Our residency programs provide a mix of organizational backing, mentoring and in some cases financial support for up and coming as well as existing entrepreneurs. Most of our current residents are based in California. Since the program’s inception in 2008, our explorers have focussed on diverse topics such as business model and pilot for solar-powered bicycles, an e-bike shelter in Oakland, crowd funding for clean energy and community solar business models.
Explorers in Residence (XIR)
Our current explorers are a mix of formerly incarcerated and refugee entrepreneurs. Our first two Explorers in Residence are two formerly incarcerated entrepreneurs, their projects seeks to research the equipment and chemicals that are doing the most damage to clean energy within California prisons and investigate more efficient and cleaner solutions and the barriers to using clean energy in intentional and community living environments.
Our third Explorer is an artist, and entrepreneur of Somali, Eritrean, and Ethiopian heritages. She fled her East African homeland during a time of regional wars and is now a long-time San Francisco She is the founder of the Sun Village Artisan Corner which is a space that is activating the local community through art and micro-businesses, beginning with a clean-energy-powered, zero-waste, of traditional Ethiopian artisanal coffee. Her project seeks to offer clean energy and zero-waste micro-business classes at Sun Village Artisan Corner to overcome the barriers to clean energy in the underserved communities.
Founder in Residence (FIR)
This is a residency intended to attract serial entrepreneurs who want to give back. It is well known that founders who have started companies from scratch before and had varying levels of success are more likely to do as well or better next time. We attract those founders who have done it more than once, cannot resist the temptation to do it again, but want to have a higher impact on the clean energy transition.
For example, in 2018 we supported Dan Rosen, cofounder of the solar loan giant Mosaic, to explore possible business’ he could help get going in his next outing. The result was partnering with old friends from the reservation where he lived as a young man to start Navajo Power, a native led utility scale solar play.
In 2019, we have teamed up with Vish Palekar, long time solar developer from India, who more recently has been CEO of GenZe, the zero-emissions mark of the Mahindra Group. GenZe bikes and scooters are a common sight in Costcos and on the streets of California and are made in Fremont and Detroit. We’re wondering what Vish is going to come up with next!