Mar 6, 2020

Welcome New DEStudio Members!

Introducing our DEStudio Cohort
Introducing our DEStudio Cohort

During 2019, we hosted three, distinct DELabs for 40 entrepreneurs. In January, these individuals were invited to apply to to our DEStudio program. We are so pleased to announce that we have accepted 12 entrepreneurs to join the next cohort of DEStudio Members. These individuals will join the other 20 entrepreneurs who have been a part of the DEStudio since September! Over the course of the next year, they will gain knowledge to propel their businesses forward, perfect their pitches, make connections to partner organizations, and become investment-ready. 

Already, they are hitting the ground running. The DEStudio Members in the Southern Region of Malawi had a workshop this week on financial literacy and had the opportunity to have one-on-one site visits with our Programme Manager, Chifuniro Kandaya. In between in-person meetings, each Member will work on individual goal setting and Chifuniro will support and encourage them to reach milestones. 

Links:

Nov 19, 2019

Our Off-Grid Energy DELab is Complete!

Pitch practice
Pitch practice

Thank you! On the 16th of November, we completed our Off-Grid Energy DELab! We are so grateful for your support. Without it, we couldn’t do what we do.

Our Participants

We received more than 40 applicants and ended up with a cohort of 13 entrepreneurs working in the off-grid renewable energy sector. These individuals are starting up or scaling businesses working on solar energy, biofuel, clean cooking, or mini-grid development. One area where we see a major need for improvement is in the recruitment of female entrepreneurs in this sector. Unfortunately, only one of the 13 participants in this DELab was a woman. Each person attended the training program at Mzuzu University (locally known as Mzuni) for five full days of training, followed by a sixth day of pitching, a certificate ceremony, and, of course, photographs.

Our Facilitators

We are proud of the uniqueness of our program. Part of what differentiates us from other entrepreneurship training programs is the varied expertise of the facilitators. Fifteen individuals facilitated 25 sessions over the course of the five days. We covered topics ranging from Government Policy on Renewable Energy to Budget Forecasting, Planning, and Performance Management to Digital Marketing for the Future and a variety of topics in between. It was technical as we looked into the future of renewable energy in Malawi and also business-oriented as we encouraged the participants to make progress towards launching or scaling their enterprises.

Next Steps

In January we will open the Call for Applications into the DEStudio program to the Graduates from the DELab. This is our hybrid-incubator program where we work hand-in-hand with each DEStudio Member for a 12-month period. Thank you for being a part of this journey and for supporting access to electricity in Malawi through entrepreneurship!

Mathias and Hastings
Mathias and Hastings
Group presentations
Group presentations
Brainstorming
Brainstorming
Discussions
Discussions

Links:

Aug 22, 2019

Gearing Up for the DELab

Overview

The Off-Grid Energy DELab will take place in 12 weeks in partnership with the Test and Training Centre for Renewable Energy Technologies (TCRET) at Mzuzu University in Northern Malawi, from November 11th through 16th. We have been focused on our strategy and planning to ensure the DELab has a true impact. We are working hand-in-hand with our partners at TCRET, as well as our Flame Tree Fellows, to deliver a unique and innovative curriculum for our participants. 

Curriculum

So far, we have developed an initial draft of our DELab curriculum. We aren’t reinventing the wheel; we are taking lessons learned from past DELabs and applying them here. Topics like Financing for Start-Ups, Best Practices in Hiring, Goal Setting, and Business Pitching still apply for the Off-Grid Energy DELab. On the energy side, the curriculum is brand new. We’re excited to introduce new sessions like Productive Use of Energy and Managing Microgrids. We are working in partnership with TCRET to match facilitators with appropriate sessions, while also coordinating with our Flame Tree Fellows who will participate during the DELab. 

Recruitment

We are officially opening up our recruiting efforts on Friday, August 23rd. We are seeking candidates who are creative and innovative and aren’t afraid to think outside the box. We want people who are passionate about electrifying Malawi through small business. We don’t expect all participants to have all the technical knowledge needed, but we do need applicants to be fast learners who are interested in building their skill sets. Finally, we are looking for collaborators and team players as we recognize that partnerships can be a critical step forward in launching social enterprises. 

We will advertise the posting online and also share within our broad network in Malawi, including partners in the NGO, private, institutional, and higher education sectors. Although our original goal was to have 15 participants in the DELab, we are focused on quality over quantity. We are hoping to reach the best and brightest individuals who are striving to address energy poverty through enterprise. 

The applications will close on September 20th and we intend on inviting participants to join the DELab in early October. 

By the time we submit our next quarterly report, we will have completed the Project! Please stay tuned for more updates. Thank you for your continued support! 

 
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