What started as the dream of three individuals in an accelerator program in Montreal, passionate about social innovation and bridging the digital divide in rural areas, became a burgeoning project reuniting community stakeholders, nonprofits, and social entreprises across 6 countries, now working together to cultivate the conditions for individuals, no matter their socio-economic status, geographic location, cultural background, gender, or race, to create and seize opportunities for self-actualization and community self-sufficiency.
OUR CORE VALUES
As this story continues to be written, we stay grounded in our belief that communities know what's best for them. All that they are missing is the access to tools and resources for them to reach and optimize their potential. This belief is embodied in our core values of:
Our partners are not solely consulted in our product design process but egalitarian stakeholders whose needs and feedback informs and shapes our entire product development and community engagement.
Our theory of change advocates that community leaders and community-based organizations define and determine their own terms for community development and growth, through bottom-up resource, knowledge and data sharing.
We are not proprietary of our hardware products as they are the results of collectively conceived prototypes and case-by-case customization. We invite all interested parties to hack and improve our products.
MEET THE TEAM
Jessica Newfield, Head of Strategy & Operations
Originally from Los Angeles, but raised in Paris, France, Jessica has spent the last five years as a freelance writer and consultant in sustainable business and nonprofit management in Montreal. A McGill graduate in Political Science and International Development Studies, she also has extensive experience in stakeholder consultation and journalistic writing.
She is passionate about making communities self-sufficient through collective social projects and adapted tech solutions for resource management. Her main interests include leadership research, tracking responsible investments and seizing sustainable travel opportunities. You can usually find her at live concerts, pretending to be a member of riot girl band, or trying out new dance moves at Studio 303. She has a typical West Coast obsession with "authentic" tamales and populating her apartment with Lavender-infused products.
Zhonghan Zhou, Co-founder and Head of Engineering
Zhonghan was born in Shenyang, China. With a first degree in hotel management, he studied and worked in Beijing for five years. After several years of gruelling work in human resources and employee management, and training thousands of people, Zhonghan finally found his passion – communicating with computers more efficiently. So he quit his job and came to Montreal to study computer science at Concordia University.
Zhonghan has worked since as a software programmer, with a specialization in web services and applications. As a tech geek and cinema fan, Zhonghan spends most of his spare time staying up to date on the latest tech innovation trends (with a soft spot for virtual reality developments) and sci-fi movie analysis. He's quite the fan of WestWorld if you're wondering what TV show to binge watch next.
Valentin Kravtchenko, Co-founder and Senior Advisor
Born in the Soviet Union (back when it used to be a thing), Valentin studied communication and video production in Montreal which brought him to different countries in West Africa and South America. As an UQAM graduate and with a specialization in project management, education and IT, he has eight years of experience training students, teachers, research centres, and NGOs on communication strategy and strategic planning.
While he was stuck in a cybercafe somewhere in a suburb of Lomé, Togo, Valentin became hooked on troubleshooting technical difficulties. There's nothing more rewarding than providing schools and rural communities with access to the wealth of crucial online information. A walking encyclopedia, Valentin is your go-to guide on camping and hiking gear, and can talk your ear off about why he prefers Android to Windows Systems.