winning MicroConsignment Model, now being applied globally. 

Greg has served as a consultant for organizations such as Levi Strauss Foundation, Solutions Journalism Network, USAID, Chemonics, VisionSpring, Soros Foundation, Church World Service, Inter American Development Bank, Water For People and Fundacion Paraguaya in the US, Latin America, Asia and Africa. He also contributes time as “Social Entrepreneur in Residence” at universities and has taught social entrepreneurship at Columbia University, NYU and Miami University.  He is a senior advisor for the Miami University Institute for Entrepreneurship.


Greg began working in rural small business development as a Guatemala Peace Corps volunteer in 2001. He worked in investment banking for five years before arriving in Guatemala. Two deals he led at UBS during this time won "Deal of the Year" honors from Structured Finance International magazine. He currently lives with his family in New York City. 


Marta Verani

Marta Verani is the Country Director for Ecuador for Soluciones Comunitarias. She first joined the organization in Guatemala where she helped lead two social entrepreneurship and consulting programmes in rural and urban communities. In her current role in Ecuador, she leads Soluciones Comunitarias' efforts in Ecuador to empower local leaders and grassroots organizations to find their way out of poverty through providing skills-training, consultancies, and social entrepreneurship opportunities. She also serves as Global Focal Point at the UN Major Group for Children and Youth (UN MGCY), where she coordinates the migration portfolio and advocates for youth engagement in global and regional policy-making. Her previous experience includes supporting the ECOSOC and 2030 Agenda at UN DESA, and rural development at UNODC Bolivia. She holds an MSc from the London School of Economics in Anthropology and Development Management and a BA from the University of Sussex.


Katie Brickwood

Katie Brickwood is our Country Director for Guatemala, working alongside our local team members of Soluciones Comunitarias as well as our organizational and community partners to bring high impact solutions to local communities. She has a background in social policy, education, community consultation and indigenous advocacy in her home country of Australia and the Pacific. 

Katie is passionate about the role of collaboration within the community sector, and is currently working on the development of a country-wide directory to bring together community-focused organizations across Guatemala and promote greater information and resource sharing as well as project collaboration.

Katie is also an eager traveler who thrives on stepping outside of her comfort zone and learning from meaningful cross-cultural connections, and is a huge advocate of the role of experiential learning in promoting empathy and combating racism. 

Currently residing in Guatemala, when she's not getting high on local coffee beans she can usually be found hiking up a volcano.


Luke Burchell

Luke is a global social innovation leader and he has worked directly with community leaders and families for the last 13 years in Guatemala, South Africa, and Southern Mexico, piloting, collaborating on, and co-creating social innovation programs. He has co-founded a community health program for marginalized communities in Chiapas, Mexico.

Luke is a father to two small children. Despite his love for boxing he recently swapped his boxing gloves for a guitar pick.


Sarah Connel

Sarah is managing It's About the How's social media and production and assisting the team in the development of new projects. She joined Social EntrepreneurU after graduating from Miami University, where she developed and launched the nation's first undergraduate-led social impact fund at Miami University. She established the founding team, partnered with world renowned social impact organizations, developed the impact investing curriculum, and created processes for the fund's deal flow and due diligence. In addition, Sarah elevated the interest and awareness of the region's social entrepreneurial ecosystem as a Communications Intern for Flywheel Social Enterprise Hub.


Sarah studied Marketing and  Entrepreneurship with a focus in Social Entrepreneurship while at Miami University. She received Miami University's Social Impact Entrepreneur Award as well as Miami University's Senior Service Leadership Award. Upon graduation, Sarah has received a certificate in Consulting for Social Entrepreneurship from Columbia Business School Venture for All.

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