BACKGROUND Argos Society was founded in November 2012 by Elaine Truong and Michelle Le at UC Irvine. The idea officially premiered at the Clinton Global Initiative University in April 2013. Since then, the founders have been working on project proposal ideas and creating dynamic teams of engineering and business students to find sustainable solutions to engineering problems in developing countries.
MISSION Over 3 billion people live on less than $2.50 a day. They are limited in basic needs, much less business services. Budding entrepreneurs are restricted and innovation is stifled. As "essential components for economic growth and productivity" (UNESCO), innovation and microbusinesses have gained traction over the past few years. Moreover, developing countries are prime grounds for entrepreneurship with less competition and diverse markets instead of niche markets as in developed countries. At Argos Society, engineering and business students provide consulting services, mentorship, and seed grants to disadvantaged entrepreneurs. We believe in empowering innovation. As the Goldwater Institute Policy Report states, "for every 1% increase in entrepreneurship, there is a 2% decline in poverty." Most programs similar to ours focus on ideas rather than implementation, often leaving participants with little help after the fellowship period ends. Taking inspiration from private business practices and applying them in the nonprofit sector, Argos Society works with entrepreneurs abroad to develop a carefully researched business plan to execute their sustainable ideas.
ELAINE TRUONG is a Materials Engineering student at UCLA. She specializes in social entrepreneurship, launching her first nonprofit at 15 years old. Elaine manages all things technical such as website and graphics. Additionally, she supervises projects and updates social media outlets while leading board meetings. Elaine likes tea, vintage model ships, and yoga. Her life goal is to experience the world by living in a new country every few years, leaving each destination a little better than when she first found it, and continue to build tech startups.
MICHELLE LE is double majoring in Business Administration and Psychology & Social Behavior at UC Irvine. She has experience in human resources and has served as a Marketing Assistant at Prudential Financial. Michelle is the backbone of the company, overseeing finances, rallying venture capitalists for funding, and researching current trends. Michelle can be instantly swayed by anything cute - baby huskies, bunnies, and the like. Despite that, she loves engaging in intellectual discussions about human behavior and looks forward to a career in business management.
ADVISORY BOARD & MENTORS
Coming soon. Know a mentor that's right for us? Contact us below.
This project harnesses natural power from the wind, providing a simple way to generate a stable source of energy. The mechanical energy generated from the kite's airborne movement is converted into usable energy, which is stored in a battery or sent to a grid. The higher it goes in the atmosphere, the more energy it can capture. Current systems can be extremely costly and use elaborate and difficult designs. The project's goal is to create a model that is simple enough to power African villagers' everyday activities.
CHALLENGE: Design a cost-friendly airborne wind turbine made from local materials. Business students will secure venture funding.
LOOKING FOR: Engineering majors (mechanical, aerospace, environmental, materials, et al), business majors (any discipline).
Inspired by research from Harvard University, students will design a microbial fuel cell made from dirt for an African village which allows people to charge their cellphones. Engineering students are responsible for design and testing, and business students will create a microbusiness plan. Chemical energy generated from bacteria in dirt is converted to electrical energy by basic redox reactions. However, not all forms of bacteria are electrochemically active and that's where we come in.
CHALLENGE: Develop a microbial fuel cell with a safe chemical mediator that facilitates flow of electrons to optimize battery life.
LOOKING FOR: Engineering majors (chemical, electrical, materials, environmental, et al), business majors (any discipline).
Our third potential project deals with solar energy. it is currently being developed so be sure to check back on our site to find more information. If you would like to submit your own idea, use our contact form below.
All of our members contribute pro bono. We can't offer much compensation aside from virtual hugs, mentorship, and our eternal gratitude. But if you convince some folks to invest in us, then we'll eventually have enough to provide stipends.
WHO ARE WE LOOKING FOR?
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