Courage of the Entrepreneur   Leave a comment

Brad and I heard about Enersa on a Netflix special called Poverty, Inc, which I highly recommend everyone watch.

The movie contends that poverty will not be solved by the poverty industry (you know, World Vision, UNESCO, Oxfam), but by entrepreneurs like Enersa.

ENERSA is a Haitian upstart created in 2007 after two years of research and development. They are Haiti’s only manufacturer and designer of solar panels and appliances.

They train unemployed young men from shantytowns to be qualified solar power technicians. They started in one of the partner’s garage and now occupy a 10,000 sq. foot facility where they have become an industry leader in the field of renewable energy designed for people living in the rural areas of third world countries.

They intend to serve millions of people that cannot be reached by the traditional market because existing products were not designed for their needs.

Starting in Haiti, the company nearly went out of business in 2010 when NGOs flooded the country with free solar panels in response to a need. Having survived that not so-helpful attempt at aid, they are now branching out into Senegal (West Africa) in partnership with  KAYER, a Senegalese company specialized in installation of solar system. The collaboration between two Third World enterprises in a high-tech field is marvelous to see.

It shows what is possible with minimal assistance and an entrepreneurial vibe. Not only are they providing light in parts of the world where electricity is hard to get, they are providing jobs for men who would otherwise not be working. The trickle-down effect here goes to these men’s families and communities. As they spend their income, the free exchange of goods lifts those around them out of poverty.

To me, that’s courage, especially when you consider that this is Haiti, whose people have been given every reason in the world to lie down and accept handouts. Keep stepping out in bravery, gentlemen.

http://www.1000jobshaiti.org/1000jobshaiti/inthenews.asp

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