Smart Village Entrepreneurship
TWCF Number
Project Duration
October 1 / 2014
- September 30 / 2017
Core Funding Area
Individual Freedom and Free Markets
Amount Awarded
Grant DOI*

* A Grant DOI (digital object identifier) is a unique, open, global, persistent and machine-actionable identifier for a grant.

Bernie Jones
Institution The Cambridge Malaysian Education and Development Trust (CMEDT)

​Over one billion people still live without power, mainly in small rural communities in the developing world, with predictable consequences for health, education, wealth and ability to engage in wider society.  Initial research suggests that the combination of technological innovation and entrepreneurship can form a virtuous circle – a village making its own power will generate opportunities for new entrepreneurship and a demand for further innovations (eg communication, remote education, health care). This project aims to identify the most promising technological innovations for effective and affordable solutions at the village level, to understand how local entrepreneurship can serve to deliver these solutions to accomplish societal change in off-grid villages including the empowerment of women, and what framework conditions are required to enable local entrepreneurs to bring about that change and improve society. Speaking to entrepreneurs, international decision-makers and funders, rural off-grid communities and the scientific community, our project's activities include international workshops around the world to examine the nexus of local challenges, innovations in science and technology, entrepreneurial activity, supportive policies and regulatory frameworks.  Continuing regional engagement internationally will bring these issues to the attention of, and support key groups such as decision-makers, community leaders and the media. Global resources will be developed to inform and stimulate debate including a website, book of essays, a pocket guide for communicators and decision-makers, and a number of research publications. A series of international competitions for entrepreneurial solutions to these challenges will be conducted internationally. Key partners in the initiative will be national academies of sciences and their international networks, harnessing the best local scientific talents and providing an authoritative and well-connected route to local audiences and the policy communities.  We envisage that as a result, there will be a huge increase in awareness of the options for using entrepreneurship and technological innovation to lift off-grid villages out of poverty and isolation, and that they will consequently be able to take self-sustaining measures of implementation.  

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