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

“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 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.


Link to article:


10Power Announced as CREF 2018 Industry Award Winner


The Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (CREF), the largest annual gathering of the regional clean energy market, today announced 8 winners for its second annual CREF Industry Awards. The winners were recognized on stage at the 10th CREF in Miami.

10Power, 121 Consulting and SMA were honored with the Project Addressing Social and Environmental Impacts Award for their project on UNICEF Haiti. The project was implemented in conjunction with the Haitian firm OmniTek and employed local Haitian solar installers. 10Power also provided training opportunities for women engineering students in Haiti Tec University and Solar Electric Light Fund’s solar technician program.

The project is the largest solar installation on any UNICEF base in the world to date. It includes photovoltaic generation and energy storage and is powering UNICEF Haiti’s operations base including the facility’s data center. “We are grateful on behalf of our entire team to receive this award,” said 10Power CEO and Founder, Sandra Kwak. “This project is exciting because it tackles multiple UN Sustainable Development Goals and demonstrates that Haiti can be a leader in clean growth.”

New Energy Events, the organizers of CREF, developed the awards to recognize the leaders in the Caribbean energy sector who are making a lasting impact on resilient and renewable energy. Many award winners are first-movers, forging a path for project development in the region.

“Ten years ago, projects of any description in the Caribbean were few and far between,” said Matthew Perks, CEO of New Energy Events. “That we can now generate awards for eight impactful projects is evidence of just how far the market has come in the past decade. The awards serve to underscore the trajectory of the market, but also to provide a benchmark for excellence in the development of renewables across the region.”

The awards program drew candidates from across the Caribbean region, including Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Haiti. The selected award winners represent the entities who have had a profound impact on the region’s clean energy development. “With the continued tenacity and innovation of organizations like these, the Caribbean’s switch to a clean and resilient energy grid will be much sooner than many thought possible,” said Advisory committee member Adam Carter, Managing Director, Head – Investment Banking, CIBC FirstCaribbean, “2018 has been another growth year for renewables.”

Award recipients were chosen by an industry-leading Advisory Committee including Chris Burgess, Director of Projects, Rocky Mountain Institute; Nils Janson, Executive Vice President, Castalia Advisors; Jennifer DeCesaro, Acting Director of Technology to Market Program, U.S. Department of Energy; Adam Carter, Managing Director, Head – Investment Banking, CIBC FirstCaribbean; Emily Chessin, Senior Associate, The Cadmus Group; Doug Hewson, Managing Partner, Portland Private Equity; and Julie Taylor, Editorial Director, New Energy Events.



  • Lifetime Achievement in Energy Leadership: Tessa Williams Robertson
  • Utility Scale Solar: Monte Plata Solar, Dominican Republic
  • Energy Storage Project: Andres and Los Mina Advancion Energy Storage Arrays, Dominican Republic
  • Distributed Generation Project: FortisTCI U.O.R.E and C.O.R.E Program, Turks and Caicos
  • Microgrid: Mirebalais Hospital, BHI and SMA Sunbelt as technical partner, Haiti
  • Energy Efficiency Project: Caribbean Hotel Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Programme (CHENACT)
  • Project Addressing Social and Environmental Impacts: UNICEF Haiti, 10Power, 121, SMA, Haiti
  • Energy Leadership MVP: Leroy Abraham, CEO, British Virgin Islands Electricity Corporation


10Power Featured in Forbes Article

Solar Startup Brings Renewable Energy To Haitian Businesses

By: Neil Yeoh

One of the most exposed countries in the world to natural disasters, Haiti, an independent island state in the Caribbean with a population of close to 11 million, has been hit by hurricanes, floods and earthquakes with increasing ferocity and frequency. In 2016, Hurricane Matthew wiped out agricultural farms in South Haiti, which prior that year brought 74% of the country’s new jobs.

Although sharing the island with neighboring Dominican Republic where everyone has access to electricity, Haiti has limited access to electricity – where only 38% of Haitians in 2016 have a connection to the electrical grid, a small improvement from 28% of Haitians in 1990. Even those with access to the grid today still experience frequent blackouts and unreliable power quality.

Despite dealing with natural disasters and energy poverty, Haiti has optimistically made hard commitments to create a renewable energy economy.

In September 2017, the Haitian Parliament eliminated import tariffs and duties on solar equipment (the US, moving in the opposite direction, imposed a 30% import tariff on Chinese solar panels only a few months later in January 2018). Economy and Finance Minister Jude Alix Patrick Salomon stated in an interview with Haiti newspaper Le Nouvelliste, “we wanted to encourage, as part of this budget, the acquisition of equipment from alternative sources of energy.”

 Haiti is also positioned well for solar. A study by Worldwatch calculated that Haiti receives a comparable amount of average annual sunlight (calculated in global horizontal radiance) to sunny Phoenix, Arizona, making Haiti ideal for solar power. With the high cost of imported diesel, solar is cost competitive and with financing is immediately cost advantageous in Haiti.

How will large-scale solar be implemented in Haiti?

Leading the charge, millennial female social entrepreneur, Sandra Kwak, and founder of social venture 10Power, is pioneering the way in Haiti by fostering the collaborative support of the public and private sectors. Working in frontier markets, 10Power partners with local installers, providing and financing project developments for commercial-scale solar and energy storage solutions. In turn, this builds market ecosystems. “Our goal is to provide affordable, reliable renewable energy that will save businesses money and create jobs,” says Kwak.

10Power estimates the addressable market for commercial-scale solar in Haiti is currently over $500 million . The company has a current sales pipeline of over $100 million. “Haiti has the potential to quickly become a renewable energy powerhouse,” says Kwak. “The steps that are being taken in this direction are encouraging.”

Launched in 2016, the company has financed and installed solar power for two water purification centers, providing clean drinking water to surrounding schools and communities and supporting over 600 micro-enterprises, majority women-led. 10Power is continuing its work with plans to implement a large-scale solar energy project with an undisclosed international NGO in the coming months.

Kwak’s efforts to date have been recognized, from being awarded an Echoing Green Fellowship (Disclaimer: I work for Echoing Green) to most recently receiving investments from LIFT Economy Force for Good Fund and SheEO.

10Power’s enthusiasm for solar in Haiti is shared and supported by the local government. The Haitian Ministry of Public Works, Transportation and Communications (MTPTC) is working with the World Bank to develop a framework to deploy sustainable mini-grids. “It is exciting to see private sector and international development partnerships taking off,” says Nicolas Allien, Senior Energy Specialist and SREP-CTF Projects Coordinator at MTPTC. “We are implementing well-targeted financial instruments and policy measures in order to attract private sector investments in both on-grid and off-grid renewable energy solutions.”

Haitian President, Jovenel Moïse has set a goal of 24-hour electricity, which he announced in June 2017. His government has formed a National Regulatory Authority for the Energy Sector (ANARSE) led by Evenson Calixte, who is tasked with “facilitating the transition [of the energy sector] from a quasi-monopoly to unprecedented openness to the participation of other state actors…from the private sector.”

So what?

Haiti, despite dealing with natural disasters and energy poverty, is committed and positioned to achieve a renewable energy future. Emerging nations, such as Haiti, should not be underestimated in their potential to shift rapidly to a green future, leapfrogging the fossil fuels industry , with long-term investment and support from the public and private sectors. “Distributed renewable energy has the potential to increase resiliency, prosperity and power sustainable development,” says Kwak, and to achieve this at scale social ventures, such as 10Power, are critical.


Article Link:

10Power Announced as Top 5 SheEO Venture

10Power is honored to be a Top 5 US SheEO Venture alongside Ayzh, Greensulate, In This Together Media and LOLIWARE. SheEO is a radical new model for women investors to finance, support and celebrate female entrepreneurs.

SheEO founder Vicki Saunder’s vision is to create a $1 billion perpetual fund with 1 million activators supporting 10,000 women-led ventures to support women for generations to come. See Forbes article.

Each SheEO cohort of women investors “Activators” contribute capital as an Act of Radical Generosity. The money is pooled together into a revolving fund and invested as zero interest loans in 5 women-led Ventures selected by the Activators. All Ventures are revenue generating with export potential and creating a better world through their business model or their product and service.

Loans are paid back into the fund over 5 years and then loaned out again, which creates a perpetual fund that SheEO will pass on to daughters, nieces, granddaughters and future women leaders.

The cohort of Activators brings their economic power, expertise, advice and their vast networks to help grow the businesses of the 5 selected ventures.

All of the ventures selected by SheEO activators are solving global challenges in energy, waste, health, social justice, education and human rights.

10Power provides renewable energy internationally to global communities that lack access to electricity through project development and finance. Learn more at

Ayzh mission is to bring simplicity and dignity to women’s health with low-cost, high-quality products for women, babies and girls worldwide. Learn more at

Greensulate brings green space back to cities through green infrastructure (green roofs, green walls, and urban agriculture). Learn more at

LOLIWARE is the world’s first Edible Bioplastic Company dedicated to replacing plastic with edible, hypercompostable materials. Learn more at

SheEO is creating a new model that will shift the world from:

  • Winner Takes all to A Collective Economy
  • Go Big or Go Home to On Your Own terms
  • Control to Trust
  • Scarcity to Abundance
  • Transaction to Relationship
  • Fear to Radical Generosity

Learn more at

10Power 2017 Impact Report

10Power Annual Impact Report

2017 / 2018

Download PDF version here: 10Power – Annual Impact Report- 2017

B Corporations are companies that have been certified to have met rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Worldwide, there are more than 2,500 Certified B Corporations across 140 industries and 60 countries working together toward 1 unifying goal: using business as a force for good. We decided to become a Certified B Corp for several reasons:


  • Being Part of a Community of Leaders with Shared Values: We believe that the strength of the B Corp community—and the sense of being part of something bigger than our individual business—is one of the best reasons to become a B Corp.


  • Protecting Our Mission for the Long Term: Certified B Corporations, in addition to meeting rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, amend their governing documents to be more supportive of maintaining their social and environmental mission over time.



  • Identifying Areas for Improvement: B Corp certification is an independent, rigorous, third-party standard that evaluates every aspect of our business—from how we treat our workers, to our community involvement, to our overall effect on the environment. We believe this will help us continue to create social, environmental, and financial value.


  • Attracting and Retaining Top Talent: Many studies have shown that the best people want to work for a company with a larger purpose. B Corp certification helps us signal to prospective and existing partners that we are committed to using business for good.



  • Building Collective Voice: Many of the movements taking place around the globe—from cleantech, microfinance, and sustainable agriculture to the buy local and cooperative ownership movements—are manifestations of the same idea: how to use business for good. The B Corporation organizes and amplifies the voices of this diverse marketplace behind the power of a unifying brand.


We are proud of what our team has accomplished this year to improve our impact. Once we complete our certification, we will be eager to learn from our peers in the B Corp community about how we can do even more. This is an essential contribution toward a vision of business that works for people, the planet, and the bottom line.


Measuring Our Impact

We use the B Impact Assessment (BIA), a third-party standard created by B Lab (the non-profit behind the B Corp movement), to measure our impact. The BIA is the most widely-used impact measurement and management tool in the world. More on the BIA and B Lab can be found at


The BIA is used by more than 50,00 businesses to measure, compare, and improve their overall social and environmental performance, as well as by an increasing number of investors, business associations, and government entities serious about understanding and benchmarking the impact of the companies in which they invest and with which they do business.


The BIA scores companies on a 0-200 point scale. The average score on the assessment is between 40 and 60 points. Companies interested in becoming Certified B Corporations are required to score 80 points or higher. Companies that earn 130 points or higher are in the top 10% of all B Corps worldwide.


The major sections and subsections on the BIA include:



  • Land, Office, and Plant
  • Inputs (e.g., energy efficiency, water conservation, etc.)
  • Outputs (e.g., GHG emissions, waste, etc.)
  • Transportation, Distribution, & Suppliers



  • Compensation and Wages
  • Benefits
  • Training and Education
  • Worker Ownership
  • Management and Worker Communication
  • Job Flexibility and Corporate Culture
  • Occupational Health and Safety



  • Job Creation
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Civic Engagement and Giving
  • Local Involvement
  • Suppliers, Distributors, and Product



  • Mission and Engagement
  • Corporate Accountability
  • Ethics
  • Transparency
  • Benefit Corp Governance



  • Addressing a social and/or economic problem for customers


Our B Impact Report


The B Impact Report is a summary of our overall social and environmental performance as assessed by the BIA. Here is our most recent score on the assessment:

Objectives and Targets


Going forward, we have a goal of increasing our BIA score by at least 10% every time we recertify as a B Corporation. In addition, we have identified the following targets to help us continue to improve our social and environmental performance:


  • Offsetting 100% of carbon emissions by 2020
  • Measuring our Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3 carbon emissions across our operations by 2020
  • Increasing energy efficiency across our organization by 10% by 2020
  • Increasing the amount of energy we consume from renewable sources by 50% by 2020
  • Diverting 80% of waste from landfill by 2020
  • Adding social / environmental goals into all employee performance evaluations
  • Integrating social / environmental mission-related responsibilities into all job descriptions
  • Hiring more women, people of color, individuals residing in low-income areas, and other chronically underemployed populations (e.g., individuals who are formerly incarcerated or formerly homeless)
  • Increasing the amount of women, people of color, or other traditionally underrepresented populations in management
  • Working with more suppliers who are:
    • Majority owned by women or individuals from underrepresented populations;
    • Located in low-income communities, or
    • Creating employment opportunities for chronically underemployed populations

Echoing Green ‘Talent to Change the World’ 2017 Fellowship Awards 10Power

10Power Founder / CEO Sandra Kwak joins group of 36 global transformational leaders bringing innovations to the social good sector

New York – June 8, 2017 – Echoing Green announced the winners of its highly competitive annual Fellowship awards. Echoing Green is a global organization that spots social entrepreneurs with the greatest potential and invests deeply in their success. The organization accelerates tomorrow’s transformational leaders today. With the help of this award, which comes with seed-funding, Sandra Kwak, Founder and CEO of 10Power will scale her work of providing renewable energy to the 1.2 billion people on the planet who do not have access to electricity.

Every year, Echoing Green provides funding and leadership development to a new class of Fellows. The organization embraces “smart risks” by providing seed funding of up to $90,000 for two years to support the continued growth of leaders and organizations with tremendous potential. These individuals are also welcomed into a lifelong global network of philanthropists, investors, and entrepreneurs who help one another experiment with bold, new ideas.

10Power provides project development and finance for commercial and industrial solar projects in global communities that lack access to reliable electricity. In their first market, Haiti, they have provided solar to water purification centers that are supplying clean drinking water to surrounding communities. Working with local installers, 10Power is building capacity for solar markets, with focus on gender empowerment and quantum development.

“It is an honor to join this diverse, passionate and driven group of intersectional, global change makers,” says Kwak.

Echoing Green is among the most selective fellowships for social entrepreneurs. This year, Echoing Green reviewed 2,879 applications from 164 countries.

Echoing Green’s unparalleled community of over 760 includes Michelle Obama, Van Jones and the innovators who launched Teach For America, City Year, One Acre Fund, SKS Microfinance, and more. The organization welcomes a new class of Fellows every year into its lifelong community of leaders.

“For the past 30 years Echoing Green has identified leaders with bold ideas that are important to the progress of the world,” says Echoing Green President Cheryl L. Dorsey. “In this year — Echoing Green’s 30th anniversary — we’re especially proud to continue to grow our community and welcome such a diverse group of innovators to our best-in-class network. We look forward to advancing their leadership journey.”

Support of Echoing Green’s 2017 Fellowship class is made possible through private contributions and the generous support of funders, including the Jerome L. Greene Foundation and the ZOOM Foundation.

About 10Power
10Power catalyzes solar markets in geographies that lack electricity today. Developing and financing commercial and industrial solar projects in Haiti, 10Power works with local installers, sources world-class technology, provides engineering resources, and generates economic opportunity by helping businesses save money and run on reliable, clean energy. To learn more, visit

About Echoing Green

Echoing Green identifies tomorrow’s transformational leaders today. Through its Fellowships and other innovative leadership initiatives, Echoing Green spots emerging leaders and invests deeply in their success to maximize their impact. Echoing Green has been ahead of the curve for 30 years, supporting visionaries around the world who are transforming economies, racial and gender equity, environmental sustainability, and more. Echoing Green accelerates talent that will change the world for the better. To learn more, visit

TEDx Talk By 10Power CEO & Founder

On November 7, 2016, 10Power CEO and Founder, Sandra Kwak delivered a talk entitled “Fourth World Nation Building” at TEDxSFState, a gathering of industry leaders, innovators, and makers from San Francisco discussing “Designing Your Future.”


Chris Haroun
Chris Haroun is a venture capitalist, an award-winning business school professor, MBA graduate from Columbia University and former Goldman Sachs employee. He has raised/managed over $1bn in his career and is the CEO of Haroun Education Ventures. Haroun has work experience at hedge fund giant Citadel, consulting firm Accenture, and several firms that he has started. Chris is also the author of the #1 best-selling business course on Udemy and the book “101 Crucial Lessons They Don’t Teach You in Business School,” which in 2015 Forbes wrote is,”1 of 6 books that all entrepreneurs must read right now.” He also teaches at some of the top universities in the area, including here at San Francisco State University.

Stephanie Lampkin
Stephanie Lampkin is the founder & CEO of Blendoor, a recruiting application that hides candidate name and photo to mitigate unconscious bias in hiring. With a 13 year career in tech spanning companies like Lockheed, Deloitte, Microsoft, and TripAdvisor, she is all too familiar with the difficulties faced when one doesn’t look like the prototypical engineer. Through technology and data, her mission is to reduce bias and challenge the assumption that homogeneous environments are a meritocracy. Stephanie holds a BS in Management Science & Engineering from Stanford University and an MBA from MIT Sloan. Stephanie has been honored and featured in numerous publications including MIT Tech Review 35 under 35, Forbes, NPR, Tech Crunch, and Black Enterprise. Stephanie’s mission is to effectively demonstrate that investing in diversity yields positive returns socially, financially, and technologically.

Dale J. Stephens
Dale J. Stephens left school at the age of twelve to become an unschooler. Today, he is a sought-after education expert appearing on major news networks including CNN, ABC, NPR, CBS, Fox, andTechCrunch. At 21,Dale leads UnCollege, the social movement changing the notion that college is the only path to success. His first book, Hacking Your Education, was published by Penguin on March 5, 2013. In May 2011 Stephens was selected out of hundreds of top changemakers around the world under the age of twenty as a Thiel Fellow.

Dan Werthimer
Dan Werthimer was in the Homebrew Computer Club with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak; everyone in the Homebrew Club became ultra-rich except Dan. Dan is currently chief scientist of SETI@home, Breakthrough Listen, and several SETI programs at the University of California, Berkeley. Werthimer also directs the Center for Astronomy Signal Processing and Electronics Research (CASPER), and is associate director of the Berkeley Wireless Research Center (BWRC). Werthimer was an associate professor in the engineering and physics departments of San Francisco State University and a visiting professor at Beijing Normal University, the University of St. Charles in Marseille, and Eotvos University in Budapest.

Sandra Kwak
Sandra Kwak is CEO and Founder of social business 10Power, which is providing renewable energy internationally to communities that lack access to electricity. Previously she worked with AutoGrid creating energy saving apps for utilities using smart meter Big Data, scaling the company through $14M in financing from prototype to a global brand. Sandra also Co-Founded and served as President and COO of energy efficiency company Powerzoa and at Pacific Gas and Electric Utility implementing the ClimateSmart program, which offsets emissions associated with electricity generation. She has a Sustainable MBA from Presidio Graduate School, has taught at SFSU and guest lectures at CCA and Stanford.

Chris Chan
Chris Chan is a hacker at Yahoo. He is best known for driving innovation through the company’s hackathon competitions, of which he holds the record for the most wins. He also sits on the Yahoo For Good council, where he helps develop technology for good as well as promoting STEM to students from underserved communities. Chris holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Victoria, Canada with a focus in software engineering and open source software.

Stacy McKenzie
Stacy McKenzie is a filmmaker hailing from San Francisco, California. With a craving for collecting moments and an addiction to telling stories, Stacy constantly pushes to find and make the most interesting and enveloping work possible. She began with an Undergraduate degree in Art Photography from San Francisco State University. In the past decade and a half, she has evolved into a very diverse filmmaker and video producer. She is currently the Director of Lucid Studios, creating experiential videos and immersive short films in 3D Virtual Reality.

What is TEDx?

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxSFState, where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDxSFState event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. The annual TED Conference invites the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes. Their talks are then made available, free, at TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The annual TED Conference takes place each spring in Long Beach, California, along with the TEDActive simulcast in Palm Springs; the annual TEDGlobal conference is held each summer in Edinburgh, Scotland.

TED’s media initiatives include, where new TEDTalks are posted daily, the recently launched TED-Ed platform for students and educators, the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as the ability for any TEDTalk to be translated by volunteers worldwide, and TEDBooks, short e-books by speakers that elaborate on a single idea originally presented on TED’s stage. TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world are given the opportunity to put their wishes into action; TEDx, which offers individuals or groups a way to host local, self-organized events around the world, and the TED Fellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities. Follow TED on Twitter or on Facebook.

For more information about the event, please visit:

Hurricane Matthew: Updates from 10Power and How to Help


Photo: LeMoyne/UNICEF

Update from 10Power: our solar assets in Haiti are intact and continue to generate clean energy. In the wake of the destruction created by Hurricane Matthew, we take inspiration from community mobilization and the resilience of the Haitian people. As a values based business providing access to solar, 10Power stands in support of Community Based Organizations.  We highlight below some that are doing particularly good work.

The devastation wreaked by Hurricane Matthew in the departments of Sud, Grand’Anse, Nippes is estimated at over 1,000 dead, and 2.1 million affected. The latest OCHA figures state 1.4 million are in vulnerable situations in need of humanitarian aid and no less than 175,509 have been displaced. Rippling ramifications include a spike in cholera, higher prevalence of Zika and Malaria due to standing water, and the systemic humanitarian impacts of ecosystem destruction: shurricane-pathtaple crops destroyed, livestock killed, trees uprooted.

“Ernst Mathurin, director of GRAMIR, a Haitian NGO with over three decades of experience in the Grand Anse, recounted with horror the massive tree loss all across the region. Mathurin made a visit to Anse-à-Veau, to the west of Abricots. ‘There isn’t a plantain or a breadfruit tree left.’” [1]

Over 90% of crops have been destroyed, according to a preliminary assessment by the World Food Program. Goats, pigs and cows were killed in the storm. Livestock is an investment like a savings account, used to pay tuition, cover medical care or for funerals. Other livelihood means, including fishing boats and nets, were also annihilated. [2]

Immediate needs in the area are medical supplies, potable water and food. Second wave needs will be shelter and electricity. With relief efforts, is important to consider the long-term needs of the community, collaborate with local actors are and create positive feedback loops that will continue to provide benefit to Haiti.

As reported in the Financial Times, Maarten Boute, Chairman of Digicel, Haiti’s main cell phone provider, advised relief efforts on how to avoid the pitfalls experienced after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. “How to help Haiti: source relief aid locally, buy our exports abroad, visit our beaches, invest in Haiti and its people,” he tweeted. [3]

Sourcing locally from the affected regions rebuilds economic stability. Cash aid directly to affected communities or local organizations is more effective than food or donation aid since roads have been cleared, the economy can begin circulating again.

Konbits – The Power of Community

Konbit is a Haitian Creole word for cooperative communal projects, whereby able-bodied folk gather to help each other.

Louino ‘Robi’ Robillard, the founder of Cite Soleil Peace Prize provides a powerful first person account of people traveling from the slums of Port Au Prince to the South to work side-by-side in solidarity with the most impacted communities, even though they are facing hardship in their own neighborhoods, which are located at sea level and experienced flooding. [4]

Supporting grassroots Konbit efforts ensures that resources are deployed effectively and efficiently, within the regional context, and gives locals the opportunity to re-invest in self-perpetuating, regenerative models, as opposed to one-time aid. There are few international organizations that have deep roots in the south of Haiti, those that are effectively navigating the remote terrain are co-operating with local leaders such as school directors, churches and farming cooperatives.

Rebuilding for Resilience Provides Protection from Climate Instability

As communities rebuild, there is an opportunity to pave permeable roads, which reduce flooding and replenish the water table; build stronger, green buildings; generate renewable energy, providing access to those who previously had none; distribute clean water; create closed-loop sanitation / compost systems; propagate sustainable agriculture; and create more stable income generation opportunities.

Investing in sustainable infrastructure creates resiliency to withstand storm systems and generates value.

Haiti has not experienced a category 4 storm since 1964, but with climate change, as melting sea ice merges with warmer waters, superstorms are predicted to increase in frequency and severity. According to NOAA, in reference to superstorm Sandy, “Climate-change related increases in sea level have nearly doubled today’s annual probability of a Sandy-level flood recurrence as compared to 1950.” [5] More intense storm systems in the future underscores the urgency to rebuild resilient systems today.

10Power strives to enable long-term change by supporting local organizations and businesses, and those international organizations that work closely with Haitians, that engage stakeholders, and procure and invest locally. In addition to our work developing and financing commercial and industrial solar projects, in August 2016 the 10Power team collaborated with Hope for Haiti (see below) and DigitalKap in the village of Morency in the Sud department. Through community outreach, we conducted solar education, market research, and conducted a feasibility study to support deployment of residential solar by a local provider.

At a town hall meeting the community ranked their top concerns:

  1. Economic opportunity
  2. Health services
  3. Roads
  4. Energy

Post-Matthew, while the short-term priorities of areas hit by the hurricane are weighted towards food, medicine and shelter, relief efforts should be building towards a long-term sustainable future, driven by the priorities of the community.

How to Contribute

The Haiti Advocacy Working Group has compiled a list of Best Practices for Hurricane Matthew Relief Aid. [6]  

Organizations working in the affected areas that 10Power knows well

Haiti Communitere, established after the earthquake in 2010, is channeling resources through their community center, bringing local and international players together to provide logistical support and food for community clean-up and rebuilding initiatives.

Earthspark International / Enèji Pwòp has been operating a solar microgrid in Les Cayes, one of the cities directly in the path of the storm. More than 66% of the population in Haiti does not have electricity.   

Doctors without Borders (MSF) is responding to Cholera and post Hurricane needs in underserved areas.

SOIL provides sanitation as a service. The local composting toilet organization is based in Port Au Prince but 100% of funds will go to delivery of emergency supplies to Jeremie by convoy.

Hope for Haiti has been active in the Les Cayes area for 25 years supporting education, nutrition and healthcare, clean water, infrastructure and economy.

J/P HRO Sean Penn’s organization in Haiti, well respected by locals, is mobilizing an emergency response team to work with partner organizations to respond to the needs of the hardest hit area.

Rebuild Globally is nonprofit that provides business development, education and job training to fight poverty in Haiti.

Singing Rooster supports Haiti’s small producers and reforest Haiti with income-providing crops, selling Haitian coffee, art, chocolate into international markets and returning 100% of proceeds to farmer and artist communities. Singing Rooster is raising funds for a partner cooperative in the south to rebuild their nursery.   

Fonkoze offers micro-finance throughout Haiti and are fundraising to launch a response to cholera; rebuild branch offices; provide support to small businesses; address immediate needs of the ultrapoor; and enable borrowers to get back on their feet.

Sakala provides a safe space where youth come together to grow, learn, and play in the heart of Haiti’s largest underdeveloped area, Cite Soleil. They have been co-ordinating volunteers from Cite Soleil to do Konbits in the South.

Haitian Led Community Organizations and Networks

Paradis des Indiens is based in Abricots, an area hit hard by the hurricane, and is very well known for its high-quality community and educational work.

Edem Foundation is based on the beautiful island of Ile-A-Vache which suffered significantly in the storm, they are working with the local authorities to bring food, medical supplies and clean water.

Rebuild Petit Goâve. The Mayor of Petit Goave has partnered with the 1804 Institute to collect donations for the coastal commune of 12,000 people.

Haitian Health Foundation provides health, education and community development services to more than 100 impoverished mountain villages in and around Jérémie—improving the health and well-being of almost 250,000 residents.

Organization for Rehabilitation of the Environment (ORE), established in 1985 has been providing agricultural resources for women’s empowerment. They are working on relief in Camp Perrin and for farmers outside of Jérémie.

The Association des Maires de la Grand’Anse (AMAGA) is a network of Mayors in the region. They do not currently have a donation portal.

Medical Organizations Conducting Hurricane Matthew Relief Work

St Boniface Haiti Organization, established in 1983, runs a hospital and maternal health center in Fond-des-Blancs in Southern Haiti. They are a well respected organization in the area.

Heartline Ministries is a midwife organization out of Port Au Prince that has sent a team to the south and is partnering with grassroots organizations in the southern provinces of Sud and Grand’Anse, Christian Veterinary Mission and Mission Aviation Fellowship, to launch an emergency relief and recovery program.

Project Medishare, established in 1994, runs community-based and Haitian led programs to share knowledge and resources to improve health infrastructure and strengthen the skills of medical professionals.

NOVA is providing medical care, emergency shelter and food at their clinic  in Cavaillon, near Les Cayes.

Ayti Air Ambulance provides helicopter ambulance service in the country of Haiti.

HERO (Haitian Emergency Response Operations) operates a private ambulance that handles most ground transport for Haiti Air Ambulance medevac flights.

International Organizations who support / fund local Haitian community organizations involved in relief

Grassroots International builds local capacity for sustainable livelihoods and resilience to climate change for the long-haul working closely with partners and allies – such as the National Peasant Movement of Papaye (MPNKP), Tet Kole, the Regional Coordination of Organizations of the Southeast, and the Haitian Platform to Advocate for Alternative Development (PAPDA).

Lambi Fund of Haiti is a respected organization providing sustainable development.

Haven has been working in Haiti since 2008 to facilitate the provision of sustainable water and sanitation, training and education, and shelter solutions.

HELP is based in Port Au Prince with relief efforts in Jeremie. They have been working for 20 years in Haiti providing students with scholarships for higher education.

Beyond Borders enables donors to sponsor a family on La Gonâve Island to get back on their feet.

Mennonite Central Committee is partnering with Ecumenical Foundation for Peace and Justice (FOPJ), and Sakala

Project Saint Anne is supporting the basic needs of children in Camp Perrin where 90% of infrastructure was destroyed.   

Three Little Flowers Center has been supporting children in Fort Royal since 1987.

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) advances rights, economic and environmental justice. Sign a petition on their website demanding the US halt deportations to Haiti.

American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is a respected global organization collecting for Haiti.

Crowdfunding Sites

Fondation Aquin Solidarite (FAS) is a non-profit organization, founded in 2005, to provide educational, cultural, sports and economic support and mentoring to the city and the people of Aquin, located 117kms southwest of Port-au-Prince.

Hurricane Matthew Relief in Abricots is galvanizing support for cacao farmers in Abricots organised by dance scholar Dasha Chapman.

Donations for Jeremie are being collected through a local family with a good reputation.

Centre Communautaire de Kaykok is fundraising for the villagers of Kayok on Ile-A-Vache.

Western Union is offering toll free transfers to Haiti from United States, Canada , France, Chile, Brazil and the Caribbean at participating outlets, on their website and on mobile Western Union, where available.


Thank you to the compassionate humans who are seeking to contribute consciously.  


Sources and Citations

1. “Rebuilding Haiti, One Commune at a Time,” Counter Punch

2. “Hurricane Matthew leaves the farmers and fishermen of Haiti struggling to survive,” Miami Herald

3. Storm exacts heartbreaking toll in Haiti,” Financial Times

4. “Seeing the Effects of Hurricane Matthew Up Close and Through a Different Lens,” Verite Sou Tanbou

5. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

6. Haiti Advocacy Working Group

Lists of Resources


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