Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.
From the moment a fruit or vegetable is harvested, it begins to lose value. Sun exposure causes the outer skin to burn or blemish, decreasing market value. Heat drains away moisture, shriveling away the body of the produce. Time ripens the meat of the produce, making it soft and mealy. In Morocco, this happens everywhere; spoilage is a real problem and it erodes at profits for farmers and coops. For example, COPAG, one of our partners in Morocco, faces spoilage rates of 20-30% for most of its goods. This means they lose 60 dirhams for every 100 kilo crate of tomatoes they ship. Our Evaptainers can reduce the spoilage rate by at least 10%, meaning our devices would pay themselves off in just 33 days.
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.
We've generated an incredible amount of interest and traction from our idea so far. We are currently MassChallenge finalists and will be participating in their accelerator program through the end of October.
In the next few months, we are working to finalize the design of our Evaptainer and prepare a test batch of 30-50 units. We are also in the process of patenting the device and raising capital from social impact angels and small business grants. Immediately after MassChallenge, we plan to launch our pilot in Morocco and work with our partner COPAG to begin testing the units in the field. Pending the success of the pilot, we will likely tweak the design one final time and sign a contract with a larger manufacturer, to begin full operation in Q2 of 2015.
Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?
Because our units are designed to be mass producible and easily scalable, our reach should extend far beyond Morocco. Having worked with several agricultural NGOs, I already have contacts at organizations such as ACDI/VOCA, Mercy Corps, Catholic Relief Services and NCBA/CLUSA - many of whom are working on agricultural value chain improvement projects. We plan to expand to areas such as Ethiopia, Tunisia and Namibia, initially working with NGO's, Government Agencies and cooperatives, but eventually reaching down to individual small holder farmers.