Global Cycle Solutions is a social enterprise that aims to improve the lives of rural and poor Tanzanians with quality technology. By working with rural villagers, the organization is able to understand the needs of its customers and provide the appropriate technology.
It first opened in Tanzania in 2009 as a technology company. At the time, it was selling bicycle parts to smallholder farmers. Soon enough, the company realized that it could have an even bigger impact on communities by focusing on villages. Tanzanian villages often lacked basic amenities such as electricity and light. Understanding this, Global Cycle Solutions shifted gears to improving village life. From then on, Global Cycle Solutions became more than just a company selling technology, it became a collaborative and innovative organization designed to uplift the poor.
The enterprise works primarily in two ways. If a need can be fulfilled with existing technology than Global Cycle Solutions will build and develop a network of entrepreneurs through what they call their Rafiki Network. One product that is currently being distributed through the network is the SunKing Pro Solar Light and Phone Charger. Both the light and charger provide incredibly efficient and long-lasting power and light sources.
If a need cannot be fulfilled with pre-existing products than Global Cycle Solutions develops technology by partnering with universities, villages and other innovators. Currently, a bike-powered maize sheller, bicycle phone charge, and a multi-crop thresher are being developed by the organization for distribution.
How can you get involved with Global Cycle Solutions? One way is by contributing a micro-loan. A micro-loan of just $100 is enough to jumpstart one individual’s entrepreneurial career as well as help them begin the climb out of poverty. For a more hands-on approach, the enterprise also offers various positions on its project teams. Student opportunities to get involved can come in the form of collaboration with universities. For intern April Zhu, her involvement with Global Cycle Solutions began in the spring of 2012 with her work with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s D-lab. Now as a member of the product development team, April works on testing prototypes of the multi-crop thresher before the harvest season is over.
Through this highly innovative and collaborative work, Global Cycle Solutions has impacted over 3,000 families over the last two years. Now the organization aims to create a sustainable network within villages to increase the availability of technology for all. By improving the standard of living for local Tanzanian villagers, Global Cycle Solutions is bringing empowerment to all within its network.
– Grace Zhao