Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.
Leaving the structure and security of Procter and Gamble, I took a sabbatical to work for UNICEF in Laos in my search for a job with a social mission at its core. This also meant moving from a highly structured, commercial role in the UK to being a communications consultant working with donors, much longer-term goals and within a highly political context.
Working with UNICEF across the country reinforced my desire to work addressing the causes of poverty internationally, and also confirmed that I value the speed, results- focus and efficiency mindset of the private sector. I sought to combine the best of both worlds, apply my commercial, corporate experience to developing and scaling solutions to tackle poverty, but with a more agile, responsive and smaller team. To make this transition I joined On Purpose, a leadership programme for social entrepreneurs.
My first placement was with the inventors of GravityLight, with whom I co-founded both The GravityLight Foundation and social enterprise, Deciwatt Ltd. Over the past 2.5 years, starting up two lean organizations with international scope, I have been responsible for our business strategy, partnership development, fundraising, HR, finances, legal and risk management, and more. To do so takes a combination of my corporate, NGO and social enterprise experience, with an ability to rapidly re-assess and adapt, a drive to learn, and to connect with others who can help make my vision for GravityLight a reality.
Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?
We are working with a number of experienced partners across the design, manufacture, assembly and distribution of GravityLight.
Award winning design consultancy, therefore, has incubated GravityLight, provides consultancy on its development and invaluable experience across a number of products and ventures they have taken from concept to commercialization.
Hogan Lovells provide pro-bono legal support and we have several technical advisors including Dave Tupman (Apple’s ex-VP of engineering) and Lionel Wolovitz (ex-Technical Director of Psion Dacom).
We are developing partnerships with the University of Edinburgh, and others, offering placement to MA students to support our monitoring and evaluation activities and analysis, for example.
To assemble GravityLight in Kenya, we are working with Burn, who create clean-burning Cookstoves and bring experience of transitioning operations from China to Kenya and similar consumer groups and sales channels.
We are in discussions with a number of experienced distribution partners, selling clean energy solutions to under-electrified households across Kenya and sub-Saharan Africa. Our approach is open and collaborative, working with distribution partners to understand what they need from their suppliers and with consumers, to shape the development of GravityLight and future product range.