My name is Scot Frank and I’m the CEO of One Earth Designs, a non-profit that helps Chinese communities adapt to rapid environmental and socio-economic change by promoting environmental health and incubating local innovation and entrepreneurship. With this being a microfinance event, I imagine there may be some economists in the audience so I wanted to introduce my presentation by first speaking about Julian Simon, the famous economist who said, we should have as many babies as we can in order to have more creative ideas and more innovations that solve problems in the world. Well, I was thinking about the context of China and given that there are so many single children, there’s more genetic diversity, which must truly bring about even more creative thoughts than what Mr. Simon anticipated, and so therefore I think there are even more problems getting solved in China than any economists’ model can predict. My presentation One Child, Many Thoughts (or ji2 si1 guang3 yi4) provides some examples of social entrepreneurship in China and how microfinance can benefit these entrepreneurs in the problems they are trying to solve.
I want to start out by giving some background and context to some of the rural areas in China. The first problem that I would like to outline is that of fuel collection. Women and children spend 1-8 hours/day collecting fuel, usually dung but sometimes wood, forgoing education & income. Injuries and miscarriages during this work are common.
The next condition to highlight is that of energy. The use of dung and wood as fuel for cooking and heating a home is very polluting, resulting in severe indoor air pollution due to poor ventilation and the need to trap warmth. Globally, 1.6 million deaths occur per year due to IAP. It is also responsible for one death every two years in each village. An alternative clean and renewable energy source is needed in these areas.
In response to these and other problems faced in rural areas, One Earth Designs is working with communities to develop businesses that promote local entrepreneurship
And workshops and education programs that inspire and incubate local solutions for local problems
And other examples, such as this mechanized butter churner, invented by a nomad, that reduces women’s labor and increases productivity Transition: these are innovations that local people are creating, and we are also working with communities to co-develop solutions and to develop tools that can provide solutions in the future
One innovation we’ve worked with communities to develop is the SolSource 3-in-1 that provides heating, cooking, and electricity generation for rural families. This is a product inspired by local materials and craft such as using yak wool canvas, bamboo, and recycled materials. It’s a light-weight and portable device that can be locally manufactured for local income generation in underserved and transitioning communities. It’s also an example of how local knowledge & culture can inform design of a product and make a real contribution.
I believe the role of microfinance is not just bringing a person out of poverty But there are tremendous innovations coming out of rural and impoverished areas that need to come to fruition This would not only change a standard of living, but brings a whole new set of opportunities and solutions to the rest of the community By supporting an underserved community to bring their ideas to fruition, it’s also giving China an opportunity for a new face of innovation. Impact on all of China and the world
Wokai Boston - One Earth Designs' Scot Frank on Social Entrepreneurship in China
One Earth Designs Scot Frank, CEO Social Entrepreneurship and Microfinance in China 集思广益 One Child, Many Thoughts
Challenges <ul><li>Women & children spend 1-8 hours/day collecting (forgoing education & income) </li></ul><ul><li>Injuries and miscarriages during this work are common </li></ul>Fuel Collection One Earth Designs
Challenges <ul><li>Globally : 1.6 million deaths/year </li></ul><ul><li>In each village : IAP claims one life every two years </li></ul>One Earth Designs Indoor Air Pollution
Business Development PROMOTING LOCAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP