10Power Recognized on Worthy 100 List

Worth Media has recognized 10Power CEO, Sandra Kwak, as one of their Worthy 100 Entrepreneurs of 2021 in the Environmental Betterment category.

The Worthy 100 is an annual roster of business innovators “working to make a serious impact both personally and through their businesses.”  Inspired by the pre-pandemic popularity of their original Power 100 list, Worth created the Worthy 100 in 2021 to “establish the new ethos of conscious capitalism that seeks to enrich a community well beyond its own management and investors”. Sandra Kwak is commended for her work in climate solutions and sustainability through 10Power. Worth identifies 10Power’s mission to “democratize renewable energy in Haiti”, the two-fold success 10Power solar projects in healing the planet and empowering underserved communities, as well as Kwak’s efforts to reduce global CO2 levels as a board member of the Foundation for Climate Restoration, as stand-out reasons for her inclusion in the Worthy 100. She is honored to be acknowledged among this remarkable group of leaders and innovators. 

Worth is a global media platform that connects individuals who embrace “worth beyond wealth.” Their content inspires and informs members of the professional community to “be their best selves and make an impact on the world”.  

10Power Certified by Map Collective as a Carbon Plan Member

10Power is proud to announce that it has been certified by Map Collective as a Carbon Plan member. Map Collective is helping companies and countries get to “net zero” with a an online hub for carbon footprint tracking, and locational environmental data. The collective helps individuals and organizations to understand their unique environmental impact, while creating personalized solutions to mitigate the risks of climate change. 10Power will be able to use this membership to help develop a plan to track global emissions reductions created by their energy access solar projects, taking into account the embodied energy in solar panels, batteries and equipment as well as emissions associated with operations.

“We’re grateful to the Map Collective team for their personalized assistance in calculating the company’s negative carbon footprint and positive environmental impact. We’re excited to use this certification and information to improve 10Power’s global impact,” said Sandra Kwak, 10Power Founder and CEO.

10Power is a social impact enterprise that provides renewable and reliable energy to communities that lack access to electricity through project development and finance for commercial-scale solar installations. Based in San Francisco, California and with operations centralized in Haiti, 10Power uses a unique, market-based approach to enable its customers to grow operations and create employment opportunities. 10Power also partners with local solar installers and provides training with attention to gender empowerment in pursuit of our mission to create regenerative international development through sustainable innovation.

Map Collective is a DC-based company which tracks global carbon usage and issues quotas and certifications to countries, businesses and smaller governmental municipalities hoping to help in the fight against climate change.

10Power Announced as Energy Globe National Award Winner

10Power is proud to announce that it has been recognized by the Energy Globe Foundation as the Energy Globe National Award winner for the country of Haiti. 

The Energy Globe Award is a prestigious environmental honor “awarded annually to projects saving our environment by personal action, sustainable projects, or campaigns for raising awareness in sustainability.” 10Power’s project, 10Power: Renewable Energy Access in Haiti, focuses on creating a path for a regenerative future that leverages renewable energy to provide clean drinking water, empower communities, and create a path to planetary prosperity. 

Established in 1999, the goal of the Energy Globe Award is to bring awareness to and provide a platform for sustainable projects that are implementing innovative solutions to environmental projects. More than 2,500 projects from 187 countries were submitted, and 10Power is honored to have been selected as a National Award winner by a jury of experts. Congratulations to all of the projects selected for this prestigious honor! Visit https://www.energyglobe.info/ for more information and to see all of the Energy Globe Award winners.

10Power is a social impact enterprise that provides renewable and reliable energy to communities that lack access to electricity through project development and finance for commercial-scale solar installations. Based in San Francisco, California and with operations centralized in Haiti, 10Power uses a unique, market-based approach to enable its customers to grow operations and create employment opportunities. 10Power also partners with local solar installers and provides training with attention to gender empowerment in pursuit of our mission to create regenerative international development through sustainable innovation.

10Power Partners With SimpliPhi Power to Bring Clean Energy to Haiti

SimpliPhi Power, a leading U.S. manufacturer of safe, non-toxic, cobalt-free lithium ion energy storage systems, has partnered with 10Power, a renewable energy project developer, to engage in a distributor relationship for the Haiti market, supporting Haitians through the COVID-19 pandemic as they prepare to become solar ready.

Access to electricity in Haiti is inconsistent, which causes households and businesses to install inefficient, environmentally harmful diesel generators. SimpliPhi’s 3.8 kWh batteries and Little and Big Genny Emergency Power Kits can replace or supplement these generators, reducing fuel costs and protecting Haitians from hazardous fumes.

“SimpliPhi is proud to partner with 10Power, a certified B Corp, to further our mission of empowering people and communities around the world with access to reliable, safe and affordable energy,” stated Catherine Von Burg, CEO of SimpliPhi Power. “We have witnessed firsthand the transformative impact that solar + storage has on the lives of people otherwise cut-off from power or that are dependent on expensive, dirty, fossil fuels and generators. Through this partnership, 10Power and SimpliPhi are committing to the people of Haiti to support sustainable development that has an economic, social, and environmental impact, improving their security now and into the future.”

10Power provides renewable energy project development and finance for commercial-scale solar projects in Haiti and will manage the distribution and installation of SimpliPhi batteries, providing reliable, sustainable electricity to families and local businesses. The SimpliPhi batteries’ lithium ferro phosphate (LFP) chemistry avoids runaway heat exchange problems linked to lithium ion batteries and does not use cobalt, which has ethical supply chain issues.

“We are thrilled to be providing reliable energy storage with SimpliPhi batteries in Haiti and other markets that do not have equal access to electricity,” said Sandra Kwak, 10Power Founder and CEO. “Clean power supports clean water, healthcare and life-saving equipment. We can install long-life, dependable batteries now to help our customers through the pandemic, and they will be solar-ready post-COVID.”

To date in the energy access market, commercial-scale solar has been deterred due to high upfront costs, but 10Power overcomes this barrier, championing the transition to renewable energy by financing solar projects and training local partners with a gender empowerment lens on how to care for and maintain the installations. During the COVID-19 pandemic, access to safe, reliable electricity is of the utmost importance as health clinics and households complying with shelter-in-place orders require this valuable resource. The SimpliPhi batteries will provide clean energy through the pandemic, and customers will be ready for solar installation as travel restrictions and social distancing guidelines are relaxed.

About SimpliPhi Power

With a mission to create universal access to reliable, safe and affordable energy, SimpliPhi Power designs and manufactures efficient, non-toxic and enduring energy storage and management systems that utilize environmentally benign lithium ferro phosphate (LFP) battery chemistry. Based in Oxnard, California, SimpliPhi combines the non-hazardous LFP energy storage chemistry with its proprietary cell and battery architecture, power electronics, Battery Management System (BMS) and manufacturing processes to create safe, reliable, durable and highly scalable on-demand power solutions for the residential, commercial, military, emergency response and film industries. For more information, please visit https://simpliphipower.com and follow us @SimpliPhiPower, on Facebook and LinkedIn.

About 10Power

Based in San Francisco, California and with operations centralized in Haiti, 10Power provides renewable energy internationally to communities that lack access to electricity through project development and finance for turn-key commercial-scale solar. 10Power partners with local solar installers and provides training with attention to gender empowerment in pursuit of our mission to create regenerative international development through sustainable innovation. Learn more at www.10pwr.com and follow us @10pwr (Twitter, Facebook), @10powercleangrowth (Instagram), and @10Power(LinkedIn)

10Power Announced as Meaningful Business 100

10Power is honored to be named Meaningful Business 100 by HotTopics.ht. This title is given to leaders in the business world that combine profit and purpose in order to help achieve the United Nations’ 2030 sustainable development goals.

The UN has listed 17 sustainable development goals and 169 targets on a universal agenda. The purpose of this docket is to stimulate action toward the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social, and environmental. Meeting these goals will help realize human rights for all and gender equality and empowerment globally.

HotTopics.ht is launching their Meaningful Business 100 platform to facilitate greater collaboration and enable greater positive impact to support the UN’s sustainable development goals. They received over 500 nominations from 50+ countries and assessed them across four categories: leadership, innovation, scope and durability. 10Power CEO, Sandra Kwak was honored along with 99 other top scoring business leaders this year.

See the full list of leaders here: https://www.hottopics.ht/35730/the-meaningful-business-100-2019/
#MB100 Meaningful Business Community HotTopics.ht

10Power Named B-Corp Best for the World Environment

10Power, a certified Benefit Corporation since April 2019, has been recognized a Best for the World Environment 2019 honoree in recognition of the firm’s sustainable business practices.

10Power is a social impact enterprise working with local partners to develop and finance commercial-scale solar projects. It is a core belief of the company that renewable energy is essential to provide clean water, gender empowerment, livelihood improvement, education and technology. 10Power seeks to provide renewable energy to the 1 billion people in the world living without electricity.

To become a certified B Corp, a company must score at least an 80 on an assessment administered by B Labs. B Labs is a global non-profit organization working to redefine success in business so that “companies compete not only to be the best in the world, but to be best for the world.” The assessment they administer measures a company’s impact across four categories: governance, workers, community, and environment. Over 5,000 companies have completed the full B Impact Assessment and approximately 900 have earned B Corp certification. 10Power achieved a 107.9 placing at the top 10% impactful companies on the planet.

Congratulations to all of the B-Corp honorees! See the other Best in the World Environment companies here: https://bcorporation.net/2019-best-for-the-world-environment

60 Women-Led Startups That Are Shaking Up Tech Across The Globe

Published in Forbes by Allyson Kapin: https://www.forbes.com/sites/allysonkapin/2018/09/19/60-women-led-startups-who-are-shaking-up-tech-across-the-globe/#7073193075da

We have a big problem in the startup and tech world that is not only squashing innovation, but is leaving billions of dollars on the table for every single investor. I’ve reviewed thousands of startup pitches and have found that many of the game-changing products that have the potential to make a huge impact on this world happen to be run by women and people of color. Despite this, only 10% of funding globally goes to women-led startups. And, as I’ve written about before, the funding for women of color is far more dismal.

For the past few years, many investors have publicly committed to funding more women founders, yet somehow, the percentage of women founders funded hasn’t budged. Even after the public scrutiny the tech sector experienced in the face of the #MeToo movement, the amount of funding for diverse startups is paltry. If investing in startups led by women and people of color were a product, it would be considered one of the biggest product failures in startup history as “a product that stagnates for two years has a growth problem,” said Bo Ren  who is a product adviser and investor.

Interestingly, hundreds of millions of dollars is being spent on diversity and inclusion initiatives by major tech companies to recruit more tech employees, but from what I see, not a dime of this is being spent on some of the company’s most important divisions: mergers and acquisitions and VC arms. If we crack that nut, it will open up a whole new world of funding being funneled into some of the most innovative companies around the world. There are thousands and thousands of women-led tech startups disrupting every industry you can think of: health, finance, transportation, education, fashion, energy, AI, Augmented Reality, and more.

Need some inspiration to find these next unicorns, or rather zebras, as Mara Zepeda, CEO and co-founder of Switchboard, and coauthors so eloquently stated? Here are 60 women-led startups (listed alphabetically) who are shaking up tech across the globe. A few on the list are companies that have been part of our Women Startup Challenges, where we are on a mission to close the funding gap. Others we’ve been following their products and traction. Research them. Introduce yourself to them. Fund them!

  1. #1. 10Power (Haiti) — 10Power invests in renewable energy projects that can be paid back over time, providing access to clean power in the places that need it most. Founder: Sandra Kwak
  2. Abartys Health (Puerto Rico) — A healthtech startup that facilitates and streamlines communication between insurance companies and healthcare providers. Co-founders: Dolmarie Mendez and Lauren Cascio
  3. Accompany (United States) — Through artificial intelligence and machine learning, Accompany is a virtual chief of staff, providing one with all of the information they need about anyone they are meeting with in a given day. Co-founder: Amy Chang
  4. AIM (Korea) — An automated investment management platform creating Korea’s very first robo-advisor for investment management. Founder: Jihae Jenna Lee
  5. Automio (New Zealand) — A lawyer bot that interviews clients and frees legal staff from tedious legal work. Founder: Claudia King
  6. Azimo (Poland and England) — Works with large payment companies worldwide to ensure that money transfers reach their destinations safely. They hold funds in most currencies around the world which means they can send money instantly to 60+ countries, and they work with partners in 195+ countries. Co-founder: Marta Krupinska
  7. Billie (United States) — A shave and body brand delivering premium-quality razors and skincare subscriptions at half the price of the competition. Founder: Georgina Gooley
  8. Chic by Choice (Portugal) — A next-generation dress rental player that allows women to access the newest designer dresses directly from the catwalk. Founder: Filipa Neto
  9. CloQ (Brazil) — Provides nano-credit and financial literacy resources, via an app, to the poor and the unbanked. Co-founder: Rafaela Cavalcanti
  10. Comparaonline (Chile, Colombia and Brazil) — A platform designed to add transparency to the process of purchasing insurance and applying for credit. Co-founder: Mariana Larrain
  11. DEKO EKO (Poland) — An upcycling platform that works with the best designers globally to create well-designed consumer products out of carefully selected waste materials from the largest companies and brands. Founder: Agata
  12. Frankiewicz
  13. Devoleum (Italy) — Tracks and stores every single step of the extra virgin olive oil supply chain in the blockchain allowing the final consumer to know the entire history of each product, from the comfort of their smartphone. Co-founder: Elisa Romondia
  14. Digitail (Spain) — Digitail is a software startup for veterinary clinics that is AI-enhanced, fully customizable and easy to use. Co-founder: Ruxandra Pui
  15. EmptyTrips (South Africa) — Through machine learning and smart matching algorithms, the EmptyTrips platformcreates a marketplace where shippers, agents, and transport carriers can connect, bid for cargo, find transport assets to move their cargo, and even store or insure it for faster logistics, better economics, and a significantly lighter carbon footprint. Founder: Benji Coetzee
  16. Enterprise Bot (Switzerland) — Develops AI powered chatbots to automate customer interactions and provide enterprises with a readily accessible digital agent to improve customer experience and create operationally efficiency for companies. Co-founder: Ravina Mutha
  17. Fove Inc (US and Japan) — Created the first consumer friendly priced VR headset with complete eye-tracking technology. Founder: Yuka Kojima
  18. GrabTaxi (Malaysia) — A mobile app that connects customers directly to taxi drivers via phone. They submitted the plan to a Harvard startup competition in 2011. GrabTaxi is now available in 21 cities across the region. Co-founder: Tan Hooi Ling
  19. Hatch Apps (United States) — Using their automated app creation platform, users can launch native apps for iOS, Android and the web with no coding required. Co-founder: Amelia Friedman
  20. Humanitas (Jordan) — The company’s mobile video app Dandi enables organizations and youth to collaborate on local community issues. Co-founder: Julia Solano
  21. ImpactVision (United States and England) — Combines hyperspectral imaging with machine learning to provide information about the quality of foods. Co-founder: Abi Ramanan
  22. INOREVIA (France) —  Develops and commercializes a new generation of patented technologies that miniaturize lab instrument volumes for analysis. This drastically reduces costs, time and manipulation necessary to perform next-generation bioassays and precision medicine. Co-founder: Amel Bendali
  23. JobsCentral (Singapore) — One of the largest job portals in Singapore with over 800,000 registered jobseekers at the time of its acquisition by US-based CareerBuilder in 2011. Co-founder, who exited: Shao-Ning Leigh Huang
  24. Laboratoria (Peru) — A Peruvian-based startup that teaches Latina women from low-income backgrounds to code for free. Co-founder: Mariana Costa Checa
  25. Mathaqi (Saudi Arabia) —  An on-demand platform for delivery of home cooked meals. Co-founder: Nouf Alsaleem
  26. Medina’s Health (United States) — A data-driven marketplace helping healthcare organizations safely and securely buy and sell their surplus and short-date medical supplies and equipment. Co-founder: Chloe Alpert
  27. Mellow (Portugal) — A sous-vide machine that takes orders through your smartphone and keeps food cold until it’s the right time to start cooking for you remotely. Co-founder: Catarina Violante
  28. Menstrual Health Hub (Germany) — An online global platform specifically designed to be the home for all menstrual health actors and organizations. *Not all women and girls menstruate and not all those who menstruate identify as women or girl. Co-founders: Danielle I. Keiser and Milena Bacalja Perianes and Mariana de la Roche
  29. Motivo (United States) — A platform providing clinical supervision for mental health professionals online. Founder: Rachel McCrickard
  30. Nano-X (Australia) — Changing the delivery of radiation therapy from large reference centres to small-town hospitals. An advanced on-board imaging/planning system captures 3D images in real-time, controls the radiation beam, and automatically delivers the right amount of energy to the right tissue, requiring fewer dedicated staff. Founder: Ilana Feain
  31. NotesFirst (United States) — Electronic health record (EHR) platform for physicians to capture patient data via smartphone. Co-founder: Patricia Lopez
  32. NOVA (Germany) — The first bluetooth headset that can be integrated in earrings with a built in speaker, microphone, and volume control. Co-founder: Judith Gampe
  33. ObjectBox (Germany) — The first high-performance NoSQL, ACID-compliant on-device database for mobile and IoT. It’s 10X faster than the industry leader, and takes only 1/10th of the code to implement. Founder: Vivien Dollinger
  34. PetCloud (Australia) — An online community for pet parents to connect with pet sitters who have been screened and are ready to care for your pet. Founder: Deb Morrison
  35. Pops Worldwide (Vietnam and Global) — Produces mobile apps as well as licensing and publishing media. Since September 2008, it has been accumulating the licenses and distribution rights for most of Vietnam’s music – up to 90%. It is the primary licensee of Vietnamese music on YouTube. Co-founder: Esther Nguyen
  36. Qerja (Indonesia) — Allows jobseekers and employees to share information about companies publicly – much like the U.S. platform Glassdoor. Users go to the site to find transparent information about a company’s pay scale and hiring practices. Co-founder: Veronika Linardi
  37. Sampson Solutions, Ltd. (England) — Creating bio-based construction materials from sustainable sources using a closed-loop, carbon neutral manufacturing process. Founder: Colleen Becker
  38. Savitude (United States) — An AI platform that curates personalized fashion collections based on shopper’s individual shape and proportion. Co-founder: Camilla Olson
  39. She Leads Africa (Africa) — One of the first accelerators in Africa for women-led startups. Co-founders: Yasmin Belo-Osagie and Afua Osei
  40. Shupperz (Israel) — A social platform for connecting shoppers from all over the world enabling them to interact, inspire, share content, and shop for one another. Co-founder: Tal Rubenstein
  41. Sidekix (United States) — An urban discovery app which provides interest based routes across categories including shopping, culture, and nightlife. The app has had over half a million global downloads since its launch in 2016. Co-founder: Jenny Drezin
  42. SIRUM (United States) — SIRUM (Supporting Initiatives to Redistribute Unused Medicine) is the “match.com” for unused, unexpired medicine, matching it with people in need. Co-founder: Kiah Williams
  43. SocialCar.com (Spain) — A leading peer to peer car rental company (P2P carsharing). Founder: Mar Alarcon Batlle 
  44. Solenica (Italy) — A smart natural lighting robot with an Italian design that’s beautiful, affordable and easy-to-use. They bring real sunlight into your home where the sun can’t reach. Co-founders: Diva Tommei and Mackenzie Garrity
  45. Solstice Energy Solutions (United States) — IoT and software to easily monitor, manage and control consumers and businesses energy sources in emerging markets. Co-founder: Ugwem Eneyo
  46. Tipa (Israel) — The company is set to address the dire need for food packaging that is genuinely ecologically-sensitive. Tipa is developing revolutionary biodegradable packages that automatically “perish” within 180 days. Co-founder: Daphna Nissenbaum
  47. Tonic App (Portugal) — An app for medical doctors. It increases the efficiency of clinical work: allows fast and safe discussion of patient cases, team collaboration and aggregates content for day-to-day professional use, such as drug conversion tables or clinical calculators. Co-founder: Daniela Seixas
  48. Travelshoot (Australia) — A service that helps you book a local photographer while travelling. Founder: Sarah Pearce
  49. TRIK (England) — A Google map for structural inspection that turns photos from drones into a digital 3D model. You can make comments, take measurements or compare changes directly from the time-lapse 3D models. Co-founder: Pae Natwilai
  50. Tutored (Italy) — A social app, tackling youth unemployment, dedicated to college students and talent acquisition. Co-founder: Martina Mattone
  51. Unima (Mexico) — Fast and low cost diagnostic and disease surveillance technology for diseases which allow doctors, nurses and community health workers to diagnose diseases directly at the point of care, in less than 15 minutes. Co-founder: Laura Mendoza
  52. VitalSines (Canada) — Creator of iHeart, a fingertip device that calculates your internal age. Co-founder: Sarah Goodman
  53. Vitrue Health (England) — A system that sits in the background of clinical assessments, autonomously measuring motor function metrics, freeing clinicians to focus on more complex patient interactions and saves millions in healthcare costs. Co-founder: Alex Haslehurst
  54. Vouchery.io (Germany) — A predictive coupon, discount & loyalty automation platform that optimizes promotional strategy for customer engagement, while preventing coupon fraud. Co-founder: Ewelina Robaczek
  55. Wala (South Africa) — A financial services app driving economic participation in emerging markets. Founder: Tricia Martinez
  56. Wazi Vision (Uganda) — Provides more affordable means of diagnosing refractive errors among children & provides eye glasses made from recycled plastic. Founder: Brenda Katwesigye
  57. Womena (United Arab Emirates) — A platform that promotes diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship in the Middle East. Co-founder: Elissa Freiha
  58. WOOM (Spain) — A bespoke app that empowers women to maximize chances to be pregnant, gain time and eventually have kids faster; either through natural conception or, in necessary cases, by seeing a doctor. Co-founders: Laurence Fontinoy and Clelia Morales
  59. Yask (Columbia) — A global community of native speakers paired with AI and gamification to offer quality translations and proofreading in real time. Co-founder: Andrea Higuera Araque
  60. Zeplin (Turkey and United States) — A connected space for product teams where they can share designs, generate specs, assets, and code snippets. Co-founder: Pelin Kenez
  61. ZipMatch (Philippines) — A real estate portal that lists and reviews properties for sale and rent and adds a professional touch on property brokerage by taking out old industry habits of cutting corners and pushing for sales without a strong sense of customer service. Co-founder: Chow Paredes

Author Allyson Kapin is the founder of Women Who Tech and the cofounder of the social change web agency Rad Campaign. Follow her on Twitter.



EarthX: 10Power wins Clean Tech Woman of the Year Award, Announced as Keeling Curve Prize Finalist

Dallas Texas – at the ninth annual EarthX convening, social impact organization 10Power was awarded the Clean Tech Woman of the Year Award and Announced as Keeling Curve Prize Finalist in the Energy Access category. EarthX attracts more than 130,000 people interested in creating a sustainable world for all living things, and a healthier planet for future generations and  includes three days of exhibitions, a film festival, music, entertainment, learning experiences, discussions, forums, and conferences making it the world’s largest gathering to positively discuss achievable solutions for environmental change. More information about EarthX is available online at www.earthx.org.

“The Keeling Curve Prize is named for the iconic Keeling Curve, which shows the increase of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere as measured from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. Bending that curve – reducing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere — is the key to curbing climate change” (citation). Visit www.kcurveprize.org for more information.


10Power Announces Certification as a B-Corporation™

10Power, a company building renewable ecosystems in markets that lack access to reliable electrical grids, is proud to announce it has achieved certification as a B Corporation™


Certified B Corporations are leaders of a global movement of people using business as a force for good. They meet the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability and aspire to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. There are more than 2,500 Certified B Corporations in over 130 industries and 60 countries with 1 unifying goal – to redefine success in business.


“Since starting the company it has always been my goal for 10Power to become a certified B Corp,” says founder and CEO, Sandra Kwak. “The values of this community are synonymous with 10Power’s values of creating a regenerative path for international development.”


To become a Certified B Corp™, B Lab, the nonprofit that certifies B Corps™ and supports companies using business as a force for good, conducted a rigorous evaluation of 10Power and determined the company met the comprehensive performance standards to qualify for certification. In this process 10Power answered more than 250 questions about its business practices and had those answers verified by B Lab. 10Power scored an overall 107.9 points, compared to the minimum standard needed for certification of 80 points, and the median score for all Certified B Corps™ of 97.

GreenBiz Spotlights 10Power

The Innovators

10Power aims to tap energy potential in this ‘stand-out’ island nation


10 Power 


10Power Head Solar Engineer Lesly Theard explains engineering diagrams for the UNICEF Haiti solar project to solar engineering students from Haiti Tech University.

Overlay a map of energy poverty with a map of solar energy potential and there is one stand-out location in the Americas — Haiti. Currently, 85 percent of the island is powered by imported fossil fuels, leaving its population of 11 million with expensive electricity and transportation costs.

In recent months, Haiti has been stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to its major energy source, petrol. Thanks to the PetroCaribe Fund, whereby Venezuela subsidized oil exports to Haiti and other Caribbean countries, Haitians from all economic backgrounds were able to benefit from more affordable energy. However, Venezuela has been unable to maintain the subsidy, given its domestic economic concerns.

The Haitian government is thus subsidizing its own fuel at about 2 percent of GDP, and the International Monetary Fund is pressuring the government to stop these subsidies. To comply with IMF demands, the Haitian government attempted to raise the prices on gas by 38 percent, kerosene by 51 percent and diesel by 47 percent. Logically, Haitians protested.

With all of the petrol tribulations, it’s clear that solar energy and electric vehicles need to scale now, and scale fast, in Haiti.

Proponents of large, centralized electricity generation, transmission and distribution systems must start to ask if that paradigm of infrastructure is the right one for energy access and resiliency. The electric grid in Haiti provides access to less than one-third of the population, and that access is spotty at best. Businesses, from agriculture to manufacturing, cannot rely on the centralized system.

Enter 10Power, a gender-lensed solar energy and storage startup, founded by Sandra Kwak.

While attending Presidio Graduate School, Kwak worked on a project with a Nicaraguan evergreen fund bringing solar energy to farmers. “I found it incredibly unfair that those most impacted by climate change had the least to do in creating it,” Kwak says. She later went to AutoGrid, excited by saving megawatts of electricity at the click of a mouse with the help of big data and machine learning.

10Power CEO and Founder Sandra Kwak

10Power CEO and Founder Sandra Kwak

However, from a social equity perspective, Kwak felt unfulfilled. She began to research the data in her spare time and learned that energy poverty is centered around the equator. “When I looked at the places with the highest cost of electricity and the lowest access to electricity, Haiti jumped out — and it was super close to home,” she says. So Kwak says in 2015, it was a no-brainer to visit Haiti for the first time as a humble learner. She says she found that after people saw you a third time, they began to take you seriously, and recognize that you weren’t the typical fly-in and fly-out foreigner. Haiti was filled with one-time deals that just weren’t working. A new approach was needed.

After listening tours, market research and on-the-ground observation, Kwak decided to address what is known as productive energy — energy used for commercial and industrial (C&I) purposes. If jobs are the foundation of economic prosperity, then C&I energy is the foundation for those jobs. And while there has been considerable progress globally in the pay-as-you-go residential solar lighting space, the commercial scale solar industry required to fuel resilient economies is still a big missing piece of energy access.

There is a famous Chinese proverb, “Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach a person to fish and you feed them for a lifetime.” As Kwak put it, “People in Haiti know how to fish; they just need cold chain storage to get their fish to market.”

10Power serves as a solar project developer and financer. The name was inspired by the “each one teach 10” idea, whereby one can scale resilience from the bottom-up if one empowers 10 people so much that they, in turn, influence 10 more people. 10Power’s first market is Haiti. Why isn’t Haiti beaming with solar panels, given the low cost of solar and availability of sunshine? Financing, Kwak answers. “Even though solar electricity is cheaper than diesel, still even the multimillion dollar businesses in Haiti do not want to commit working capital for the upfront costs.” 10Power aims to remove that barrier by providing financing for turnkey solar installations.

As a startup CEO, Kwak does a little bit of everything. To succeed, she must be flexible and determined. “You have to be unyielding in pursuing your goals and also be ready to roll with the punches.” She has built strong relationships with local team members, and hires Haitian installers for all projects. “I’m grateful that 10Power has been able to attract top talent in Haiti,” she says. There are four Haiti-based team members with international engineering experience and one team member in the U.S. with credit expertise in emerging markets.

10Power is raising a Series A funding round, one of its biggest challenges to date. It has received investment from a number of angels and early stage investing funds, including the Force for Good FundSheEO, Echoing Green and individuals. Kwak points to a number of capital sources that can be more easily accessed than even five years ago, including high-net-worth individuals who would like to have social, environmental and financial returns in their investing, accelerators with grant and other early-stage sources of capital, and impact debt (country-adjusted rates for well understand business models such as selling electrons). What is missing is the catalytic finance — the kind that blends different forms of capital to take on emerging market risk. “There is no blended capital term sheet on Sand Hill,” Kwak laments.

With a portfolio pipeline of over 50 megawatts of projects representing over $100 million, the current raise will allow 10Power to invest in $10 million worth of solar and storage C&I projects. 10Power recently completed a flagship installation at UNICEF Haiti: the largest solar array on any UNICEF base in the world. The system consists of PV panels and Lithium Ferro Phosphate energy storage and serves UNICEF Haiti’s operations base, including the data center.

“In Haiti, we can demonstrate that it is possible to decouple carbon emissions from prosperity. Developing countries do not have to follow the antiquated order of mandatory industrialization and exploitation before participation in climate action. It is more advantageous to everyone to transition straight into regenerative economics,” Kwak says.

I second that thought. As this wraps up the last feature in this 1 Hotels Environmental Entrepreneurssponsored series, I invite readers to consider supporting women-led startups, which receive less than 5 percent of venture capital. Here are three ways: contributing to the Force for Good loan-loss reserve; becoming a SheEO activator; and investing in any of the startups in the series if you are an accredited investor.


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