One of my favorite things to do at the end of spring quarter is attend the symposium where our joint-degree students (MBA and MS in Environmental Resources, also known as E-IPER) present their capstone projects.
The projects this year varied from wind generation to water re-use in a sweater manufacturing company in Indonesia, but all showed the passion our students have for taking the knowledge they’ve gained here to solve some of the biggest environmental problems.
The team that won the prize--it’s a mouthful, the Feigenbaum Nii Foundation Symposium--for the best project was made up of three of our GSB students: Ashish Jhina, Dan Tuttle, and Florian Weidinger. They also, by the way, placed in the finals for the Hult Global Case Challenge, co-hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative.
Ashish is from India where he's observed first-hand the tremendous lack of access to sanitation and water infrastructure. Dan is from the US, and Florian from Germany.
The team came up with a rating system, called "HydRate," that will help communities communicate their ability to pay for water and sanitation services to potential capital providers.
Hydrate would eventually also rate portfolios of projects and structure guarantee for investors. These portfolios would re-shape the way micro-infrastructure is financed by bringing down the philanthropic cost of capital.
You often hear of ventures that were started by students right out of school. This is just how it happens…working on a class project like this Ashish, Dan, Florian, and their two other teammates, engineering student Sebastien Tilmans from Maryland and Ido Sum from Israel, are looking to raise $2.2 million to pilot HydRate in India and Kenya.
You can read more about them here. We’ll be following them as their story unfolds…stay tuned.