PowerMundo Wants to be the Best Buy of Sustainable Products

In a world slowly waking up to the power of social entrepreneurship—sustainable, scalable solutions developed through rigorous market feedback and testing based on private sector principles—PowerMundo represents the bleeding edge.

Developed by a group of students from Colorado State University’s groundbreaking Global Sustainable and Social Enterprise masters program, PowerMundo does not actually develop any products. Instead, PowerMundo leverages its network of suppliers and retailers to provide a portfolio of products that customers can buy to improve their lives in diverse ways. The products available thus far offer a range of benefits, from cheaper cooking to money saving devices that promise to pay for themselves within a year.

This is important because it doesn’t matter how ingenious and field-tested a product may be if the people who need it most living in far-flung communities have no way of learning about it. Product awareness was one of the biggest problems faced in Africa by KickStart and its renowned MoneyMaker pump as explained by co-Founder Martin Fisher during a presentation at NYU Reynolds. In many cases, word-of-mouth is the only “marketing” available to cash strapped social startups in a world where the internet and television are distant ambitions.

PowerMundo’s on the ground “social marketing” service fills this much needed niche. It is beautifully business, and represents the increasing sophistication of the social enterprise sector–providing efficiency-boosting cohesion and information flow between retailers, manufacturers, product designers, and the end consumer. 

PowerMundo improves the strategic robustness of the sector, instead of just another tactical offering. PowerMundo’s savvy has been duly noted by the community, having raised $109,000 in seed funding within their first year of operation by placing in business plan competitions around the United States.

It is not just the clarity of mission, but the audacity of vision that makes Michael Callahan, Jacob Castillo, and the rest of the PowerMundo team provocative players in the sector. “We want to be the Circuit City for sustainable products,” said Callahan at a conference celebrating social entrepreneurship in Denver in 2008. Big goals like “make social business the new sustainable standard for international aid and development” populate the home page—tangible support for a new way forward as popularized by books like White Man’s Burden and Dead Aid.

With such a clearly articulated strategy and initial success, I would not be surprised to see competitors spring up in other regions such as Asia and Africa where the name PowerMundo may not hold as much capital. This, of course, is one of the paradoxes of being a social business: more competition equals more smart minds working to improve the world’s problems, but also means more smart minds working to take a slice of your business.

Photo via PowerMundo

46 comments

Akin Adelakun
Akin Adelakun7 years ago

thanks for the great article

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Will L.
Past Member 8 years ago

Ideas are free..through AI Institute a free cell phone and information service to African students and any citizen in any African country can receive voice answers to any question in their own language..24/7 365 days a year..a few words in the right ears or email can start a tsunami of change in real time..using partial research budgets too small for major initiatives but large enough for making real positive changes in real lives..with a minimum of work expended..which can upon initial works burgeon into major initiatives with greater funding pools becoming available based on the success achieved already in any given project. Imagine the impact of such a service could have on rural peoples, who can not read or write and still gain knowledge after learning the basics of cell phone operation..or simply having a person in a village who already can read and write with a cell phone like this provided free..the infrastructure is steadily growing using satellite transmission, and artificial Intelligence..
I started this project with a recommendation offering a $1000 investment from a charitable foundation per month to fund the project. The research Institute added an additional $5000 surplus from another project to the cell phone service,many of the programmers devote their time to worthy ideas.
The biggest hill to climb is the data base..an encyclopedic source on any subject..most relative area first and expanding.
The little guy can achieve great ends with few resources.

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Garret McCarty
Garret McCarty8 years ago

Good deal

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Kath R.
Kath P8 years ago

I'm also curious to see where it will go.

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Emma S.
Emma S8 years ago

Hurrah!

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Catalina D.
Catalina D8 years ago

good idea!

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Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman8 years ago

Noted, thanx

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Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers8 years ago

A very interesting article!!

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David N.
David N8 years ago

Thanks for the article. Great idea. I'm curious to see where this goes.

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Sumit jamadar
Sumit jamadar8 years ago

THANKS

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