Burning in the Sun: The Small Solar Industry in Africa

A few years ago in Mali some filmmakers went to chronicle what’s going on in the country and ended up making a documentary about solar energy. Daniel Dembele is an entrepreneur who brought solar power to the people by starting a company and bringing photovoltaic panels to rural Mali. This looks like a good doc!

Founding a small business is something that is deeply embedded in American and European culture. But most have never seen this universal kind of effort take place in Africa, traditionally portrayed by mainstream media as a land of the starving and war ravaged. In our portrayal of Daniel, who undertakes a familiar effort in an unfamiliar environment, we attempt to open the door to on what is viewed as possible in Africa, and update Western cultural awareness with a profound dose of optimism. Daniel’s work shatters notions of the need for African dependence on outside aid and embraces the view that ultimately it is Africans who will develop Africa in their own way.

Now more than ever, people around the world see green-collar jobs as a necessity for survival in our rapidly changing economies and environments. Daniel’s daring, charisma and intelligence remind us of the leadership required to encourage this level of transformative change, anywhere in the world. We showcased Daniel as an African leader, as well as a global trendsetter. We think this allows viewers to understand the kind of micro business development that makes sense for Africa, while also hopefully stirring a profound inspiration to take action in their own communities.

Find out more at the movie’s website.

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Winning Over Winnipeg Workers

Here’s an inspiring piece of one entrepreneur in Winnipeg who saw a labour shortage and a surplus of people and put the two together. He, with the help of the government, created a program to train unemployed and young Canadian First Nation people to be able to work at his company. That might not sound extraordinary, but apparently this went against convention and shocked a lot of others in the field.

During a labour crunch four years ago, Mr. Saulnier felt the familiar pressure to hire workers from abroad. Some tycoons in the industrial construction business even took him aside and told him he could only win bids on massive infrastructure jobs if he had a large and secure labour pool. And the only way to assure that – at least as conventional thinking goes – was to launch an overseas recruitment program.

But Mr. Saulnier isn’t exactly conventional. He saw an untapped source of labour much closer to home.

“I grew up in a small Northern Ontario town where I was surrounded by first nations communities, where there were very good men and women who are just wishing for a job,” he explained in an interview. “Against the advice of business advisers and industry colleagues, we decided to seek them out.”

Keep reading at the Globe and Mail.

Thanks to Greg!

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Green Energy Companies Gaining Ground

There’s no reason that we need to wait for the slower governments of the world stop subsidizing oil (I’m looking at you Conservative Party of Canada) in order to help renewable energy thrive. People around the world are bringing sustainable power to the masses and making money at the same time. These smart entrepreneurs are changing the world for the better while helping the economy.

Green entrepreneurs worldwide aren’t waiting for new energy policies or the political will that may, one day, reduce global greenhouse emissions by some arbitrary target.

They are already working furiously to create — and capitalize on — smart ideas that produce clean, renewable energy.

These energy pioneers aren’t incentivized by government dictates, nor are they making grandiose promises to revolutionize the global economy. They’re simply putting innovative renewable energy ideas to work — one small step at a time.

And, yes, they’re also making a few bucks along the way.

See more videos at Global Post.

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Turn a Lack of Resources Into a Strength

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Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek has some advice for people who are questioning a jump into something new because they question if they have the resources to do it. Granted, he’s talking about starting a business, but I think that his advice can be applied to everyday living as well. He argues that by concentrating on what you have, you can do better – basically think positive to turn a lack of resources into a strength.

Excuses not to jump into the unknown are a dime a dozen. In the case of entrepreneurship, the “I don’t have” list — I don’t have funding, I don’t connections, etc. — is a popular write-off for inaction.

Little do most people know how often lack of resources is the ingredient that creates great companies.

It forces you to be clever, to dissect problems instead of throwing cash at them, and to innovate instead of imitating better-funded competitors.

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