From March 6-8 was the Clinton Global Initiative University at the University of Miami. Because the Energant team is scattered all throughout the US, it was nice for some of the team to finally meet in one place!
CGIU 2015 was such an enriching experience. There were so many people from all over the USA and all over the world, and to see us all unified through one event helped us all to connect even more. We could barely keep up with all the groups and projects that we saw throughout the event!
The speakers too were so moving and inspiring with their stories and experiences, especially those that we could really relate with. For example, Wanjira Mathai, Director of the Partnership of Women's Entrepreneurship in Renewables (wPOWER) Hub at Wangari Maathai Institute, really brought to light to the audience about the issues of cooking with open fires and the health implications, which really resonated with us since we are tackling the very same issue. Traditional cook stoves emit so much smoke and pollution that affects not just the people breathing in this smoke, but ultimately, our atmosphere.
Later in the day, we attended an interview where we were selected by Laureate International Universities to talk about Energant and how we got started. Since they only needed one representative from the group for the interview, Jacqueline was the one who ended up being interviewed.
Thank you Laureate International Universities for the opportunity!
CGIU 2015 was an experience we'll never forget, and we're thankful for the connections we made and the people we got to meet, as well as having part of our Energant team meet and attend this event together.
Entrepreneurism is all about the unexpected twists and turns and the way you handle them. It's been a very busy time, pivoting and re-planning constantly! After a lengthy ordeal obtaining our shipment of stove parts from customs, we finally received our parts. We want to give a special thanks and our utmost gratitude to Jocelyn C. Caraig, Levy Balderas, Francis Uy, Eduardo Gatab, and the staff at UPS Cebu for going above and beyond their call of duty and delivering our package to us in as timely a manner as possible.
Even though we were unable to execute exactly according to plan, our pilot study is still moving forward and taking off! The families have been very excited with the arrival of their stoves and have been using them.
Things are looking good as we continue with our pilot study. Everyday is a learning experience, and we look forward to the feedback we receive to improve KleanCook and make it the best it can be.
We went through a tough, yet exciting, journey of assembling the KleanCook, and now it’s almost ready for distribution for our pilot study in the Philippines!
We’ll be able to carry out our CGI U Commitment to Action by providing 10 stoves to 10 families, so keep a lookout for updates on our progress.
It's crunch time! We're two weeks away from officially starting our pilot study, and let me tell you, it's been very stressful.
Logistics have been especially tricky. We have been trying to ship the components we have ordered from various sources to one central location to be shipped out, in order to ease shipping costs. It's been difficult when some components are late and the shipping carriers only leave on specific days of the week. Our entire package of components would have arrived a week after our pilot study was supposed to begin had we not caught on that there would be extra delays from customs! So it is air-shipped, and will now arrive before our study.
We can only do so much planning. We may think that we have imagined enough scenarios to keep us on track; however, there is always something unforseen, and oftentimes the best way to avoid those are to give enough time to oneself.
Overall, we're very anxious and excited for the study. We don't know how it'll turn out, but we're very sure that it will be insightful.
After assembling the stove, we foraged for wood around the area. The trees here are always cut and left on the ground for some time before being disposed. We were lucky to find nicely-sized oak logs. However, each one was extremely heavy. I believe many people fail to understand how heavy each of these "mini" logs was, and how much effort it takes to transport just one, let alone multiple "mini" logs. We have a better appreciation for how people around collect their wood and how much they can really collect in one day.
We propped our stove on some bricks to let in air since we haven't installed the air flow openings yet. Even if the air flow wasn't as optimal, the fire was raging without much fuel. KleanCook actually looks the part of a "rocket stove".
We made it! After many months of struggle and anticipation, we've won Honorable Mention at Big Ideas @ Berkeley. We are utterly shocked about making it this far in the competition. We had great help from our mentor Dr. Lina Nilsson (right), the Director of Innovation at the Blum Center for Developing Economies and Phillip Denny (left), the Big Ideas coordinator. We may have won some seed money; however, what we really won was clarity in what we want to do and meeting an amazing network of socially-responsible people.
Congrats to all the teams out there who competed! It was a hard battle, and I am sure that everyone benefited from undergoing the process.
Mark is an amazing cook - he cooks nothing less than gourmet and loves it (I'm a lucky co-founder). On a whim he decided to raise money off of his cooking, and we got our supplies ready for cooking mango-habanero ribs with sides for the night. When we used to eat red meat, they were the most amazing ribs we have ever had.
We started selling ribs at around 8 pm, which we realized was not the best time because everyone who had passed us had already eaten or was carrying dinner. I had to leave early; however, Mark continued manning the table. People started buying at 11 pm, and then a deluge of people from up the street came down because of a concert in that area that had finished. Needless to say Mark sold all of his food by 1 am. He also met many interesting people and people interested in KleanCook.
[edit: one of the people that he met (pictured below) was a writer for the Daily Cal, the campus newspaper. She wrote an article about us. A few weeks later, we made an extremely valuable connection with someone who read this article off of their own newsfeed. Moral of the story: it pays to open yourself to experience and network. You never EVER know what will become of it.]
Clinton Global Initiative University took place in Arizona State University (what a beautiful campus). Fun fact: ASU has the most solar panels of any university in the US.
We had the opportunity to attend multiple speaking sessions which included the presence of experts in their realm, such as Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, the Clinton family, and Jimmy Kimmel (he was there to be funny).
We will be competing with other select CGIU-accepted projects for prize money, mentorship, and a valuable network. I'm so anxious and excited! CGIU is coming up so fast!
Dear CGI U SVC Competitor,
According to the Resolution Project website,
Resolution has a proven model for identifying and inspiring young leaders through our Social Venture Challenges (“SVCs”) and Resolution Fellowships: