It's been a busy week for me. I've made some amazing contacts around the world and have been discussing my vision for mass distribution of solar energy products via partnerships with MFIs. I've been in contact with inventors, MFI consultants and manufacturers. I am getting the sense that the timing is ripe for a major breakthrough. It seems like the convergence of public concern for climate change, increased investment in solar energy research, the Obama administration's support of renewable energy and the proliferation of web 2.0 are putting the dream of solar power for the bottom of the pyramid in reach. With a critical mass signed on to social networks, it has never been easier to identify and connect with relevant thought leaders and decision makers across the globe. It is so incredibly exciting.
I had a wonderfully conversation this week with a woman who founded the Green Microfinance Institute (www.greenmicrofinance.org), which is based in Pennsylvania. The group consults with MFIs and provides training in needs assessment. They are developing a strategic plan for a worldwide rollout of green microfinance programs and will be raising seed funding for programs. I spoke with her about how we might collaborate and we plan to meet in person in June. I received another email today from a gentleman who consults with MFIs in five countries and he's open to talking with me.
I am finding that there are so many great inventions wanting to be distributed to people in need. I believe that the key challenge will be to design efficient strategies for distribution to villages so that everyone can benefit for economies of scale. I believe that the most effective approach will be a collaboration of nonprofits, MFIs, and free enterprise and that free market competition will ultimately lead to better quality products at a lower cost. I am also wondering about the possibility of teaming with corporate partners to piggyback on their existing distribution channels.
Tomorrow morning I have a scheduled call with an engineer from Uganda to exchange ideas. If my four year old daughter doesn't interrupt or rip the phone out of my hand, it promises to be an enlightening exchange.
I'm still mulling around all of these possibilities. I welcome any ideas you may have regarding distribution models or MFI payment plans.
Now, off to bed.
Thanks for listening.