Round 3 of the Saha Challenge took place in Boston and we are just one step away from choosing our expansion country. Our Field Rep Alumni Challenge participants came to Boston on Sunday May 31st to give their final pitches for Cambodia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Nicaragua to a panel of judges.
For this round of the competition each team was given twenty minutes to pitch a 10 day scouting plan for our team to follow this Summer. Since February the participants have been researching these countries to get a better idea of what operating in the different regions may look like. The plan they put together outlined where we would fly into, the in-country transportation logistics required to reach rural communities, and proposed one to three cities for the Saha headquarters, as well as anticipate what we should expect in the communities as far as water and electricity access goes.
The panel of judges consisted of Kate Clopeck, Gabe Shapiro, Sarah Kearney, Pat Cahill, and Susan Murcott. As many of you may be aware, Kate Clopeck is Saha’s Executive Director and Co-founder; she knows the interworking of Saha’s operations in Ghana and gave the panel a balance when thinking through the feasibility of obstacles each country presented. Gabe Shapiro is Vice President of Outreach Programs at Next Step Living, one of Saha’s partners. Sarah Kearney is a Saha Board Member and the Executive Director at PRIME Coalition. Pat Cahill is also a Board Member and is the President at beep! directed voicemail. Susan Murcott is a Research Engineer at MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning and was Kate’s advisor when she attended MIT. Each judge’s unique understanding in this round was IMMENSELY beneficial! Their insight when thinking through Saha Global’s expansion in each of these countries combined with their personal experience were incredible viewpoints to have when considering our operations in each country.
Our panel of judges was throughly impressed by each of our participants. It was important for our judges to remember that the best pitch may not be the best fit for Saha’s expansion. They really needed to take the information at hand and applying that to Saha’s current model. After much deliberation, the judges selected Peru and Nicaragua, with the runner up being Ecuador. At the moment our budget only allows for scouting two countries. If given adequate funding, we would also love to scout Ecuador, as we think it has great Saha expansion potential.
For this next step in the Challenge our team will pack up and head to Peru and Nicaragua! The research is at a point where the only to way to get a better idea of what working in the country is to physically be there! Traveling out to the rural communities, meeting with community leaders, asking them about the current water and electricity situation, figuring out what materials are locally available, talking with locals about transportation and accommodation options, etc. We could not be any more excited!
A huge thank you to Katie Rumer, Kirsten Abel, MJ Rice, Sarah Steinke, Maxine Auzerais, and Kiana Kawamura for your participation in the Saha Challenge. We could have never gotten to this point without you. You all presented a solid case for your country’s and, if funding allowed, we would love to scout each one! Your research will be EXTREMELY beneficial as we look forward to exploring Cambodia, Ecuador and Panama for Saha in the future!