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Turn on the Sun in Africa

The magazine Wired has recently published an article about Solar Sister, a US-based non-profit enterprise, which is taking solar power’s potential to women in Uganda, Rwanda and southern Sudan.

Solar Sister creates sustainable businesses, powered by smart investments in women entrepreneurs, in order to cut poverty and spread electrical power in these countries where up to 95 per cent of the population lacks reliable access to electricity.

African women receive kits containing solar-powered equipment and are trained on how to use them; they then gain access to a team which teaches them how to sell the items and grow their customer base. They sell products such as lamps, mobile phone chargers and radios, keeping a ten per cent commission.

“Energy poverty is at the core of all poverty,” says Katherine Lucey, CEO of Solar Sister. “But with reliable access to electricity, people can live their lives more fully. Students can study at night, and women can cook. It completely changes their ability to lift themselves out of poverty.”

By | April 16th, 2012|Blog|0 Comments

Cai Lun (蔡伦) and the Papermaking Process

Do you know who invented the process of making paper? Paper has existed in China since the 2nd century BC, but it was Cai Lun (蔡伦) (ca. 50-121 AD) who is credited with significant improvements and the standardisation of the paper-making process, which today is still based on his technique.

Cai Lun was a court eunuch who was promoted several times under the rule of Emperor He of Han. In 89 AD, he received the title of Shang Fang Si, an office in charge of manufacturing instruments and weapons.

In 105 AD, Cai invented the composition need to make paper along with the papermaking process. This process included the use of materials like bark, hemp, silk and fishing net. Cai's paper (known as Cai Lun paper) was light and thin, strong and inexpensive and could be mass-produced.

Cai Lun’s invention enabled China to develop its civilisation much faster than with earlier writing materials (primarily bamboo). The same happened in Europe, where Cai Lun paper was introduced in the 12th or 13th century. This invention not only promoted written language, but it also progressed human civilisation as a whole. For these reasons, it is considered one of the most important inventions in history.

By | April 16th, 2012|Blog|0 Comments

Nottingham Lace Gives the British Economy a Boost!

The city of Nottingham has a lot of services to offer - a strong legal sector, many creative industries and of course SanTranslate translation services. Good translation is the springboard for brilliant British business ideas to go global. Selling abroad is in fact the business plan of Mary Portas, a retail expert who is having great success with the feature of Kinky Knickers in Mary's Bottom Line, a TV show on Channel 4.

Mary Portas wants to bring manufacturing back to the UK and has created high-quality ladies' knickers which are 100 percent British. They are made of Nottingham stretch lace. Mary revived the family firm of Headen & Quarmby of Middleton and got Nottingham-based lace-maker Jim Stacey, the last Nottingham stretch lace manufacturer in the UK, involved in the project.

Mary's idea is making people proud of buying a British product, not only in the UK but also worldwide. This ambitious experiment involves giving a chance to the long-term unemployed to learn new skills, and since the factory's new £10 'Kinky Knickers' went on sale on 20 March, the firm has had to take on extra staff to cope with the demand. This seems a very good start!

By | April 16th, 2012|Blog|0 Comments
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