Social Good Startup: Em{Power} Energy Group

Second in the series of Startups for Good Challenge

Em{Power} Energy Group, was one of the eight finalists to Startups for Good Challenge, hosted by the good guys of Mashable, 92Y and UN Foundation.

In this interview I talked with Ryan Integlia and Nasir Uddin, who are Executive Director and Vice President of the organization, respectively. We talked about the business they are in and challenges facing such organization.

Em[Power] Energy is in the business of helping landfill communities, people who are living close or near landfills – around the world.

Their mission is to “revitalize waste scavenging communities throughout the world using a modular and scalable cooperative development based on renewable resources.” In layman’s term, they will help these communities to improve their living conditions by converting organic waste and waste water into electricity, compost and have them take charge of the business – once all said and done.

Unless you come from developing world, you probably not accustomed to see people living near, at or very close to the big dumpster. We don’t see them around here anymore. But, in countries like Bangladesh, Cambodia, Mexico, Indonesia, India – they are coexist – with today’s modern world.

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9 Benefits Provided by Forests

forest

Thailand is not the only country in the world losing forestsDeforestation is also happening in our backyard. The real estate booming back in the day is to blame.

According to a recent map released by World Resources Institute, the top 10 Counties Losing Forest to Development in the US South. These counties “converted approximately123,000 acres of forest to development over 5 years.”

The 10 counties that are mostly located in the South, are prone to drought and putting forest at risk: Harris (Houston), Gwinnett (Atlanta), Fulton (Atlanta), Wake (Raleigh), Montgomery (Houston), Meckleburg (Charlotte), Bexar (San Antonio), Duval (Jacksonville), Jefferson (Birmingham), Cobb (Atlanta).

Forests provide so many benefits to humanity.

Just to revisit some of the benefits provided by forests, here are the 9 benefits, via CBD: 

1. Forests provide food and a vast array of materials for medicinal, cultural and spiritual purposes, as well as building materials and firewood.

2. They store and purify drinking water.

3. Protect watershed.

4. Mitigate natural disasters.

5. Control erosion.

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Social Good Startup: Kopernik

kopernik dlight solar lanternKopernik is one of the 8 finalists to Startups Good Challenge that was held about a month ago, sponsored by the good guys at Mashable, 92Y and UN Foundation. I tried to reach out to all of the finalists, however, only 5 responded – with one left the event early, before I had the chance to interview the founder.

The criteria:

“Startups that are building or using technology to make a positive impact on the world will compete for a chance to present at the Social Good Summit and win a $10,000 cash prize for their company.”

So this is the first social good organizations out of four (that I was able to have conversations with) that will be featured here. The lineup: Kopernik, Empower Energy, Simple Energy and the winner of this competition – a 19-yo kid, Sun Saluter.

In this interview, I talked with Toshi Nakamura, the co-founder of Kopernik, a social enterprise who’s also a member of Clinton Global Initiative. Toshi and I shares one thing in common: Indonesia. Oh well, his organization is based in Indonesia, and I was lifted from there. That’s about it.

The problem that they’re trying to solve is in the distribution of life-changing technology to the last mile in the developing country (read: the poorest). Think of this business as the online store for innovative technologies, i.e. technology like what you see from the picture above showing d.light lantern, which is one of the products available from their store.

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Flooding and Impact on Businesses

CLIMATE SKEPTICS need to pay attention here. This man, Richard Han, CEO of Hana Microelectronics talks to CNN how the floods impacting businesses. The water is 2 meter (about 2.18 yards) high and you have to get to the industrial park – by boat!

There’s a correlation between deforestation, climate, rainfall. When we talk about Thailand’s worst flooding in half a century, look at the impact on people and business.

Half a century ago, Thailand was not as populated as today. Probably few manufacturing companies set up shops here.

Now is a different story.

Down the chain line, since the beginning of this month Toyota, Nissan and Honda combined are losing 6,000 units/cars a day! If you add this to the overall Thailand’s exports. And calculate its impact deeper down the chain line – how it impacted their businesses around the world – the  number could be really huge!

Check this out.

Deforestation, Thailand Floods and Supply Chain

You think deforestation has something to do with “Thailand worst” floods? Because rainforests affect local weather conditions by creating rainfall.

Between 1945 and 1975 forest cover in Thailand declined from 61% to 34% of the country’s land area. Over the next 11 years, Thailand lost close to 28% of all of its remaining forests. This means that the country lost 3.1% of its forest cover each year over that period.

What happened now is Thailand going through the worst floods in half a century. The floods have disrupted the supply chain of some of the big names, i.e. Toyota, Apple, Ford, etc. For example, Toyota, Honda and Nissan – combined – they’re losing 6,000 units of car production daily since early this month.

Thailand is a big regional hub for the world’s car makers and most are suffering disruption, either because their plants are flooded or, more often, because parts makers have had to close and the supply chain has been disrupted.

The output of Japanese car makers has fallen by about 6,000 units a day because of the flooding. Germany’s Daimler AG said late on Thursday it had halted car production because of the threat of flooding. (emphasis added)

via Reuters

Moreover, Bloomberg reports that “Thailand is the world’s largest producer of hard-disk drives, the biggest exporter of rice and rubber and the second- largest supplier of sugar, according to government data.” So if you total domestic productivity, exports and its global impact down the supply chain – the impact from the floods could be huge. Really huge!

I remember when we were still a kid in Jakarta. Our house got flooded few times. When the city gets flooded, it is like snow days for us. It’s fun when it’s not too much and go on for days. Because we can play around in the thick of water! But things can get messy and people got sick after a few days of continuous rain. So enuf of it.

This flood should be a wake up call for everyone.  There is a price to everything (in life and business). That when you disrupt nature’s natural cycle of cooling system this is what could happen.

Sure by now the Japanese conglomerates may already have learned the lessons from this experience. That there’s correlation between deforestation, climate and rain fall. They do learn pretty quick. It’s about risk management and Kaizen!

The chain is disrupted (in pictures)

Pictures worth a thousands words. My friend sent me pictures of Rojana industrial park, where Toyota and other manufacturers have their plants under water siege – that you can see below the fold..

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Making the Connection for #SocialGood

It’s very inspiring to see how people across the spectrum around the world, are using technology and social media to make connection & do social good. They are using different platforms to educate, empower women and girls, spreading the buzz, connecting displaced people, and more. One thing they share in common – is the ability to make a change.

The starting point of any conversation. Why are we doing this?

Geena Davis @GDIGM at #socialgood: “When are we going to get over the idea that it is shocking that women can do things?” @mashable…
UN_Women
September 20, 2011
Geena Davis @GDIGM at #socialgood: “Kids need to see entertainment where females are valued as much as males.” @mashable @unfoundation
UN_Women
September 20, 2011
Guterres -The most nobel part of our job is to help refugees unite, go back home. #socialgood @refugees
melissarfleming
September 20, 2011
.@womenwarpeace: “It’s not just a question of who’s watching media, it’s an issue of who’s talking. We’ve only heard from men.” #socialgood
lionozion
September 20, 2011
@TheMandyMoore says startling statistics & tidbits are great way to spread awareness on malaria through social media #socialgood
USAID
September 20, 2011
Geena Davis @GDIGM at #socialgood: “Gender portrayls influence aspirations. If they can see it, they can be it” @mashable @unfoundation
UN_Women
September 20, 2011
A bed net can protect a family of 4 for up to 3 years (@TheMandyMoore + @ashong are showing+telling!) #socialgood
unfoundation
September 20, 2011
#SocialGood @ABurak on how gaming can be used to make social good changes…in this case for girls & women. Teaching via data.
mgyerman
September 20, 2011
@TheMandyMoore Totally agree about teaching kids about things like malaria in school. Why isn’t this being taught now? #SocialGood
johnrougeux
September 20, 2011
Every 45 seconds a child dies of malaria… #SocialGood let’s change that…now @nothingbutnets @themandymoore
WaterIsHumanity
September 20, 2011

Think like a Startup. Visualize Your Business Model.. in 15 Minutes

“Ordinary people believe only in the possible. Extraordinary people visualize not what is possible or probable, but rather what is impossible. And by visualizing the impossible, they begin to see it as possible.”

~ Cherie Carter-Scott

This is the challenge for most entrepreneurs is that we often get caught up so much in daily things that we failed to see the big picture, focus on that and put it to work.

“Ordinary people believe only in the possible. Extraordinary people visualize not what is possible or probable, but rather what is impossible. And by visualizing the impossible, they begin to see it as possible.”

~ Cherie Carter-Scott

This is the challenge for most entrepreneurs is that we often get caught up so much in daily things that we failed to see the big picture, focus on that and put it to work.

The startup business framework created by Tom Hulme, IDEO’s Design Director at their London’s office, is simple enough for anyone to use. Whether you just have this idea that you think is very interesting, to large companies.

Continue reading “Think like a Startup. Visualize Your Business Model.. in 15 Minutes”