Welcome to GSVC Matchmaker

This blog has been created by GSVC to facilitate matchmaking among entrepreneurs with business plans and potential entrants. Business students looking for ventures and ventures looking for business school students are encouraged to share opportunities and interests here!

For ventures seeking student talent:

Please send a short description of your venture, including stage, sector, geographic location, specific project you need student help with, and contact information to gsvc [at] haas.berkeley.edu. Please keep your business background and description to 1-2 paragraphs, and your summary of desired talent characteristics to 1 paragraph or several bullets. Please also include your location, contact information, and preferred method of contact.

All of this information will be posted by GSVC as an Entry on this site.

For students seeking a venture:

Please browse the ventures posted here and contact them either by posting a comment to the appropriate venture, or by contacting them directly.

If you have any questions about GSVC's entrant requirements, please consult the GSVC website: www.gsvc.org.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dissigno: Distributed Power for Haitian Communities

MEETING THE POWER NEEDS OF RURAL HAITI WITH A
SUSTAINABLE ENTERPRISE MODEL
TARGET: To monitor and replicate a pilot project for a community based, sustainable enterprise that provides distributed electrical power
Energy contributes not only to the improvement of education, health and living conditions, especially for women and children, but also to the development of economic activities and the generation of wealth. (© 2007 Electricit√© de France) In Bayonnais, nearly 80,000 Haitians live without access to any form of electricity. Because of government budget constraints there is currently no policy to provide connection to the grid system to this community. Engineers Without Borders (EWB) recently installed a PV system supporting OFCB Ministries School of 1,450 students. However, the majority of the community has no access to this power supply. Some nearby community members tie into the system through a dangerous combination of ad-hoc scavenged wiring. Students wishing to study after dark must use the lights at the school.

dissigno, Eco Systems and OFCB have teamed up for The Pedal Power Project. This partnership has launched a pilot project using Eco System’s pedal technology for 50 families. The Pedal Power Project provides distributed electricity through an innovative application of existing technology. Electricity is created through pedaling and stored in a 12-volt deep cycle battery. This in turn charges smaller 6-volt batteries called home units.
The home units are then distributed with low wattage LED lights to members of the community on a rental program. The system has several advantages over typical power generation technology such as wood burning fires, solar, and fuel. The technology is less expensive. It requires no fuel supply chain with long-term variable costs and supplies. The system is safer and healthier. There is no fire, smoke inhalation, or burning risk. It
reduces the need for wood fires, further limiting deforestation. The generator is made from parts that are easy to locate, even in developing communities, and can be serviced by non-specialized tools and equipment. Training and operation are simple, easily
communicated to any user and operator.

The technology and enterprise is being operated as a “for profit” enterprise to maintain sustainability. It provides distributed electrical power & lighting for community members, creates employment, and stimulates ancillary enterprises. This pilot project deployed in September when an operator was trained with the technology. In December dissigno will return to monitor operations and assist other community members in creating ancillary enterprises surrounding the initial product. This innovative service can scale and replicate easily with the addition of battery/LED units.

FINANCIALS: dissigno has modeled rental prices at USD $0.11 per day. This is what is currently paid by Haitians for kerosene, an inferior lighting technology.

STATUS: dissigno is currently implementing the enterprise in Cathor Haiti. A local community partner is overseeing operations. The community bank is collecting user fees. The enterprise is currently in its second month.

ACTION: dissigno is actively seeking support to gather data on and assist in creating a Social Impact Report to provide status back to private investment.

CONTACT: Gary Zieff www.dissigno.com gary@dissigno.com 415-601-3771

Graduate Student Role

Market research - new potential opportunities that the project can assist in putting into operation

Data Gathering - how has the technology been adopted, what community members are still using the lights, how do they like/dislike the lights

Social Impact Data - what are the effects of the better, improved lighting: school, industry, ancillary enterprise

Assist in identifying new enterprise opportunities using the lights/pedal generators, other owner/operators

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