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It is tempting to call Barefoot Power the next best business model since microfinance. But combining social purpose with capitalism’s animal spirits should sound frightening, given what has happened to for-profit microfinance, notably in India.
This podcast features a chat with Rick Hooper, CEO of Barefoot Power, a highly lauded Australian company that distributes clean and renewable energy products, including solar panels and LEDs, in underdeveloped communities in Africa and Asia. Here, Hooper talks about the business model that defines Barefoot Power and his efforts to expand the company's outreach.
Hugh Whalan is bringing clean energy solutions to the developing world. The problem is not that there aren't enough innovative products to aid the poor, says Whalan. It's that supply and distribution challenges make it difficult for those products to ever arrive. Impact Energies was founded to combat these challenges by pairing microfinance with a new model to coordinate product distribution from factories to villages in West Africa.
Angel investing in Australia is alive and well! That’s the message from day one of the 4th Annual Australian Association of Angel Investors (AAAI) conference which opened in Newcastle yesterday. The conference, in its fourth year, was created as a forum for Australian angels to network, learn and showcase industry best-practice.
What's interesting about the tally above is the lesson it offers in new media marketing. For example, the leading two 'cool companies' generated more than double the social media responses to the full list of eighteen finalists combined. But only one could be described as a 'new media' company with natural online reach.
Start with one person. Give them some light. Show them the way. That's what Barefoot Power is doing in developing communities in Africa and elsewhere. By replacing kerosene-fed lamps with its highly innovative and practical solar-powered LEDs, it provides the poor with access to electricity and one very necessary tool for economic development… light. For their tireless efforts toward raising up their fellow humans (while cleaning up the environment), Barefoot Power is king of the hill, top of the heap — the Coolest Company in Anthill’s 2010 Cool Company Awards!
The Smart Solar Desk Lamp was conceptualised in 2008 when it was apparent that there was no carbon data available from highly dispersed, tiny carbon emitters like kerosene lamps and cook stoves used by the global poor. Our Solar Desk Lamp had already gained market traction, but it was very difficult to find a method to cost-effectively measure carbon emission savings from eliminating kerosene lighting. Another Australian company, Daintree Networks, provided the basis of inspiration, at a CleanTech Conference, and the Chinese national distributors of a UK technology provided a partner for practical, low-cost development.