While in the M.B.A. program at San Diego State University in the spring of 2010, Jenny Amaraneni had to read a book.
That book — “Out of Poverty” by Paul Polak — aims to spark a revolution against traditional poverty eradication programs, and replace them with a new approach.
Amaraneni admitted she never finished the book.
But she did read Polak’s references to his travels in Africa and his revelation that hardly anyone there who needed eye glasses owned a pair, because they could not afford them.
The same class that required reading Polak’s book also asked students to come up with business ideas based on a social cause.
“So after learning about the need in the book, we had to start thinking of what’s a sustainable way to help people in need of eye care,” Amaraneni said. “So we came up with this concept for the class,” and the idea of SOLO Eyewear was born.
By January 2011, Amaraneni decided the project should be a real-life venture, and enlisted the help of her friend Craig Stern, a fellow SDSU graduate.