In this week’s episode of 22 Lightbulbs, I talk to John Salzinger, cofounder and chief business development officer of MPOWERD.
A native New Yorker and born entrepreneur, John co-founded MPOWERD with the idea that innovative companies have a responsibility to lead – not only in the marketplace, but as a real force for good. He launched and managed several global media, tech and finance companies before starting MPOWERD, where he’s been a guiding force behind pretty much every aspect of the company’s strategy. From business growth to sales, marketing and product development (he even holds a Luci patent), John does it all. Outside the office, you’d most likely find him practicing his jump shot on the court or surfing waves.
In 2012 they created Luci®, an inflatable solar light, with the goal of making an affordable clean energy product that people could use in any situation — from outdoor camping adventures to backyard parties to everyday living for people in developing countries without electricity.
MPOWERD, as a social enterprise, we reinvest a majority of our gross revenues to achieve sustainability, grow our reach, and ensure the fulfillment of our mission.With Luci, we were aiming for something much bigger than convenience. We want to empower the three billion people around the world who still live without reliable access to electricity. So they made a light that’s clean and safe – pretty much the opposite of the toxic and expensive kerosene lamps so many depend on – because life doesn’t stop after the sun goes down.
This is an interesting time and one has to be aware of the crossroads we are in – not just politically but environmentally. We call it a Circle of Safety. There’ s an education you have to have in terms of what do you do in case a crisis comes upon you..
Puerto Rico is not even close to recovery. Economically forget about it. We were just there and it’s not ok.
The alignment of the NGO world with product and manufacturing companies in a seamless, campaign- based way is the allure to working with Level Giving.
1:52 – Introduction to the MPOWERD model
4:30 – What is Luci?
6:00 – Where Luci is found
8:32 – Luci in informal markets and female entrepreneurs
9:31 – The aha moment
9:50 – John’s trip to Haiti
11:38 – Luci’s impact
12:55 – Thoughts on the role of the private sector
15:40 – Lessons from launching a hard goods company
17:05 – Give Luci program
19:35 – Partnering with Level Giving and World Hope International to get lights to Puerto Rico.
Read more about the Puerto Rico response on our blog.
Listen to this related podcast with World Hope International and how they’re helping Puerto Rico prepare for hurricane season.
[The podcast name 22Lightbulbs is from Chinese numerology where the number 22 serves as the destiny number of individuals who are builders and leaders.]