Dr. Paul Polak is founder and CEO of Windhorse International and Paul Polak Enterprises, two corporations that will serve as a platform for the formation of new frontier multinationals. Dr. Polak is starting these new social ventures with the mission of inspiring and leading a revolution in how companies design, price, market and distribute products to benefit the 2.6 billion customers who live on less than $2 a day, combining radically affordable technology with radically decentralized supply chains to earn profits serving bottom billion customers.
The first division of Windhorse International, Spring Health Water (India), sells affordable safe drinking water to rural Indians through local kiosk owners using a simple electro-chlorination technology. Spring Health aims, within ten years, to reach at least 100 million customers who live on less than $2 a day.
The first division of Paul Polak Enterprises is SunWater, a company that is lowering the cost of photovoltaics by 80% in order to develop a solar pumping system that is competitive with 5-hp diesel pumps of which there are about 20 million currently used in India alone.
Prior to founding Windhorse International and Paul Polak Enterprises, Dr. Polak founded D-Rev: Design Revolution, a non-profit design incubator for technologies that serve customers living on less than $4 a day. In 1981, Dr. Polak founded International Development Enterprises (IDE), a non-profit organization that has brought nearly 20 million of the world’s poorest people out of poverty by making radically affordable irrigation technology available to farmers through local small-scale entrepreneurs, and opening private sector access to markets for their crops.
Dr. Polak has been recognized by Scientific American as one of the world’s leading 50 contributors to science, he was named Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the western states, and received the Florence Monito Del Giardino award for environmental preservation in 2008. His work has been featured in articles in Businessweek, The Economist, The New York Times, Forbes and National Geographic. In 2009, he was named one of the world’s “Brave Thinkers by Atlantic Monthly, along with Barack Obama and Steve Jobs, for being willing to “risk careers, reputations, and fortunes to advance ideas that upend an established order.”
Dr. Polak’s first book, Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail, has become a renowned resource for practical solutions to global poverty. His second book, The Business Solution to Poverty, published in 2013 with co-author, Mal Warwick has been adopted as a leading guide to profitable solutions to ending poverty on a truly large scale. Bill Clinton called The Business Solution to Poverty “one of the most hopeful propositions to come along in a long time.”
June 13, 2014
On today's show, John speaks with author Paul Polak, who has designed a program to help 100 million $2-a-day customers move out of poverty.