2/26/2013 – Akiba Cooking Solutions is a start-up currently being developed at Colorado State University. It is a joint effort between a team of MBA students in the Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise Program and engineers in the Advanced Cookstoves Lab.
More than 35,000 schools in Kenya prepare student meals each day, some spending as much as $10,000 USD annually on firewood. Inefficient cooking methods are contributing to rapid deforestation and climate change – not to mention costing schools significant amounts of money.
Akiba Cooking Solutions will address both of these concerns by bringing next-generation semi-gasifier cookstoves to Kenya’s schools. Their stoves will reduce fuel costs up to 50% and emissions up to 90% in comparison to traditional cooking methods. They will offer a free “energy audit” to potential customers to help them understand how much wood and money their current cooking method is using and how much they could save by switching to Akiba Cooking Solutions. These savings will make a difference for schools educating Kenya’s children.
Akiba represents a shining star of market-based solutions to global challenges, but it isn’t easy to bring a venture like this to fruition. Numerous challenges confront entrepreneurs and technology solutions: For one, Akiba needs to bridge a funding gap. To begin to raise their start-up capital, Akiba has applied to a number of competitions and programs, including the Duke Start-Up Challenge, the Rice Business Plan Competition, the William James Foundation Competition, and the NCIIA E-Team Program. And in addition to funding challenges, Akiba needs to get into the field to test their assumptions, prove their business model, engage with their target market, and prepare to launch. Stay tuned for their update from the field this summer!