YoungWorldInventors.com - Global Cycle Solutions is an MIT team founded and led by Jodie Wu, a 2009 mechanical engineering graduate of MIT. A Chinese-American who hails from Georgia, Jodie went to Tanzania two summers ago. There, she met Bernard Kiwia, a Tanzanian inventor and bike mechanic from Arusha, near Mt. Kilamanjaro, and was inspired to create a pedal-powered corn sheller. Jodie returned from Tanzania as a Baker Foundation Fellow at MIT's Public Service Center, where she worked with students to carry out her ideas, and quickly realized its potential. Thus, she founded GCS, which quickly won the Development Track and Audience Choice Awards of the MIT $100K Business Plan Competition.
Although offered a full scholarship to study mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley's graduate school, Jodie has spent the past year working full-time in Tanzania, and plans to stay there, turning GCS into a reality. Bernard Kiwia gave a workshop at MIT in April showing a dozen inventions he made after he was inspired by IDDS, an invention symposium he went to with Jodie, with inventors from around the world. The growing GCS team are, in their own words, "transforming the bicycle into a vehicle of innovation." Together Jodie, Bernard their teams in Tanzania and the U.S. have invented a corn sheller and a cell phone charger, both powered by bicycles. After winning prestigious prizes in the U.S. (the Lemelson MIT prize for Social Entrepreneurship) and Tanzania (Nane Nane Agricultural Fair in Arusha), the pressure is on to develop markets and supply chains with a local Tanzanian team. They face drought, fabrication snafus and team building issues. Thus, the cycle of invention powers innovation, and collaboration empowers both local creativity and economies.
Our video series documenting GCS will detail the failures and successes of the team and will chart their learning curve for creative revision, fabrication, and building supply chains and fluid investor relations. Small successes keep the team's eyes on a global prize: doubling the incomes of small rural farmers.
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