Social Venture Finalists A-L
Advanced Road Hazard Simulator (alternate)
Community Water Solutions
Advanced Road Hazard Simulator
Car accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers and young adults in America - over 24,000 driver and passenger deaths in addition to over 400,000 serious injuries in 2006. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, these horrifying statistics have been reduced by about 10% in 2008 due to defensive driver courses and increased awareness of the problem.
The Advanced Road Hazard Simulator advances driver training and defensive driving instruction to a whole new level. The value of training simulators in preparing airline pilots, astronauts, military personnel and emergency responders for critical situations was dramatically underscored by last January's "Miracle on the Hudson" U.S. Airways safe water landing. Using this same training concept, our simulator will prepare drivers for dangerous, and potentially deadly, driving scenarios by allowing them to experience a variety of random road hazards and practice correct procedures and maneuvers to avoid or minimize the impact of traffic crashes that claim the lives of so many young drivers. Facing a life-threatening situation is not the time to think about what you should do – reactions must be instantaneous and this can only be done by practice. Immersed in a photorealistic simulator, the trainee will experience heightened awareness of driving behaviors and external situations that contribute to traffic accidents.
While software based driver training exists, there is currently no product that goes beyond the basics of learning to drive. The Advanced Road Hazard Simulator is designed to pick up where traditional driving instruction ends. With a primary target market of 24,000,000 current drivers in the high risk driver pool and with 8,000,000 new drivers each year, the opportunity to impact the death and injury statistics for drivers in 16 – 24 yr. old age group by simulation training is tremendous.
While primarily aimed at young drivers, this simulation training will have a positive impact on drivers of any age. Our team, a highly experienced project manager, a software engineer experienced in simulation programming, 2 graphic artists experienced in virtual environment design and a former insurance adjustor as an advisor, are creating this realistic and badly needed training environment.
To reach this huge market, we are seeking to partner with automobile insurance companies and driving schools using a licensed software model.
Insurance companies directly benefit by a decrease in number and severity of claims while policyholders can benefit by reduced insurance premiums. By incorporating a scoring model within the simulator, we can provide insurance companies with a metric which they can use to offer policyholders premium discounts for successfully completing training much as they do now for defensive driving courses.Driving schools will benefit through an additional revenue stream by offering advanced training courses. With the trend of high school driver education courses outsourcing instruction to established commercial driver's ed. schools, the opportunity for additional software licenses for classroom use will grow.
Jonathon C. Lentine, a 2009 graduate of the Pforzheimers Honors College at Pace University received his BA/BS degree from the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences majoring in both Political Science and Psychology. Currently a full-time MPA graduate student at Pace, he expects to graduate in 2011.Jonathon is also a member of the International Honor Society, Pi Gamma Mu and a leader of Pace's award winning Model UN Team.Combining his extensive computer knowledge and graphic arts experience, Jonathon became a key member of several online software development groups. With over four years experience in computer rendering and simulation, Jonathon has functioned as lead designer and Project Manager, liaisoning with major commercial game developers. Jonathon's accomplishments are all the more remarkable since he suffers from Autistic Spectrum Disorder. He has been the subject of a CBS News Special Report on Autism in College filmed in part on the Pace Campus. He has also participated in many autism studies at the Mt. Sinai Seaver Center for Autism Research.
Community Water Solutions
Today, 1 in 6 people around the world lack access to safe drinking water. Four million people die each year from preventable water-related diseases, and 90% of those deaths are children under five. Community Water Solutions' (CWS) initial target market is northern Ghana where 50% of the nearly 2 million residents lack access to improved sources of drinking water. Furthermore, in urban areas where residents do have access to "improved" water sources, as many as 83% may drink contaminated water due to source contamination and/or unhygienic handling. The lack of access to safe drinking water continues to be a public health challenge for the region where approximately 20% of children under five are suffering from diarrheal disease, and the child mortality rate is 150 deaths per 1000 live births.
Water management techniques used in high-income nations are neither economically nor technically feasible in much of northern Ghana. As a result there is a significant opportunity for implementation and scale-up of low-cost water treatment and safe storage solutions. To address this challenge, CWS implements sustainable, scalable water treatment businesses owned and operated by the communities we serve.
The CWS model is based on three primary components:
- 1. We offer community scale water treatment at the source (when needed; only required for rural areas where "improved" water sources are not available).
- 2. We use low-cost chlorination and safe storage solutions to make sure that the water stays safe and clean while users transport it and store it in their homes.
- 3. We have an innovative revenue-driven business model that generates enough capital to sustain the local water businesses, ensuring that CWS communities have continuous access to clean water.
Currently, CWS provides the only sustainable source of safe, clean drinking water available today in the rural communities we serve. In addition, we are able to serve our individual customers at a price per liter of clean water that is three times lower than our closest competitor.
Impact To date, the CWS team has implemented three locally managed water treatment centers, reaching over 2,500 individuals and providing 600 children with a clean, reliable source of drinking water in their homes. In addition, we are currently expanding our work to urban areas where our research has shown there is significant drinking water contamination, despite access to "improved" water sources. To meet this need, we are adapting our community mobilization, chlorination, and safe storage model to urban settings. We believe that by leveraging existing water sources we can efficiently bring safe water to underserved urban communities.
Team CWS' four person founding team includes business students as well as two former MIT graduate engineers with specializations in household water treatment. In addition, CWS has had the opportunity to learn from a fantastic set of mentors and advisors including individuals from the MIT Public Service Center, Pure Home Water, UNICEF, PATH, and the CDC.
Mike Brown: Current Student (Columbia Business School). Mike Brown is Director of Operations for Community Water Solutions. Prior to cofounding this organization, which addresses the unmet global need for potable water through a for-profit business approach, Mike worked extensively in both Nicaragua and Cameroon applying this approach to various development projects. In Cameroon specifically, he organized and developed a community-run business, which produced and sold household water filters to rural villages throughout the extreme north. Mike also spent three years with Accenture Consulting, specializing in growth strategy and change management, a structured approach to enabling a community's adoption and integration of new technologies and procedures. In his spare time, he enjoys outdoor activities and live music. Mike holds a Bachelor's of Science from the University of Virginia's McIntire, School of Commerce.
Kate Clopeck: MIT, Master of Science in Technology and Policy (2009). Kate Clopeck is the President and Ghana Country Director for Community Water Solutions, a non-profit that she co-founded while in graduate school. In this role she oversees the management of CWS' local staff, refines safe storage container design, performs water quality testing, implements the CWS treatment centers, and trains CWS women on water treatment and financial management. Over the past 5 years, Kate has worked extensively on water improvement projects around the globe including Nicaragua, Cameroon and Ghana. She earned a Master's of Science in Technology and Policy from MIT in 2009 where her research was focused on the sustained use of water treatment technologies in Northern Region Ghana. She holds Bachelor's in Science from the University of Virginia's School of Engineering and Applied Science where she wrote her thesis on the implementation household water treatment and safe storage technologies in the developing world. As Community Water Solution's first full-time employee, Kate currently splits her time between Ghana and her hometown of Boston, MA.
Vanessa Green: Current Student (MIT Sloan); MIT M.Eng Environmental Engineering (2008). Vanessa Green is currently a MBA candidate at the MIT Sloan School of Management. In addition, Vanessa completed a Masters of Environmental Engineering at MIT in 2008 where she focused her academic work on household water treatment and safe storage technologies for the developing world. During her time at MIT, Vanessa conducted her thesis research in northern Ghana which inspired her to co-found Community Water Solutions to address Ghana's urgent need for sustainable, scalable safe water solutions. Vanessa also brings a background in management consulting from her time with Monitor Group, where she focused on regional economic development, operational efficiency and marketing strategy. Vanessa holds a Bachelor's in Environmental Science from Dartmouth College. In her spare time, Vanessa enjoys soccer, running and sailing.
Chuck Howe: Charles Howe is an independent consultant with extensive experience leading development and strategic investment initiatives for public and private sector clients in emerging markets. Charles was employed by The Monitor Group from 2004 to 2008, working variously from the Boston, Amsterdam, London and Dubai offices. In addition to his work at Monitor, Charles has served as an advisor to a number of community-based development initiatives around the world, including a date farming collective in Saudi Arabia and preventive healthcare outreach to medically underserved families in the USA. Charles is a native of Boston, MA. He studied History at Harvard College.
Challenge: Over 500 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa lack the electricity services that would enable them to live healthier and more productive lives. For many, the weak link is last-mile distribution. In Tanzania, 80% of the population lives within five kilometers of a transmission line but only 10% has access to electricity due to the high cost of transmission and distribution infrastructure. This results in a heavy reliance on polluting, expensive, and unsafe energy alternatives (fossil-fuels and disposable AA batteries). Solution: EGG-energy uses a strategy of direct sales to the customer.
- 1. We take power from a grid connection or off-grid power station and package it into portable, rechargeable, and affordable batteries.
- 2. Each battery is rented to a customer in exchange for a subscription fee.
- 3. Customers can exchange their depleted battery for a fully charged one at any time, by paying a small fee at a nearby EGG-energy charging depot.
Each fully charged battery is sufficient to power lights and radio in a typical household for three nights. Batteries are owned and maintained by EGG-energy. At the end of their useful life they are recycled via existing recycling services.
Value Proposition: EGG-energy offers customers a source of energy that is safer, cleaner, more convenient, and more than 30% cheaper than currently available alternatives. Connecting to the grid is prohibitively expensive, so consumers currently use kerosene, dry cell batteries and car batteries to light their homes and power small electric appliances. These options, although significantly cheaper than a grid connection, are still expensive (10% of yearly income), inconvenient, polluting and hazardous. Additionally, EGG-energy builds a storage and distribution platform for renewable, intermittent energy production, prevents 131,000 tons of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere, and our electricity distribution service will improve work and study productivity while providing local employment.
Target Market: 500 million people in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity. We target three separate segments: rural households, small businesses and low income urban homes. Due to large market opportunity, our extensive network of contacts and the country's favorable regulatory and business environment, we are launching in Tanzania, where these segments represent over 35 million potential customers.
Leadership: Founded by Engineering PhDs and MBAs from MIT and Harvard, EGG-energy brings together a unique combination of project management, engineering, international development and marketing skills. In addition, all EGG-energy team members have work experience in Africa. CEO Jamie Yang is based in Tanzania and is supported by our US-based COO, Rhonda Jordan, with assistance from a US-based advisory team.
Rhonda Jordan, COO and Board Member Originally from the Washington, DC metropolitan area, Rhonda Jordan studied electrical engineering and obtained her bachelors and master degrees from Columbia University. After obtaining a great deal of technical knowledge, Rhonda decided to take time away from school to pursue her other passion - dance. Rhonda performed in North America, South America, Europe, & Africa, but during her travels realized the strong need for the technical skills she previously acquired. Rhonda then decided to return to MIT's Engineering Systems Division and is now a PhD candidate researching power system development in developing countries. In 2008, Rhonda had the opportunity to work with the United Nations Environment Programme on rural electrification in East Africa, developing business models for off-grid electrification. With regulatory knowledge and experience, technical ability and the strong desire to improve access to modern energy in a sustainable manner, Rhonda is one of the founding members of EGG-energy.
Blandine Antoine, Board Member and Energy Advisor After studying physics and material science at the Ecole Polytechnique, Blandine chose to join the French Public Service to work on energy policy. Her training included studying nuclear engineering and public administration in the US and in France, and working for both public and private entities on energy related projects. After having co-founded a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness on energy and climate issues in France, she engaged in a worldwide investigation to identify and advertise the works of energy innovators. This work led to the publication of a book, and kindled her desire to bring entrepreneurial solutions to the long-lasting lack of electricity access of a too large number of people in the developing world. Currently a PhD candidate at MIT's Engineering Systems Division, she brings creativity, leadership skills, policy experience, an engineering background and a resolutely entrepreneurial spirit to EGG-energy.
Jukka Valimaki, Board Member and Finance Advisor Jukka graduated from the Helsinki School of Economics with a degree in Technology Management and Policy. He joined SEB Card's business development function, first as a project manager being in charge of multinational product and service launches and then overseeing business development in the company. Jukka is currently pursuing an MBA at MIT Sloan with a strong focus in corporate finance. He brings project management, business development and finance skills to the team.
Alla Jezmir, Board Member and Capital Raising Advisor Alla Jezmir joined Calvert Foundation in August 2009 as Principal of the Green Portfolio. Previously, Alla managed a business plan competition in TechnoServe Inc's Swaziland office and organized a horticulture competitiveness seminar for public and private sector stakeholders in Kenya. As a consultant at Reingold Inc., she provided marketing and strategic planning services. Alla participated in the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs and has consulted for the International Labor Organization, GreenFuel, an algae-to-biofuel company, and Masdar, Abu Dhabi's alternative energy company, on the rollout of its solar initiative. She worked on special projects in the CEO's office of Fabindia, one of India's largest retailers and interned in the Cleantech Group, Investment Banking Division, at Jefferies & Company. Alla holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She graduated summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis with a B.S. in international business and political science.
Mark Yen, Technical Advisor Mark was a part of MIT's D-Lab Development program, and after studying development projects and their successes and failures, he traveled to Tanzania in January to work with a number of organizations, including medical clinics, schools, and orphanages on a variety of projects, which ranged in category from water to education to appropriate technology. While in Tanzania he saw a need for reliable access to electricity, which led to his involvement with EGG-energy. A student in MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Mark has also been involved with MIT Global Poverty Initiative, a student group that aims to raise awareness about global issues that play into the poverty cycle, and Moca, a project that brings quality health care to rural areas by enabling remote medical diagnosis via an application for mobile phones.