The announcement of the annual D-Prize winner is something I look forward to every year. The D-Prize, sponsored by the Institute for Business in the Global Context (IBGC), is a development entrepreneurship competition that awards up to $30,000 to recipients to pilot an anti-poverty venture in the developing world. It’s one of Fletcher’s best showcases of the amazing creativity and innovation in our student community. Recent winners include platforms focusing on online secondary education in Pakistan, and improved healthcare access for Bangladeshi garment workers.
The awarding of this year’s prize to Resonance Lab is particularly exciting, not only for its great work in providing low-cost, portable solar panels to rural Indian communities, but for the students behind it. Regular blog readers will already know Mohit pretty well, and his business partner Nitin is a well-known friend of the Admissions office, too. Nitin and Mohit have known each other for nine years prior to their time at Fletcher, and it shows in the depth and detail of their work. I was fortunate to drop in on the Zoom-based award ceremony recently, where they gave a fascinating presentation on the work of Resonance Lab, making it easy to understand why IBGC awarded them the Prize.
Resonance Lab works to fill the gaps in consistent and affordable energy access to both on- and off-grid communities in rural India. Its solar panels are portable, efficient, and easy to install, a crucial feature for the many potential customers lacking high-quality rooftop access often needed to install traditional panels. “Our experience working with a client-centric consulting firm helped us to understand the financial behavior of low-income communities across countries,” explains Mohit. They plan to pilot in Jharkhand – India’s most power-deprived state – and expect reach 18 million people in rural India in the next five years.
“It was a great learning experience to take an idea and shape into a business plan, and finally to win the D-Prize. Throughout the process, we had a great time working with IBGC and the D-Prize team,” says Nitin. Safe to say that feeling is reciprocated, and we’ll be eagerly following Resonance Lab’s work!