Five Social Enterprises Incorporating CleanTech Innovations
Clean technology is integral to the development of rural communities in the world, accounting for an average of 40 percent of the population based on 196 countries.
Rural communities are sparsely populated, and it would take extensive effort and cost to extend modern services to them. However, with the normalisation of off-grid clean technologies, rural development could be expedited.
Here are the top 5 clean technology social enterprises that are equalising the playing field for rural communities:
Displaced Syrian children use LuminAID lights in the classroom.
LuminAID provides solar-powered lights for relief after disasters strike.
Anna Stork and Andrea Srehta founded luminAID after news of the earthquake in Haiti broke, though the idea had been conceived since their days in Columbia Graduate School.
luminAID offers an inflatable solar lantern that is fitted with LED technology and can provide up to 16 hours of lighting after a single charge in the sun.
The rechargeable lantern is lightweight and waterproof. It also serves as an alternative to hazardous candles or toxic kerosene for people without a steady supply of electricity.
They experienced firsthand the damage caused by large-scale disasters while on a school trip in Japan in March 2011. The inventors saw the product’s potential and began fundraising the project through campaigns and business competitions.
Solarkiosk is a Berlin-based company that provides low-cost franchise outlets to rural off-grid communities with through their solar-powered kiosks. The kiosks are run by local entrepreneurs generate their revenue by selling the charging stations that come with the kiosk.
Marcus Lim and Stanley Samuel are the founders of the social enterprise Ecosoftt – a water solutions provider that include rainwater harvesting, wastewater recycling and drinking water treatment amongst others.
The company has a strong social focus where they service marginalised communities through their Solutions for Underprivileged Lives programme. It is backed by major corporates including Barclays Bank and leading NGOs like the World Toilet Organisation.
- Makani Energy Kites
Source: Makani Power
Makani was founded in 2006 by a group of kite surfers who wanted to tap into deep-sea winds. It was an Alphabet company up till February 2020, and Shell remains an investor. The inventors built an autonomous kite, resembling an aeroplane, that is tethered to a floating base in the water.
Makani CEO Dr. Fort Felker told CNN that “Our lightweight kites create the possibility that we could tap that resource very economically and bring renewable power to hundreds of millions of people.”
Wind power has the potential to power the world 100 times over, but only 6% of that potential has been harnessed today.
Vestergaard is a global company that provides solutions to underserved communities that do not have access to drinking water. To date, Vesterguaard has provided clean water to 55 million people through its products.
They function on a Give Back retail business model where a purchase from a financially capable consumer sponsors a product to one in need.