MIT D-Lab is working with The Charcoal Project to host a five-day convening for a small group of charcoal briquette producers. The Advancing Sustainable cHarcoal Enterprises at Scale (AScHES) convening will be held in Naivasha, Kenya from October 1 to 5, 2018.
In communities around the world, entrepreneurs are producing fuel briquettes from waste as an alternative to wood-derived charcoal. With many organizations involved, there is a need to coordinate and formalize as a sector. Some organizations struggle with challenges that others have succeeded in overcoming. However, there are few opportunities for exchanging approaches and experiences, and there is a need for alignment in measuring and reporting impact to attract more support for this sector.
We hope to strengthen the charcoal briquette sector by bringing people together to become more informed ambassadors for sustainable fuels, with knowledge and inspiration for advancing their technology and business, and to cultivate a community of practice, so that briquette businesses can be more sustainable and communities can be served with better products.
Goals of AScHES
Through AScHES 2018, we aim to:
- Cultivate the community of at-scale charcoal briquette producers for exchange of knowledge and best practices, and formation of new partnerships.
- Equip charcoal briquette producers to be more informed micro-ambassadors for a formalized and connected industry.
- (Re)Inspire charcoal briquette producers with new ideas and tools for alternative business models, entrepreneurship skills, leadership skills, and production methods.
What do we expect after the convening?
At AScHES 2018, participants will co-design our community of practice. A community of practice is a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. After the convening, the AScHES community will gather regularly, to share information in response to our community's needs, including facilitated sharing of new advances, best practices, guest speakers, and updates from working groups. We expect participants to bring new ideas to the table that unify the community of practice and provide more producers with access to knowledge. We hope the convening will catalyze useful collaborations and initiatives between participant organizations as well as with MIT D-Lab and the Charcoal Project.
Requirements for Participation
For AScHES 2018, we are looking to gather charcoal briquette producers who meet the following criteria:
- Years in Business: 1+
- Employees: At least 5
- Production / Sales: 3+ tons per week -or- USD 50,000-2,000,000 per year
- Customer Base: Various target audiences will be considered
- Distribution Method: Various business models will be considered
- Ownership Structure: Profit or Nonprofit as long as at or approaching financial sustainability
- Location: Various locations as long as willing to travel for the convening (expenses will be covered)
- Role in organization: In a position to make decisions and create vision for the organization
- Willingness to Share: Must be willing to share about their business and technology, lessons learned and best practices
- Positive Influencer: Have a confirmed positive presence in the community they work in
- Community/Continuity: Willing to continue contributing to the AScHES community after the convening
In addition to the criteria above, all applicants must:
- Be able to attend the entire convening
- Be 18 years of age or older
- Complete the application on time – no late or incomplete applications will be reviewed
Applications will be reviewed and selected based on the following criteria:
- Alignment with AScHES goals
- Willingness to share your own work
- Willingness to learn from other’s work
- Interest in continuing to participate in the AScHES community
Travel + Accommodation Fees
As we do not want cost to be a barrier for participation, all travel, food, and accommodations during the convening will be covered for all participants and arranged by the organizing team. We will share more details with participants upon their selection.
How to Apply
If you are interested and available to be a participant in the AScHES convening, please complete the participant application here by Sunday, May 6, 2018 at 11:59pm EDT.
The committee will review all applications and select 15-20 participants to invite to the convening. All applicants will be notified of their status by May 18. For those not selected, we will send more information on how to stay informed and involved in the AScHES community beyond the convening.
How can I be involved in AScHES if I cannot attend the convening?
If you are unable to attend the AScHES convening, we would still like to keep you involved and updated in the community of practice. Please send an email here and we will add you to the listserve.
Comments + Questions
For any other questions, comments, ideas about AScHES, or assistance with your application, feel free to contact the organizers here.