D-Lab Scale-Ups

Bringing poverty-alleviating products and services to market at scale.


2012 Scale-Ups fellow Tish Scolnik (right) of the GRIT Leveraged Freedom Chair.


Scale-Ups Solar Lantern Fiedl Evaluation (Morocco).


Member of the Practical Impact Alliance in the D-Lab workshop.

Launched in 2011 by D-Lab, the Scale-Ups program assists social entrepreneurs from MIT and the developing world, as well as nongovernmental organizations and corporations, to bring poverty alleviating technologies to market at scale. 

D-Lab Scale-Ups Initiatives

The MIT D-Lab Scale-Ups Fellowship offers one year of support to social entrepreneurs bringing hardware-based, poverty-alleviating products and services to market at scale.

Alumni of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the International Development Design Summit are eligible to apply. Scale-Ups Fellows receive a $20,000 grant, a tailored set of assigned mentors, skills-building, an annual conference, webinars, tailored resources, and networking opportunities.

Through the Scale-Ups Research and Development initiative, the program is leveraging D-Lab’s expertise in needs assessment, technology development, and evaluation in responding to the strategic needs of our partners to create social and economic value. The primary focus is on projects with potential for large-scale implementation through partnerships with organizations that have a wide reach in resource-poor settings. 

- Biomass Fuels & Cookstoves Group
- Off-Grid Energy Group
- Agriculture and Water 

In addition to these research foci, D-Lab Scale-Ups supports the Lean Research initiative and funded D-Lab's User Research Framework.

The Practical Impact Alliance fosters collaborative action and shared learning among a community of change-makers from within leading business, social and academic actors. By bringing these independent actors together, PIA aims to catalyze change within organizations, generate and disseminate useful knowledge, create practical innovation, and enable effective implementation of market-driven solutions to poverty.

Through a suite of activities facilitated by MIT D-Lab, member organizations can increase their individual and collective impact – all while leveraging and supporting the work of MIT programs focusing on global poverty alleviation.

First organized by D-Lab Scale-Ups and colleagues at MIT in 2012, the annual MIT Scaling Development Ventures conference brings together exciting perspectives from the international development and business communities to examine the best way to bring poverty-alleviating solutions to market at scale.

Each year, the conference has brought together nearly 300 people from around the world to discuss the issues vital to scale social enterprises. Conference partners have included the MIT Public Service Center, the MIT Media Lab, the International Development Innovation Network, the Comprehensive Initiative on Technology Evaluation, and the MIT Legatum Center. 


D-Lab Scale-Ups is made possible by a generous gift from Community Jameel. Community Jameel is the community Services arm of the ALJ Group, which is a Toyota automobiles distributor in 13 different countries.