The 10 selected projects
1. Solarcool, Global, Sweden
Using new technology to create inexpensive solar-powered refrigerators
Billions of people are suffering daily from the lack of refrigeration. Refrigeration is important for at least 4 major reasons – storage of food makes food last longer, broadens the availability of nutritional rich food, allows for more effective medicine to be used, frees up time for both education and industrialization. The problem of lack of refrigeration is twofold.
Firstly, many areas of the world lack electricity. Secondly, where electricity is available refrigerators are too expensive. SolarCool has developed an inexpensive solar powered refrigerator based on revolutionary technology. It combines 19th century technology with contemporary century nano-technology to produce a low-cost reliable refrigerator that only needs the sun for power. The SolarCool refrigerator’s unique selling points are: low total cost, high usability, high portability, environmentally sustainable. SolarCool is partnering with world-leading companies that will allow it to produce a 30 litre refrigerator for as low as 5$. With an innovative business plan to deliver refrigeration to industrial applications in parallel with developing refrigerators for a mass market SolarCool can to a large extent be self-financed. While the company will receive the bulk of its initial capital needs from its industrial partners, SolarCool will seek limited funds from external investors.
2 One Earth Designs, SolSource 3-in-1, China
The SolSource 3-in-1 provides clean cooking, heating, and electricity to the world’s poorest 2.5 billion people at a price they can all afford. We began designing this novel solar energy device in 2008 in collaboration with nomadic communities living on the Himalayan Plateau. After ten iterations and numerous field trials under harsh Himalayan conditions, we have begun working with local entrepreneurs in W. China to launch the SolSource 3-in-1, first within the Chinese market, and then globally. The need for this device is profound. More than 1/3rd of the world’s population currently relies on solid biomass—dung, wood, and crop residues—as their primary fuel. The WHO has implicated these fuels in as many as 1.6 million indoor air pollution related deaths annually. For the same reason that these fuels cause high levels of indoor air pollution, they also produce large amounts of greenhouse gases and black carbon, contributing to climate change. Approximately half of the trees cut down in the world every year are used as residential fuel and only a small fraction are sustainably harvested. Finally, low-income women worldwide forgo school and work to collect fuel. This causes women to remain in marginalized and vulnerable social positions. The SolSource 3-in-1 addresses these problems with a simple and attractive solution. The SolSource 3-in-1 is made from local materials using local skills and incorporates design principles from traditional nomadic tents. Many rural people in W. China are excited to see their history and identity embodied in a new technology. Local sales of the SolSource 3-in-1 within China will generate income for local entrepreneurs and service people. International sales of the device will demonstrate how ideas originating in low-income rural communities can provide feasible solutions for global issues. In the short term, two key challenges for the project are raising the initial capital necessary to launch SolSource 3-in-1 devices in the initial market of western China, and finding a trustworthy manufacturer to produce the devices in bulk. In the long term, the key challenge is being able to effectively manage the project and talent across multiple countries and continents.
3 Nuru Energy, Rwanda
Providing an off-grid renewable energy platform to rural families Nuru Energy is a for-profit social enterprise with a dual mission to replace kerosene lamps in developing countries with its own portable, modular lighting system and to provide an offgrid electricity platform for the 2 billion people in the world without access to the grid. Nuru Energy is a for profit social enterprise with the primary mission to provide a clean alternative to the existing sources of energy available to the rural poor. A huge number of people, about 2 billion, or one third of the world’s population, do not have access to the modern energy sources that we in the developed world take for granted. So what do these 2 billion people do for light? They burn kerosene and firewood and by doing so, they subject themselves to harmful fumes, they spend up to a quarter of their monthly income on kerosene, and they expose their children to potential burns and fires. Nuru Energy has developed and is currently delivering a scalable and affordable solution to these problems.
Our renewable energy platform is the POWERCycle, the world’s first commercially available pedal generator. Our belief is that human power has not been utilized to its full potential.
Human power harnessed and converted into electricity is currently powering thousands of lights and mobile phones in the most remote parts of the world that the grid will NEVER touch. The model is working for two reasons: 1) because we have designed an innovative delivery model, a scalable, replicable and lucrative microfranchise that puts a local rural entrepreneur “in-charge” of providing and recurrently recharging customer lights, and 2) because human power is limitless, unrelenting and ubiquitous – just like… the human spirit!
4 Guayaki, Paraguay
Market driven reforestation through canopy agriculture Guayakí produces organic, shade grown and fair trade yerba mate – a powerful rainforest
tree - in the Atlantic Rainforest. Guayaki serves as a bridge linking consumer purchases of yerba mate products in North America with indigenous communities engaged in sustainable agriculture and reforestation projects in Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. The mission is to restore 60.000 hectares with a profit making business model (Market Driven Restoration) and provide 1000 job opportunities by the year 2020. Currently Guayaki is working with 6000 hectares and has become the largest provider of organic yerba mate to the US market during the last 10 years. Without the participation of Guayaki, the growth of organic, shade grown and fair trade yerba mate in new markets will be limited, hence the restoration and community development in the 6000 hectares will be left without an alternatives source of income.
5 Jacinto & Lirio, Philippines
Turning water hyacinth into eco-friendly accessories J&L is a Filipino social enterprise that innovates the water hyacinth through sustainable and eco-friendly means. The material is used to make stylish bags, accessories and even furniture upholstery. Through collaborations with Filipino designers, government and local communities, we aim to form a dynamic synergy that provides livelihood, aids the environment, and innovates products to make a Philippine mark in the global market.
6 KickStart, Kenya, Tanzania, Mali and Burkina Faso
Selling manual water pumps for efficient irrigation 80% of the rural smallholders in Sub-Saharan Africa are dependent on rainfed agriculture,which at the best of times results in a ‘feast-famine’ production cycle that is totally out of line with market demand. Prices for their produce are low when they have something to sell, high when they have nothing to sell and need to buy. Nowadays the effects of climate change compound their difficulties as annual rainfall patterns are disrupted. So they need a practical way to water their crops, all year round, to grow more food and make more money.
In response KickStart has designed a range of very effective human-powered
“MoneyMaker” pressure water pumps ideal for African smallholders, costing between $40 - $100, and distributes and sells them through an extensive network of commercial dealerships in East and West Africa. By ensuring supply of these pumps through market channels and creating awareness and demand for them, KickStart has enabled over 89,000 smallholder farmers using their own resources to set up profitable enterprises that generate over $90 million profit per year and provide employment to over 120,000 people. The potential is enormous. Over 12 million families in Sub Saharan Africa live where these pumps can work and make business sense. KickStart expects to double its impacts in the next 3 years.
7 Gumarabic Fund, Sudan, Chad/Nigeria
Channelling pension money to improve the conditions for farmers in Sudan, Chad and Nigeria The Gumarbic Fund will provide an open and transparent trading platform for Gum Arabic, a valuable commodity grown in Nigeria, Chad and Sudan and essential in the global confectionery, soft drinks and pharmaceutical industries. By providing liquidity to a market where merchants dominate at the expense of local producers the funds seeks to significantly enhance the conditions of small scale producers in a conflict ridden zone and help prevent desertification. The fund has received some major pension fund investment and is looking at delivering market based returns.
8 D.light Design, Tanzania
D.light Design D.light Design D.light Design D.light Design, East Africa Distributing solar lights through youth entrepreneurs D.light Design, a consumer goods company that produces and distributes solar powered lights, is working with the mass media popular platform, Femina HIP and youth networks to create a distribution network for solar lights in East Africa. The initiative seeks to engage young people as part of the labour force to scale up the distribution of solar lights. A partnership is creating awareness about solar entrepreneurship opportunities within 2 million young Tanzanians and is linking to investors in small and medium enterprises, microfinance providers, and training programmes. Their goal is to build and develop a strong supply chain for low-cost solar products to reach 15 million people, creating 50.000 job opportunities for young people and improved the lives of 100 million individuals by 2020.
9 SocioEnviro Solutions, India
Selling one million hybrid auto rickshaws SocioEnviro has been entrusted with the responsibility of taking Enviu's "Hybrid TukTuk" project forward from the ENVIU Foundation. SocioEnviro’s aim for the auto-rickshaw project is to better the lives of over 1.5 million auto rickshaw drivers in India over the next five years.
For the drivers who come into the system, it would be like a fresh job with a greener auto rickshaw, much better income potential and inclusion into the financial as well as social security systems. SocioEnviro seeks to expand rapidly to other major cities in India over the next 5 years and then to other Asian countries. For an estimated 100000 new auto rickshaw drivers who are expected to come into the auto-rickshaw ecosystem over the next five years, SocioEnviro opens up an unforeseen horizon of possibilities. The biggest barriers to taking up this profession come from access to financing, low income potential for drivers and the fact that current auto rickshaws do not find favour with environmental norms (hence, governments sceptical about allowing them to continue on roads) . By addressing all these aspects, SocioEnviro is essentially creating 100000 new jobs for these drivers. Apart from these 100000 new drivers, SocioEnviro is planning to create jobs for over 1000 skilled individuals in the next 5 years to manage its business operations. Currently for its first year of operations (March 2010 to March 2011), SocioEnviro is partly funded by D.O.B Foundation from Netherlands and is looking for additional investments of $ 0.5 million.
10 Peepoople, Global
Selling small, simple sanitation solutions. Today 2,6 billion people have no access to basic sanitation facilities. Through contamination of fresh water and ground water this affects both society at large and the individual. Peepoople has re-thought the problem and created a simple and viable solution which can reach many people on the grass-root level. The Peepoo is a self-sanitising singleuse biodegradable toilet bag. It also opens up several opportunities for service systems to establish themselves. After use the Peepoo bag offers a value as fertilizer which enables collection and reuse systems to arise, informally or formally, privately or publicly, small scale or large scale. With one million people using the Peepoo toilet in 2015, there will be some 1000 employment opportunities for distribution and collection services.