by Zehra Ali, MIT TPP ‘09
2 years ago, 3 of my team mates and I founded Ghonsla, a building materials company to provide affordable insulation made from renewable and waste materials to underserved markets in Pakistan and beyond.
Since then, we:
* secured over $10K in seed capital through business plan competitions,
* manufactured installed insulation in 12 homes and 1 school in a village in the Northern Areas of Pakistan, with the help of our strategic partner, Packages Ltd & community partner, WWF-Pakistan
* tracked the fuel-wood consumption and indoor temperatures in homes with and without insulation over a year
up at MIT last summer, I moved back to Pakistan to work full-time on Ghonsla. It’s been quite an adventure so far, especially leading the product development, re-evaluating the market potential and planning for demonstrations in other communities. From our pilot project we learnt that the idea of improving insulation to mitigate deforestation and reduce respiratory diseases stemming from indoor air pollution makes sense. Also the dreadful images coming from Haiti have reminded us that rebuilding places from scratch will happen again and again. Developing cheap, local and green solutions to do so are as urgent as ever.
Recently, Ghonsla was selected as one of the finalist ventures for the Unreasonable Institute, which is a 10 week summer program designed to attract and unite 25 high impact social entrepreneurs from around the world, while incubating and accelerating their ventures through rigorous skill training and guidance from expert mentors. The institute also allows for entrepreneurs to connect with seed capital and offers a global network of support.
We are very humbled to be selected as one of the finalists, for all of the ventures are very inspiring. We believe that being part of this training will help us in moving Ghonsla to the next level and in achieving the kind of impact we are looking for.
The public i.e. YOU, will decide which of the finalists will attend the Institute, through placing their money on them at the finalist marketplace. The first 25 finalists to raise $6500 through sponsorships will attend.
I hope you get the chance to see our profile at unreasonable finalists and to support us through sponsorship. The pledges, which have a maximum amount of $10 in the first week will only be requested for those projects which do make it to the final, for others they will simply have served as a vote of confidence.
Thank you for your support!
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