NURU Energy Provides Cheap, Efficient Night Lighting to Rwanda and Promotes Social Entrepreneurs

NURU Energy is replacing expensive, dangerous, and unhealthy kerosene in rural Rwandan households by introducing a cheap, safe, and clean night lighting solution, known as the NURU Light. The poor’s sources of energy are dirty and inefficient, and on a per-kilowatt basis they cost anywhere from 5-100 times more than modern fuels and electricity. The paradox is that the poor are spending a disproportionate share of their income on a product that richer people can get cheaper and of high quality.
The NURU light is multifunctional, modular, efficient, bright and durable. It can be recharged in a number of ways – using pedal power, power grid or through a solar charger. The distribution model is based on helping local residents to start small businesses that rent out and recharge lights. NURU’s practice is to partner with micro lenders — financial institutions that make small loans to citizens— in order to teach and help would-be entrepreneurs become NURU franchisees.

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The Unreasonable Institute Helps High-Impact Social Entrepreneurs Take Flight

There is a growing consensus that entrepreneurs will be the force behind economic, social and environmental development this century. There are hundreds of thousands of budding entrepreneurs with world-changing ideas that need the right platform and training to take off. An organization called the Unreasonable Institute aims to help these audacious gen-next entrepreneurs take flight!
Intensive training, effective collaboration, international exposure, and expert guidance from the world’s best ensure that the ventures they work with take flight.

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Local Orbit Makes Local Produce Easy to Buy and Sell in Detroit

Locally grown food is the rage these days, with more and more consumers clearly concerned about where their food is coming from. There is an increasing demand for farm produce and growing need to connect directly with producers. But sometimes its not always easy to get local food. What do you do if you want locally grown produce, but cannot visit week-day farmer markets?

Local Orbit is a new way to buy food and other local goods direct from producers in your community, if you live in the greater Detroit area. Erika Block is the founder of Local Orbit, an Ann Arbor, MI-based tech startup that facilitates the distribution of local, sustainably farmed food and expects to roll Local Orbit out to many more markets nationwide by 2012 – 2013.

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The method method: A Cleaner Clean, Design + Innovation and Just Plain Weird

How did method, in 10 years, turn the cleaning business industry upside down, redefine cleaners and set new standards for cleaning supplies?

Eric and Adam reveal their successes are tied to their obsessions! They talk about the method story in a book they released this week called ‘The method method’ (an excellent read that is both humorous and gripping). They call these core strategeies “obsessions” because they realize that unless you are obsessed about your business values and practices, they could fade away as your business grows.

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Cleanweb Hackathon Showcases 'World Changing' Apps in 30 Hours: Final Results

The Cleanweb Hackathon concluded last night with 14 teams taking center-stage to showcase mobile and web apps that could help us, in their own small ways, manage resources more efficiently. The teams worked through the weekend and developed some “awesome” that creator Sunil Paul, pointed out as one of the most important features of cleanweb. How do you identify “cleanweb”? Acording to Sunil, it will demonstrate-

#1 Extensive use of information technology (duh)
#2 Makes things more efficient; allows better use of resources
#3 Makes life more AWESOME!

That’s exactly what the teams set out to do. Developers, designers, and business folks collaborating on building apps as diverse as ones that bring together backyard urban farmers (GROmunity) or a green life cycle analysis tool that small businesses and artisans can use to analyse and put on their green products (Greenly).

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Cleanweb Hackathon, San Francisco: Hacking Continues, Results Soon!

The first ever Cleanweb Hackathon opened in San Francisco with over 175 registrants for 100 seats. I call that resounding!! Sunil Paul, the brainchild behind the Hackathon, founding director of Spring Ventures and avid clean-tech proponent was excited as he blogged live from the event:

“Writing live from @PariSOMA at the Cleanweb Hackathon. Super exciting the level of engagement. We are SOLD OUT. Over 175 registrants for 100 seats. About a third are developers. The balance are business and UIUX folks. In the next 24 hours, we’re hoping to see some interesting apps come out of this hackathon.”

The hacking begun yesterday and will continue today till 3pm pacific time, with winners being announced tonight. Who is going to win over $5,000 worth of prizes and bragging rights to the first-ever clean tech app competition? Stay tuned for the results!

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Quirky Makes Invention Accessible: Coming Today to a TV Near You!

How easy is it to invent something? Maybe not that hard, but how easy is it to make it count. Really hard. Innovation is the single most important thing that sets us apart as a species, yet our society itself can be the hardest roadblock for innovative solutions to the toughest challenges we face today.
A firm called Quirky is trying to change all that! Quirky is a crowd-sourced and an open innovation platform that encourages creative thinking and solutions. Now after launching super successful products and boasting a community of nearly 60,000 innovators, Quirky is going to debut at a television near you. *Drumroll*
All of this creative craziness is going to be showcased in The Sundance Channel’s new show Quirky that premiers today August 30th at 10 pm.

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Bill Gates: In Search of a Smarter and Resourceful Toilet 2.0

The Bill & Melinda Gates foundation is embarking on a new sanitation-focussed strategy. The sanitation revolution has done more to save lives and improve health than any public health intervention in the past 200 years. But the flush toilet has only reached one-third of the world’s population. Clearly, we need to encourage new ideas and new approaches to accelerate safe and affordable access to sanitation for everyone. Bill Gates says, “Despite all the recent achievements, 40% of the world’s population, or some 2.5 billion people, still lives without proper means of flushing away excrement. But just giving them Western-style toilets isn’t possible because of the world’s limited water resources.”

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Water for People: Finding Better Ways to Deliver Water to People

Water is an important issue globally, and with the world’s population hitting 7 billion this year and the impact of climate change growing, water will only grow in importance. But the need for clean water and sanitation is not a new problem, and some wonder why the rate of progress seems so slow. As the CEO of Water for People, and as someone who was worked globally on delivering clean water to people for many years, Ned Breslin is creating new solutions for this old problem.

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