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The interest in the second Scaling Development Ventures conference has been more than enthusiastic. A few short weeks after opening registration, the conference was oversubscribed, with over 350 people now attending.
We are pleased with the exciting roster of speakers we have lined up for the conference panel sessions: Appropriate Solutions for Real Needs, Partnering for Scale, and MiT Alumni Scaling Up Innovation. Click on the links for full descriptions and speaker bios. 
Paul Polak will deliver the conference keynote address, "The Business Solution to Scale: 100 Million Customers at a Time." Paul is the co-author of the new The Business Solution to PovertyGuest speaker Nancy Wimmer, author of Green Energy for a Billion Poor, will discuss "The Art of Rural Business."  -- Read on for all Scale-Ups news!

Report from Morocco: Livelihood Technologies

Scale-Ups staff members Nadia Elkordy and Gwyn Jones are wrapping up a three-week trip in connection with ongoing research on livelihood technology needs in Morocco. While there, they are validating needs originally identified by D-Lab last year while building their understanding of the Moroccan agricultural and energy sectors, establishing a base of collaborators and project staff, and meeting with key market stakeholders in both sectors. Read blog. This research is made possible by a gift from Grameen-Jameel Microfinance.
Report from Kenya: Water transport and storage
D-Lab staff members are currently in Kenya to learn about water-related needs. Through interviews, observation, focus groups, immersion, and co-design sessions, they seek to understand needs, gather feedback on current water transport and storage methods, and solicit reactions to less familiar products. In true D-Lab fashion, they left their assumptions at home, and are taking a hands-on and experiential approach to their work. Read full blogThis research is made possible by a gift from Greif.
MIT Industry Workshop on Social Impact

This week, with the assistance of the MIT Industrial Liaison Program, D-Lab will bring together representatives from industry to discuss aligning with MIT to create a positive social and economic impact on people living in poverty around the world. Participating companies and organizations include Air Liquide, Unilever, Danone, Greif, Kohler, General Electric, Grameen Foundation, Mars, Michelin, Schneider-Electric, Saipem, Vodafone, Schlumberger, Sustainable Food Lab and SC Johnson.

Fellow Blog: Alex Hornstein - Tiny Pipes - Philippines

MIT alum Alex Hornstein is the newest of the Scale-Ups fellows. From his latest blog about his current work in the Philippines: "My company, tinyPipes, is a solar utility company for unelectrified homes. We install solar panels that act like pre-paid cell phones for energy. Users buy "load" on a panel by making a payment via mobile phone or at a local store, and the panel gets a signal over the cellular network to unlock for a certain amount of time to deliver energy to the user. Read more.

Fellow Blog: Suprio Das - Zimba - India

From Suprio Das: "Soon Zimba will start working with a micro-entrepreneur (ME) based business model. Just as we have gone through several iterations of the technology before we came up with the current design we know that we will also have to go through several iterations of our business model. We have identified and trained two possible MEs who would maintain Zimbas in the field and collect payment from the communities using Zimba." Read more.

MoringaConnect raises over $25K with Indiegogo!
Kwami Williams and Emily Cunningham, cofounders of MoringaConnect, recently concluded a successful Indiegogo campaign, exceeding their goal of raising $25,000.

MoringaConnect sources organically cultivated seeds from smallholder farmers in Ghana to produce cold-pressed Moringa oil for formulators of hair and skincare products worldwide.

MoringaConnect began in a D-Lab class in 2012, and completed Scale-Ups Phase I and Phase II fellowships. Read more.
Zimba Acknowledged by Cooper-Hewitt Director
Caroline Baumann, Director of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum picked Zimba as one of the most significant developments having ramifications for the future. She writes in Metropolis magazine: "I admire Zimba's automatic chlorine dispenser, designed by Suprio Das. The device delivers clean water by precisely mixing chlorine at the required levels. The scale, safety, simplicity, and low cost of this initiative is impressive." Read article.
Market Research for Green Bio Energy in Uganda
Lisa Holub and Elizabeth Saunders, students at the Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, recently travelled to Uganda on behalf of Scale-Ups and the Harvest Fuel Initiative (HFI). Their goal was to help one of the HFI alternative coal enterprises, Green Bio Energy, further develop its charcoal briquette marketing strategy. Specifically, they sought to better understand how to reach the most impoverished consumers in Uganda's capital of Kampala. Read full blog.
D-Lab Staff & Students Travel to Uganda 
D-Lab research associate Dan Sweeney and five D-Lab students have just returned from Uganda where they shared their technical expertise, enthusiasm, and hard work with HFI partners Teso Women Development Initiative in Soroti and the Nakabale Intergrated Development Group in Bugiri. Dan and the students worked on a variety of projects including emissions testing of stoves and briquettes, trying out new a solar dryer design, and testing different carbonization techniques. Read more. 
Design for Scale: Reflections on the Course

Twelve students worked on design projects for social ventures in the Scale-Ups fellowship program: 1) improving manufacturability and performance of the Wecyclers waste collection cart in Lagos, Nigeria, 2) improving manufacturability and reducing cost of the Zimba chlorine dispenser in West Bengal, and 3) reducing cost and improving usability of the PortaTherm typhoid diagnostic in rural Nepal. The three ventures were delighted with the students' work and hope to implement many of their ideas! Read full blog.

Scaling Development Ventures Panel Sessions

The MIT Scaling Development Ventures conference brings together exciting perspectives from the international development and business communities to examine the best way to bring poverty-alleviating solutions to market at scale. Session I is titled "Appropriate Solutions to Real Needs." Session II focuses on "Partnering for Scale." Session III focuses on "MIT Alumni Making Scaling up Innovation." And don't miss the MIT student poster session! Conference details here.

Paul Polak to Deliver Keynote Address at SDV

D-Lab Scale-Ups is pleased to announce that Paul Polak, widely regarded as the father of market-centered approaches to development, will deliver the keynote address at the Scaling Development Ventures conference. Paul is the author of Out of Poverty, and The Business Solution to Poverty (2013 with Mal Warwick), described by Bill Clinton as "One of the most hopeful propositions to come along in a long time . . . original, ambitious, and practical." Read more.

SDV Special Guest: Nancy Wimmer of microSOLAR

Nancy Wimmer will deliver a talk entitled, "The Art of Rural Business." Nancy's recent book, Green Energy for a Billion Poor - How Grameen Shakti Created a Winning Model for Social Business, describes for the first time how an entrepreneurial rural energy service company started from scratch and after 17 years became a world leader in off-grid solar energy and is helping to guide entrepreneurs in developing countries and university students. Read more.

About D-Lab Scale-Ups

Located at D-Lab, MIT's fast-growing and highly regarded educational and technology development program, Scale-Ups was created to identify and support technology-based ventures with potential for wide scale poverty alleviation.


Since launching in 2011, D-Lab Scale-Ups has established a  fellowship program for MIT-affiliated social entrepreneurs, a technical assistance program for social enterprises in the developing world, as well as a program that identifies technology development and dissemination projects in collaboration with companies which have both a social mission and wide distribution channels in Base of the Pyramid markets. 


Scale-Ups Fellowships Projects Past & Present




Harvest Fuel Initiative Charcoal Enterprises 


Scale-Ups was created in 2011, with generous support from Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI), to identify and support technologies with potential for wide-scale poverty alleviation. 

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