Jola Venture is a university spin-off social enterprise focused on improving the agricultural sector in Cameroon with culturally compatible, innovative solutions to age-old problems. Our solutions are expansive in their potential for positive impact, yet remain tailored to the lives of the individual villagers with whom we have formed close relationships over the past few years. We are building from the ground up to bring value to farmers' operations by providing access to regular markets and to university-derived technologies. Our vision is beneficial to everyone involved; institutional relations with schools in Cameroon and the U.S for the exchange of students and their innovations, a field translational lab on Cameroon where technologies are tested, redesigned and then deployed, a capacity building center where the entire rural population gains access to information, technology and entrepreneurship training, a warehouse and packaging center where all our produce is stored, packaged and distributed. Jola Venture has successfully created a platform for interdisciplinary focus at universities, inter-University collaboration and community engagement with a goal to provide sustainable solutions to the bottom of the pyramid.
Our current platform houses three technologies: the Solpod, a solar-powered fruit and food dehydrator designed by an NEU Engineering Capstone team, provides a much expedited, healthier alternative to traditional drying methods; a solar powered Water Desalinator and the most innovative Corn Sheller. Through the distribution of such crucial technologies, and the implementation of educational programs, we will aggregate a vast network of farmers, and get the average farmer involved in her potential for growth and included in the value chain of her products.
The Jola team involves students and young professionals from a wide variety of disciplines and backgrounds, which has proven very successful. Jola Venture was the winner of the Husky Innovation Challenge in 2010 and a recipient of IDEA GAP funding. Jola Venture has also had successes in numerous business plan competitions in the US.The team will be returning to Cameroon this September to construct the distribution center, launch sales of its technologies, and set up a Dialogue of Civilizations to Cameroon for Summer 2013.