by Daniel Schnitzer
Held on the weekend of November 18th, 2011, TEDxPittsburgh:Power explored power as a concept from the subatomic scale to the cosmic, and with practical and philosophical implications. As EarthSpark’s Founder and Executive Director, Dan’s talk focuses on the core problem being addressed by EarthSpark in Haiti: energy poverty. Describing the realities of living in energy poverty, Dan also identifies the two biggest challenges to ending it: the lack of physical and financial access to clean energy products. Analogies are drawn to the telecommunications and retail industries - both of which were innovators in providing their customers with access. Telecoms had to figure out how to extend the “last mile” of phone lines to their most distant markets, and retailers like Bloomingdales had to figure out how to provide credit to their customers so they could afford better products.
EarthSpark is innovating on these fronts in Haiti to provide customers with physical and financial access to clean energy products. Our retailers reach Haitians in rural areas and sell solar products to them bundled with micro-loans backed by Fonkoze, a Haitian micro-lender, and on “rent-to-own” terms for less expensive products like efficient cookstoves.
As Dan mentions in his TED talk, Haitians living in the United States and Canada send $1.6 Billion to their friends and family in Haiti every year. This prompted us to think about how to channel those dollars directly into clean energy products. Today we are launching www.enejipwop.com, the first e-commerce site marketed to Haitians living in the United States and Canada to purchase clean energy products like solar home systems for immediate delivery to their friends and family in Haiti. Each sale is fulfilled by one of EarthSpark’s Enèji Pwòp entrepreneurs in Haiti, so each sale grows a local business. We urge you to take a look at the site, and share it with your friends in the Haitian community in the United States and Canada. We’re open for business!