Author Archives: LuminaidLab

LuminAID is Named Up-and-Comer Winner at 13th annual Chicago Innovation Awards

LuminAID is honored to have been named one of the Up-and-Comer winners of the 13th annual Chicago Innovation Awards!  The winners were announced last night at Chicago’s Harris Theater on Thursday, October 30, with nearly 1,500 business and civic leaders attending. The Chicago Innovation Awards, celebrating its 13th year, is the Chicago region’s foremost recognition of the most innovative new products or services brought to market or to public service each year.

“Chicago is an innovation hub with talented business leaders who have the vision to see things differently and set themselves apart from the competition,” said Tom Kuczmarski, co-founder with Chicago journalist Dan Miller of the awards. “Every winner of the Chicago Innovation Awards embodies this mindset, and each one has found a unique way to solve a previously unmet need in the market.”

“We are honored to receive the Up and Comer Award from the Chicago Innovation Awards and be recognized in our hometown for contributing to the safety of our community and our consumers,” said Andrea Sreshta, co-founder of LuminAID. “We’re already planning new innovations using this unique technology in an effort to continue to contribute to Chicago’s vibrant entrepreneurial community.”

“With more than 550 nominees received this year, it is clear that Chicago continues to rise as a global center of innovation. This region has become a magnet for attracting the capital and talent needed to fuel even more innovation activity and economic growth,” said Luke Tanen, Executive Director of the Chicago Innovation Awards.

The complete list of this year’s Chicago Innovation Award winners can be found at www.chicagoinnovationawards.com.

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Notes from the field: Alle Kamela, Peace Corps Volunteer in Madagascar

LuminAID is excited to start a new series, Notes from the Field, dedicated to guest bloggers who have taken and distributed LuminAIDs in parts of the world where people lack stable access to electricity. The more than 8,000 LuminAID lights that have been donated and distributed in projects in over 15 countries would not have been possible without the partnerships with organizations and volunteers who have helped us to distribute LuminAID lights to those in need. Our first series will feature Alle Kamela, a peace corps volunteer in Madagascar. Alle first used LuminAID lights on her own travels and in her home in Madagascar. She then wrote to us about her project in Madagascar and how she thought LuminAID lights could be of great use in the community where she is working. We are excited to stay in touch with her as she distributes LuminAIDs to those in her village as part of our Give Light, Get Light program and to learn more about how LuminAID lights can play a role in improving people’s lives on a daily basis in the village. Thanks again Alle, for helping to spread LuminAID’s mission to provide access to clean and safe lighting to all!

Alle and the community she is serving in Madagascar

Alle and the community she is serving in Madagascar

I live and work on the East Coast, where banana trees line river ways.  It is humid and tropical, with plenty of fresh fruits and fish. 

A native of Takoma Park, MD, just outside Washington, DC, I was raised in a diverse place, giving me an appreciation for all people.  I realized the intrinsic beauty in discovering new ways of life at a young age, as I moved over 20 times in my childhood.  The practice I gained adapting to new places and making new friends as a child has been key to my success integrating in my Peace Corps site, Ilaka Est. 

In my first year of service, I held a community-wide World AIDs Day and Soccer Tournament, Malaria Day Festival, and ran Youth and Girls’ Clubs.  Now I’m transitioning to a Nutrition Project, complete with household garden and healthy cooking demonstrations.

I speak a coastal dialect of Malagasy language when conducting Monthly Trainings with the local Doctor to improve Mother and Child Health services delivered to remote villages by Community Health Workers.  The CHWs, all volunteers, provide education and consultations to families of children under 5, sell medicine, and administer Malaria tests.  They live up to 20K away from the Health Clinic in town, so they serve as immediate responders.  They help sick people 24 hours a day, in towns without electricity, so they use kerosene lamps.  LuminAID’s donation will provide clean, renewable light to volunteers serving their own communities, which will positively impact the entire population, in a ripple effect.

You can read more about my work at www.pcmadagascar.wordpress.com.

Misaotra Betsaka, Thank You from everyone in Ilaka!

LuminAID in India & Women in the World

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This past January, co-founder Andrea made a trip to Pennular village outside of Chennai, India, where LuminAID hosted past Give Light, Get Light projects. In conjunction with a group of engineering students from Sri Venkateswara College of Engineering, we distributed LuminAID lights to primary school students.
We are honored to visit schools and projects on the ground. It is notable to see the challenges that students around the world face, such as power cuts which affect studying at night and make it difficult for young women to stay in school. We hope to mitigate such challenges through sustainable solar-powered lighting.
LuminAID was recently honored as one of the 2014 Mothers of Invention by Toyota USA Women in the World. We had an amazing experience at the summit in New York, and are so grateful and humbled to be named among the world’s leading inventors and change-makers.
As we have seen ourselves since our trip to India, young women around the world face a lot of challenges. We see the importance of good lighting for safety, education, and general wellbeing, and strive to continue distributing lights to those in need!
Watch the Women in the World feature here.
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LuminAID Attends White House Maker Faire

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On Wednesday, June 18, LuminAID co-founder Andrea had the honor of attending the first ever White House Maker Faire. Hosted by President Obama, the event featured Makers, innovators, and entrepreneurs of all ages and showcased the nation’s latest technological and scientific advancements.

LuminAID had an incredible time speaking at the event. Andrea talked about how we made the first LuminAID prototypes with handheld heat-sealers, radio shack batteries, and all different types of solar panels.

By now we’ve re-told our story to press and media, but it’s nice to revisit the time when we were students making our prototype in the kitchen, and remember where it all started. We hope to continue to have fun experimenting with ideas, making things by hand, and perhaps most importantly, affect positive change through our inventions.

This was the second time LuminAID has been represented at the White House. LuminAID’s founders have also been contributors to the White House Blog. You can check out their articles here and here.

 

Give the Gift of Light!

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With the holiday season coming up, LuminAID is proud to announce its holiday campaign, “Give the Gift of Light!” Buy LuminAID lights for yourself, friends, and family, while also donating matching lights to those in-need around the world. We are partnering with Pencils of Promise (Ghana), CAN-DO (Haiti), Responsible Charity (India), and various organizations in the Philippines.

Each light comes with a custom tribute card that says how many lights you donated and the name of the organization you picked to receive the matching lights. Your purchase will cover the cost of one light that will be sent to you, as well as the donation of one LuminAID light and all associated shipping and distribution costs.

Over the past year, LuminAID has distributed more than 5000 lights across projects in 15 countries. We are so grateful for the support of our fans and hope to send many more lights over the holiday season!

LuminAID Partners with ShelterBox

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LuminAID is excited to announce its new partnership with ShelterBox!

ShelterBox is an international disaster relief charity that provides shelter and relief aid to victims of natural and other disasters. Each ShelterBox is equipped with a tent, tool kit, stove, cooking utensils, blankets, water storage and purification equipment, and other items vital for survival. Most recently, ShelterBox has been working to send aid to over 4,500 families in Syria, Iraqi Kurdistan, Lebanon, and Jordan.

We are excited about this partnership, as it is our mission to have solar lighting commonly integrated into disaster relief aid through smart product design. In fact, it was organizations like ShelterBox that we had in mind when designing the LuminAID, making sure to create a light that was compact, lightweight, and easy to pack and distribute.

We look forward to working with ShelterBox and expanding our disaster relief efforts. It is our goal to make sustainable lighting a reality for all, especially during crises and disasters.

LuminAID “Likes for Lights” Facebook Campaign

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LuminAID is proud to announce its “Likes for Lights” Facebook campaign, lasting throughout July and August. For every 10 “likes” our Facebook page receives, 1 LuminAID light will be donated to a partner organization, to be distributed to students and families in need.

LuminAID is partnering with Responsible Charity, Solar Sister, Pencils of Promise, Operation Outreach Afghanistan, Ubushobozi, and the Nepali Children’s Education Project. Each organization will be featured on certain days of the campaign, with daily “likes” corresponding to the number of lights they receive. Our goal is to reach 10,000 likes, or 1,000 donated lights, by the end of the summer.

We are so excited to continue distributing lights to schools, villages, and families around the world and appreciate the continued support of our fans. Help spread the light by liking our page here!

LuminAID Lab Wins 100k in the 2013 Clean Energy Challenge

LuminAID Lab won the first place prize of $100k in the 2013 Midwest Clean Energy Challenge earlier this month. We are incredibly honored and grateful to receive this prize. The Clean Energy Challenge is a business competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy in the Midwest region and it is administered by the Clean Energy Trust.

The competition was a great experience for LuminAID and we look forward to using the award money to further develop and commercialize our technology. A big thank you to the Clean Energy Trust, the DOE, Chicago Booth School of Business and all the judges, sponsors, and mentors involved!

Read more: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-04-04/business/chi-chicagobased-luminaid-with-clean-energy-challenge-20130404_1_amy-francetic-clean-energy-trust-midwest

LuminAID Lab & Columbia University Enter Into Exclusive License Agreement

We are excited to enter into an exclusive licensing agreement with Columbia University for the patents that we filed as graduate students at Columbia. Columbia Technology Ventures was an early supporter of LuminAID and has been a great resource for LuminAID throughout the past few years. Read the Press Release here.

The Intellectual Property filed cover an extensive range of shapes, sizes and performances of solar, inflatable products and applications. LuminAID is excited to commercialize new products and applications of the inflatable solar light technology, and will work to make this technology accessible to victims of disaster and crises, and those who lack access to energy around the world. We look forward to growing our company with the resources, knowledge and support of Columbia University and Columbia Tech Ventures.

Press Release