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Legatum Center awards seed grants

Program has now funded more than 100 projects since 2009.
The Legatum Center at MIT awards seed grants to assist student teams in developing for-profit enterprises in a low-income country. With the funding for this summer's projects, the center will have awarded more than 100 Legatum Seed Grants since the program's inception in 2009.

This year's awardees include:

Team: Kevin Kung, Yafei Han, Daisy Chang, Lyndsy Muri, Jacob Young, Libby McDonald and Kamau Gachigi, students from the School of Engineering, School of Architecture + Planning (SA+P) and Wellesley College; and mentors Libby McDonald from DUSP and Kamau Gachigi from the University of Nairobi.
Takachar aims to convert household organic waste into charcoal. This summer’s pilot will be conducted in Kibera, Kenya.

Team: Stephanie Yaung and George Xu, studying at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.
Quantamerix is working to provide more accessible and widespread testing for newborns in China. Their proprietary technology provides quantitative results without requiring a separate device to read the result from test strips.

Team: Wardah Inam from the School of Engineering and Faizan Rasool.
KnowElectricity is a social enterprise that aims to tackle a major energy crisis in Pakistan by focusing on consumer engagement for energy conservation through education and promotion of energy efficient products and practices in Pakistan.

Team: Cole Shaw, Taylor Morris, Mary Masterman, Francisco Valenzuela, Sarah Bruce, Enrique Garcia Gutierrez and Dr. Joaquin Salas Rodriguez.
Imagínate is a workshop that introduces Mexican university students to user-centric product design by getting them heavily involved in interviewing, observing and understanding users. Several team members are affiliated with the School of Engineering.

Team: Chihari Shirai, Suprio Das, Norikazu Ogawa, Yumiko Yamada, Rebecca Smith, Laura Stupin, Eric Re, students from Sloan, Fletcher School, and individuals from D-Lab.
Zimba is a social enterprise focusing on building cost effective access to safe drinking water for underserved communities. The main product is an automatic chlorine doser, which attaches to handpumps. The technology will be piloted this summer in rural areas of India.

Team: Joseph Matthews, Diana Jue, Jackie Stenson, Rob Weiss, Prashanth Venkataramana, Jaya Movva and Ben Younkman.
Essmart is an essential technology distributor that gives rural retail shops in India access to technologies that improve their customers’ lives. Essmart combines innovations in sourcing, distribution, marketing and after-sales service to bring essential technologies to end-users through the local retail shop network.

True Africa
Team: David Ly, Claude Grunitzky, Matthieu Monsch.
True Africa is a mobile-based directory service with a professional networking capability for African businesses. True Africa will provide bottom-of-the-pyramid professionals in Togo with the exposure and connections they need to generate interest in their services.

Team: Leonie Badger, Aminate Kane, Claude Grunitzky
Their project is the result of collaboration between Leonie Badger, SA+P, and Claude Grunitzky and Aminate Kane of the MIT Sloan School of Management. The goal of Fula&Style is to produce fashionable and affordable business clothes, made with lighter and more climatically suitable fabric for the African continent.

Skadar Retreat
Team: Slobodan Radoman, Vasco Miguel De Portugal Dias Rato, Gabriel Ochoa de Bedout, Caleb Harper, Srdja Markovic, and Rados Zuric, a team that includes three SA+P students.
The Skadar Retreat project is located on the border between Montenegro and Albania. It is a tourism project that takes advantage of the beautiful yet economically challenged area around the Skadar Lake by developing an eco-resort.

Team: Danny Castonguay, Leah Grace Capitan, Ariel Smoliar, Martim Vaz Pinto, Wittaya Job Reanchaipitak, Carlos Yeung, and Masatoshi Sugihara.
SMART (Sustainable Management of Agricultural Resources and Trade) 
Coops is a mobile payment and online marketplace that connects farmers
to agricultural cooperatives, and in turn to banks, input
suppliers, government agencies, and crop buyers who all benefit from
increased information.

Team: Kali Xu, Jesika Haria, Mason Glidden, Vivian Liu, Felicia Hsu, Anisha.
The Showergy team aims to address both sanitation and safety in slum areas of Nairobi by creating a cost-effective, scalable shower system.

Team: Venkataraman Ramachandran, Bilikiss Adebiui, Alex Fallon, Lindsay Majno, Emily Boggs, Madeline Hickman, and Jonathan Kola.
This project team includes students from Sloan, the School of Engineering, Harvard, and former students. Wecyclers is a crowd-sourced recycling platform that harnesses the power of urban communities to reclaim their neighborhoods from unmanaged waste.

Mumbai Biogas Dissemination
Team: Claire Markgraf, Anna Gross, Ciro Lorio, Libby McDonald, and Lucia Fernandez, students from Sloan and SA+P.
The aim of the Mumbai Biogas Dissemination is to improve livelihood security among a cooperative of women waste pickers in Mumbai, through assisting in the development and franchising of small biogas businesses.

Learn more about the seed grants at

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