by Kirsten Eldridge, Jolkona Volunteer
Our 16 social entrepreneurs in the Jolkona Catalyst program, a three-week mentor driven accelerator for founders from developing countries, will come from Bangladesh and Indonesia to Seattle next month. This three-week intensive program will allow them to further hone their business plans, learn how to tell their story, and gain new insights. We can’t wait to welcome them to our offices on October 25th!
Our next feature is Zia Hassan Siddique, Director and CEO of Greenergy Solutions, an engineering and consulting firm that supports and incubates energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives that leverage solar, wind, or hybrid energy to create solutions for agriculture communities.
Want to follow Zia’s journey once our Catalysts arrive to Seattle? Be sure to Like Jolkona on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
You can also register for our Jolkona Catalyst Showcase on November 11th in the beautiful, new Galvanize co-working space in historic Pioneer Square. Click here to RSVP!
Outside of this project and work, what else do you do for fun in your home country? What other passions do you have?
I am very lucky to have the opportunity to work on something that is my passion. I am very passionate about nature and technology. Another great aspect of my work is that I have to travel a lot, mostly in villages and remote areas. My work is my passion.
Also, I am very fond of watching movies and reading books, especially science fiction and history. I also take a lot of interest in machines and evolving technology.
What inspired you to start this venture?
I have always wanted to do something that would add value to the people and at the same time helps to achieve sustainable growth. I’ve been active in environmental causes for a long time and I’ve always wanted to be a part of something that combines nature and technology. My passion for renewable energy and the growth potential of the agricultural sector of Bangladesh have inspired me to start this venture.
What is one obstacle you have faced in running your social business? How did you overcome this obstacle?
I wouldn’t say that I’ve been able to completely overcome the obstacle. The major obstacle is the mindset of people. And it is quite understandable that people tend to resist change. So, when we talk to people about new energy sources and new technology it is very difficult to convince them. Moreover, since initial investment of renewable energy is high, the resistance tends to be even more. So, we are giving our best effort to establish some success stories which will be the evidence of success and so far we have been able to do that to some extent. However, we have long way to go in making people believe in integration of renewable energy in the agricultural value chain.
What are you looking forward to when you come to the United States for the Jolkona Catalyst program?
To be very specific about my goals to achieve from this visit to the USA, I am looking forward to gaining:
- Better knowledge on market access
- Access to investment
- Knowledge to integrate Renewable Energy and IT in agriculture value chain and/or in any other sector
I want to expand my business operations both geographically and solution wise. With the knowledge and investment, I’ll scale up the capacity of my organization. Bring in more resources, move aggressively to gain more market access. I’ll introduce better and sustainable technologies ahead of my competitors. Migrate good practices from developed world, start working with multilateral development partners to explore the export market of our agricultural products. I’ll diversify my solutions and will grow my customer base by providing different solutions and increase product/solution per customer.
The potential is huge and I would look forward to a partner, not only investor, with whom we will take the first move advantage and achieve sustainable growth for the farmers, customer and ourselves.