We assist economically disadvantaged people around the world to develop opportunities and obtain skills to build secure sustainable futures for their families and communities while improving their quality of life. We do this by helping to improve the organizations that provide microfinance or economic development services. These include social enterprises, financial institutions, microfinance institutions and their national networks, NGOs, for-profits companies, development organizations, cooperatives, and other socially responsible institutions.


A world where everyone has the opportunities to create an abundant life without poverty or injustice.

We Are Entrepreneurs

  • We are a social enterprise – Our main income source is from selling consulting, training and evaluation services
  • We founded 5 financial institutions
  • We have helped create 15 social enterprises that have continued to be sustainable for several decades
  • We have created graduate programs in three different universities
  • We continually assist others to create economically sustainable for-profits or non-profits.
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Current Initiatives

  • Central American immigrants in Mexico
  • Impact Investing– from investors to funds to social enterprises to those who make the impact to evaluating it. We work with all 4 entities to measure and manage impact
  • Evaluations – we have experience with a wide variety of methodologies
  • Work on 9 of the 17 Social Development Goals
  • Providing many consulting and training services

Where We Have Worked

In dozens of countries on 4 continents

  • From Mexico to Mongolia
  • From the Philippines to Peru
  • From South Africa to the Southern US
  • From Egypt to Washington, DC
  • We have worked 30 years consulting in 15 countries in Latin America

Our History

  • Starting in 1975, worked in community economic development, civil rights, racial justice, and community organizing for 13 years in urban and rural distressed communities in 8 states of the southern United States
  • In 1986 began working in Nicaragua, where we worked in development and emergency. We have had consultants, programs and a variety there since then
  • We created the first microenterprise in Nicaragua, TecAp. IDEAS trained 76 youth to install solar rooftop systems and 100 women microfranchisees to solar-powered products
  • Our headquarters has been in Nicaragua and El Salvador and several cities in the US
  • Our team is composed of dedicated associate consultants from many countries

COO Position is open: Seeking a bilingual professional

The Chief Operating Officer (COO) manages the international operations that are the precedent-setting economic development work, impact investing, evaluation, and many other services on this website. The COO helps sell services, does fundraising (donations and impact investment), produces media, and manages consultants. COO coordinates strategy with our CEO. For detailed information about this part-time, flexible position and how to apply, see our jobs page.

Our Core Team

The core team is complemented by a variety of Associate Consultants from countries across the globe. If you are interested, see the information below the description of our team and in Become a Consultant.

Dr. Carter Garber

Dr. Carter Garber, the IDEAS CEO, has 48 years of professional experience in the field of community economic development in developing countries and communities. As an economist, evaluator, and practitioner, he has been an international finance and development consultant and trainer on four continents. Having been an international pioneer in impact evaluation and impact investing, Carter continues to assist investors, investment funds, social enterprises, and organizations at the community level who are creating the impacts.

Full Bio...

Juan GómezJuan Gómez Cruces

Juan Gómez Cruces is a Mexican national who has worked in the Atlanta office of IDEAS for 6 years. He is the Coordinator of International Institutional Relations and has worked with several consultancies, including helping to evaluate an impact investment fund that lends to 6 countries in Latin America and a major consultancy focused on improving a youth entrepreneurship program to be scaled up to 10 countries. He is working on the programs of IDEAS in Central America and Mexico.

Full Bio...

Imelda Torres LopezImelda Torres Lopez

Imelda Torres Lopez, a Nicaraguan, is a key Associate Consultant. She previously worked on staff as the Administrator for the regional office of IDEAS in Nicaragua. She led IDEAS training, market research, evaluations, and consulting services in Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Panama. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Master’s degree in Rural Development at the Polytechnic University (UPOLI) of Nicaragua.

Full Bio...

Gabriel Gaitán ArgeñalGabriel Gaitán Argeñal

Gabriel Gaitán Argeñal, Nicaraguan, is a consultant in microfinance. He studied Banking and Finance at the Baptist Polytechnic University of Nicaragua, along with courses in the specialization of inversion projects. Mr. Gaitán has a Master’s in Business Administration through the Commercial Exterior Program of the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua. He has taken a series of courses related to urban and rural development as well as microfinance.

Full Bio...

Associate Consultants

Associate ConsultantAssociate Consultants are an essential part of IDEAS Team.  With each consulting, evaluating, and training work we perform, we draw upon an international network of highly skilled consultants. For example, in a four-month consulting job in 2021, we used six consultants from three different countries. By design, 75% of our IDEAS consultants and trainers are citizens of developing countries. Of these, 65% have been from Latin America and 35% have been from Africa and Asia. Our preference is that at least 65% are women.One of IDEAS’ objectives is to build additional capacity of these skilled persons in training and technical assistance. IDEAS provides our clients with consultants who are native to the region, speak the local language, know the culture and issues, and are up to date with economic development in the region where they work.  At this time, we are seeking consultants in the fields of impact investing and impact evaluation.  If you have skills in one of the areas in our multitude of services that are described on this website and are interested in exploring being an Associate Consultant, please send a cover letter, a Curriculum Vitae, and a list of the consulting work that you have done. Send it to getinvolved@ideasnet.org  If you are interested, see the information in Become a Consultant.

Find out more about our Associate Consultants