Extreme Inclusion Fletcher CEME May 2 2013 Conference Web Banner

Pitch for Extreme Inclusion Competition: STUDENT PRODUCTS FOR EXTREME INCLUSION

Congratulations to our winner, Takachar! 

Congratulations to our first runner-up and "Audience Choice" award winner, Njabini, Inc!

Finalist Teams

Congratulations to the five finalist teams who will present their product or service ideas at The Fletcher School's Extreme Inclusion conference on May 2nd, 2013. The teams will compete to pitch their start-ups, which all address the needs of traditionally marginalized populations in the US and abroad, to the full conference audience. The competition will be judged by Anarge Frangos, Walter FrickRon HynesBen Knelman, and Victoria Slingerland.


Student Team:
John Ikeda, Harvard Kennedy School
Manoah Koletty, Harvard Kennedy School & MIT Sloan
Blaize WallaceMustafa Khalifeh; MIT Sloan
Hoda Eydgahi, MIT

Love Grain

Student Team: 
Aleem Ahmed, MIT Sloan and Harvard Kennedy School
Caroline Mauldin, MIT Sloan and Harvard Kennedy School 
Kaia Lai, MIT Sloan

Njabini, Inc.

Student Team: 
Michael Behan; Natalie Audelo, Northeastern University
Tom Eliuz Mwangi, Moi University (Nairobi, Kenya)
Erin O’Malley, Providence College


Student Team: 
Kevin KungAli Kamil; David Lee, MIT 
Mohit Kansal, MIT Sloan
Maria Davydenko, Harvard Kennedy School


Student Team:
Shruti RamaswamiKate Fedosova, Gautham Ravichander, Qasim Hasnain, The Fletcher School 

Bluelight Logo Fletcher CEME IBGC Extreme Inclusion Conference Student Pitch Competition Semi-Finalist

For hundreds of millions of households around the world who lack access to credit cards and bank accounts, making a large purchase requires either an expensive loan with cripplingly high interest rates or a long struggle to save up at home.

Product or Service Description:

Bluelight is an SMS-­based consumer finance platform that draws on traditional informal savings tools, cutting-­edge behavioral economics research and innovative use of mobile technology to help households in the developing world save up for the things they need. It does this by partnering with large retailers to offer an affordable, convenient layaway savings product and leveraging an extensive distribution network of local agents (including microfinance institutions and neighborhood corner stores) to sell and market savings scratch cards. These scratch cards allow consumers to make micro-­deposits toward gift cards redeemable at our retail partners, helping them save up for things that would be very difficult for them to purchase otherwise. 

Love Grain MIT Sloan Harvard Kennedy School Student Pitch Competition Semi Finalist Fletcher Extreme Inclusion Conference

Social Problem Addressed:

The challenge for 6 million Ethiopia farmers is limited credit and market access. At planting time, farmers lack cash and credit to purchase improved seed and fertilizer that could more than double their yield. At harvest, they are cash-strapped and have no option but to sell their crops to traders who purchase teff at 26% below retail prices.

Product or Service Description:

Love Grain's products are new gluten-free foods including breakfast baking mixes, package desserts, savory snacks, cereals and pastas. The primary ingredient is an ancient grain called “teff”—the next super food. In addition to being 100% gluten-free, teff is also rich in vitamins and minerals, and boasts 50% more protein, five times more fiber, and 25 times more calcium than brown rice. 

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Social Problem Addressed:

Njabini, Inc. is a social enterprise that enables smallholder farmers in East Africa to sustainably increase the productivity and profitability of their farms through innovative cooperative models.

Product or Service Description:

Njabini, Inc. is a hybrid social enterprise currently operating in Central Kenya. Our flagship project, Wakulima Pamoja, is a cooperative, which organizes potato farmers into producer groups and provides three core services. First, we provide each farmer with a $125 in-kind input loan repaid after harvest enabling smallholder farmers to access high quality inputs. Most importantly we provide disease free potato seedlings, which are inaccessible in East Africa (learn more here). Secondly, each group receives weekly crop management trainings from our partner extension officers. Lastly, each group brings their harvest to wholesale markets collectively, bypassing the first broker and earning a higher price for their potatoes. 

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Takachar Logo Fletcher CEME IBGC Extreme Inclusion Conference Student Pitch Competition Semi-Finalist

Social Problem Addressed:

Takachar is a waste-to-charcoal venture sourcing and transforming urban organic disposables into clean, affordable, and environmentally friendly household cooking fuel starting in Kenya. Two almost universal problems in developing cities are unmanaged waste and fuel shortage.

Product or Service Description:

We have pioneered a low-cost process for converting municipal solid waste into charcoal briquettes. We sell this process as a business-in-a-box package that targets the waste-picker cooperatives. With the minimal investment of $20, the waste-pickers can own and operate a kiln to process the organic waste that they already collect into a valuable fuel, which they can sell to increase their incomes. Our environmental impacts include saving trees, reducing greenhouse emissions, and putting unmanaged organic waste to use. 

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Yangubook Logo Fletcher CEME IBGC Extreme Inclusion Conference Student Pitch Competition Semi-Finalist

Social Problem Addressed: 

In Africa, only 1 in 5 people have access to formal banking. Credit history and identification requirements, inflexible financial products, and accessibility constraints restrict this access, leading many poor and rural families to rely on self-­‐forming savings clubs, often supported by NGOs. While these clubs and groups provide strong vehicles for savings, loan and investment, they lack flexible financial choices and access to funds beyond their internal capacity.

Product or Service Description:

YanguBook is a data analytics solution that leverages a mobile application to allow savings groups the ability to track records and build a credit history at the group and user levels. Data collected by savings groups will be aggregated and analyzed to produce three key outputs: individual credit histories generated through voluntary opt-­‐in features, aggregate data on debt and financial capacity for groups, and regional information for banks seeking to expand their services. YanguBook allows saving groups to generate credit histories to seek formal loans; provides data analytics to NGOs to evaluate their services; and enables banks to target credit-­‐worthy clients and to design financial products suited to their needs.

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Entrant Eligibility:

The competition is open to individuals and teams of full-time students from all Boston-area colleges and universities. Projects must address the needs of traditionally marginalized populations in the US and abroad. Projects can be nonprofit, for-profit or a hybrid but should demonstrate sustainability.

Products or services must be your original idea.

All semi-finalists will be invited to attend the Extreme Inclusion Conference and Practitioner Roundtables on May 2-3, 2013, where they will be able to present their product ideas to a panel of experienced judges, and will compete to pitch their start-up to the full conference audience. The actual semi-finalist pitches will on the afternoon of May 2.  Semi-finalists will be responsible for arranging their own transportation to and accommodation at the event. 

Entry Requirements:

Please submit an entry of no more than 500 words and up to two exhibits that addresses the following components by April 15, 2013 to fletcherextremeinclusion@gmail.com.

List of team members’ names and their academic affiliation and year of graduation

Social Problem Addressed: What is the social issue that your product or service seeks to address?

Product or Service Description: What product or service will you provide? Why is this product or service unique? How will it solve the problem you are seeking to address?

Target Audience and Market Size: What population will you target? What is the rough size of the market for your product or service? (Please include a rough calculation and a list of key assumptions.)

Marketing Efforts: How will you market your product or service?

Financial Sustainability: What are your initial costs and revenues? How will the product be financially sustainable?

Submission Deadline: April 15, 2013 at midnight EST.

Judging Process:

Phase 1: The first phase of judging will be based on entrants’ written proposals.

• A committee of individuals with expertise in financial inclusion will evaluate the written applications.

• Five semi-finalists will be selected and notified by April 22.

• All semi-finalists must submit a paragraph and one slide summarizing their idea that will be printed and displayed in the conference lobby so that participants can select their favorite pitch. Finalists' materials must be submitted by April 26.

Phase 2: The second phase of judging will be based on in-person pitches that will take place on May 2 at the Extreme Inclusion Conference.

• Selected participants will pitch their ideas to the full audience of conference attendees on May 2. 

• The panel of judges will then select one winner and one first runner-up. The audience will also vote to select a recipient of the “Audience Choice” award. 


For more information, please contact Jamilah Welch at fletcherextremeinclusion@gmail.com.

For sample submissions and more prize information visit us at http://fletcher.tufts.edu/ExtremeInclusion.