Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

Our Organization

pax.green

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What is the name of your solution?

AI in the Andes

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Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

Solve YOUR data needs while saving OUR planet. Work with students in the Andes who use AI to fight for nature and against poverty.

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Film your elevator pitch.

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What specific problem are you solving?

We are addressing the joint problems of climate change, deforestation, biodiversity loss, and poverty--as manifested in Mindo, our home in Northern Ecuador. This tiny pueblo sits on the northern end of the Andes cordilleras, surrounded by tropical cloud forests, where warm vapor from the Pacific meets the cool Andes mountains. Here, moss-covered trees drip with bromeliads, ferns, and orchids that are home to more than 300 species of birds.


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Why Mindo matters: These trees are part of the Latin American forest ecosystem the United Nations estimates to be capturing 35% of the world’s total carbon in forest biomass. In these mountainous cloud forests, carbon storage is estimated to be 271 milligrams of carbon per hectare above ground and 384 mg C/ha below ground. This far exceeds the 192 mg C/ha carbon storage in United States forests (as estimated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture).

In the 1980s, Mindo staked its economic future on eco-tourism. Led by a visionary group of carpenters and wood-workers, the pueblo decided to protect its forests and to operate according to the maxim, “if you cut a tree, plant two more.”

But, all this changed with Covid.

The pandemic triggered the perfect storm for forest loss. After tourists stopped coming to Mindo, joblessness and poverty drove the desperate poor to environmentally damaging work such as illegal mining and cattle ranching. Meanwhile, the rich from Quito, Ecuador’s nearby capital, have been buying land and building country homes to escape the congested, virus-infected city. Between 2019 and 2021, Mindo lost 60 hectares of forested land (roughly the size of 3,106 tennis courts), equivalent to 655 mg of lost carbon storage.

Few families own most of Mindo’s forests, partly a legacy of Ecuador’s colonial past. By law, these forested areas can only be sold in minimum parcels of one hectare. By law, development must be preceded by preparation of an environmental impact statement. But these environmental laws are rarely enforced.

Mindo’s land sales are administered in Los Bancos, the county seat of government located a half hour’s drive from Mindo. Los Bancos has been indifferent to the environmental concerns of Mindo’s local residents, who understand their economic base depends on the forests around them.

Perhaps the biggest tragedy is that Mindo’s problems are being replicated in tropical cloud forests across the Andes mountains. If the world loses this unique, niche store of biomass—a complex ecosystem produced by evolution’s slow work—it loses a vital buffer against climate change. With this in mind, we are proposing a solution readily scalable across the forests of South America.

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What is your solution?

pax.green, our organization, is addressing the joint crises of climate change, forest destruction, biodiversity loss, and poverty. We propose a set of actions built on sustainability’s three foundations—nature, equity, and economics.

1.  NATURE: 

Monitoring forest cover and biodiversity.

We are building a decision support system called AI for Mindo, or AIM. Our AIM is to establish the expert-reviewed, transparent, and empirical basis for political action. With AIM, we leverage machine learning and synthesize publicly accessible data to build a system that is readily scalable across all forests in the world. With a grant from Microsoft’s AI for Earth program, we used AI to build a predictive model to map tree loss in Mindo, achieving an accuracy score of 96-100%, compared to 85% in previous studies. We published our methods in a peer-reviewed journal and codified our algorithms in a user-friendly package written in R, the public-domain statistical package.

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We are also using machine learning to monitor how Mindo’s changing environment influences bird biodiversity. We intend not just to monitor Mindo’s biodiversity but also to develop a rigorous, statistically-sound method for using the data generated by thousands of nature-loving citizens, such as ebird, the centralized database for bird observations. Once this project is completed, we will publish our results and codify our methods in R.

Finally, we have built an app for image analysis of photographs taken of Mindo’s birds. Our current iteration has an accuracy of 85% when identifying bird species from photographs, but we believe we can improve upon this. These photos supplement the monitoring data from ebird.

We have been sharing our scientific work with a nascent, fledgling group of Mindo stakeholders. We wrote a non-technical report, in Spanish, that this group will use during its meetings with the county administrative agency charged with implementing Mindo’s environmental protection regulations. Eventually, based on the AIM system, we will build a dashboard to update Mindo’ stakeholders on the state of its forests, and how this translates into changing rates of greenhouse gases stored and biodiversity increase/decrease. This provides a performance measure with which Mindo stakeholders can hold each other and the county government accountable.

2.  EQUITY: 

Job training the young and vulnerable for high-demand and non-destructive jobs in informatics.

Along with our scientific work, we are teaching young people in Mindo data science and English. Most of these students are working two jobs to support themselves. None of the students have university degrees, but we are training them with the goal of their being able to gain certification as Certified Analytics Professionals.

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Currently, we are teaching our students how to build an information system in the cloud to track at-risk students in a network of schools in Ecuador. This is providing our students with training in an array of coding languages such as R, PHP, SQL, Java, HTML, and CSS. They are getting on-the-job training in designing data systems, in analysis, and in creating visualizations.

The two team leads for our project are an immigrant from the Philippines and an Ecuadorian. To help us, we have formed an advisory group that includes a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion professional, and an expert in employee-owned enterprises. We look to the latter to guide us in our vision to establish a business structure inspired by the employee-owned Mondragon Cooperative in Spain.

3.  ECONOMICS: 

Creating resilient, diversified jobs in Data Analytics and Ecotourism.

Our business, pax.green, is both a concept and a physical space. Our concept is that Mindo's at-risk, talented students can compete for non-destructive, knowledge-based, creative work in the global market for Data Analysis

We are creating the physical space for them to learn and work in the Andes mountains, surrounded by tropical forests. This will also be a space to grow our ecotourism business.

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  • Our Data Analysis work consists of both Domain Expertise and expertise in Big Data Methods. For the former, we are focusing on environmental and poverty risks. For the latter, we are using AI and Bayesian Analysis to monitor Mindo's forests and biodiversity. We are also building a cloud-based information system to integrate socio-demographic and academic data in a Jesuit school in Quito that caters to poor families.
  • We are building a physical space where our students can learn and work, but also a space to attract tourists, retirees, and digital nomads. We are designing this space to integrate the needs of knowledge-based workers (e.g. broadband, video-conferencing room), with amenities for nature-loving tourists (e.g. nature trails, mountain views, guides, international cuisine).
  • As well, we hope guests will be attracted by pax.green's attempt to imagine alternative futures. We are installing solar panels, compost toilets, and rain cisterns. Our food will come primarily from the surrounding permaculture farm. Additional food will be sourced to indigenous farmers. With the exception of non-invasive vetiver grass (which we have planted along our property's perimeter to minimize soil erosion), we are landscaping with native plants.


For pax.green's success, we foresee several positive feed-back loops acting synergistically.

We are using our work in Data Analysis as an opportunity to teach young, vulnerable students in Mindo so they will gain skills in analytics. Our vision is to create a virtuous circle where our current students will learn the skills enabling pax.green to better identify opportunities to minimize future risks.

We view our customers as collaborators. We will offer discounts if they spend time with our students to practice English or share their bird photos for us to use with our AI system to strengthen our bird monitoring program. Our vision is to create a virtuous circle where Mindo benefits from our guests' presence and where our guests are attracted to the prospect of learning from our students and from the surrounding forests.

We are also planning a management structure where employees share in decision-making, profits, and long-term investments in the stock market (an important consideration in a country with minimal support for retirement).

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Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?


AI in the Andes, our project, directly helps: our business collaborators; Mindo, the pueblo where we are located; and the network of schools for which we are designing an information system. However, because we continue to develop apps to monitor nature, and because we codify these algorithms in publicly available R, we believe that our influence extends beyond our immediate targets.

Summary of Target Beneficiaries

In the short term (2 years), we are targeting pax.green’s students and collaborators (currently, a group of six people, which we hope to grow to 10 in the first year) in the pueblo of Mindo, Ecuador. Each of these individuals is a day laborer who makes far less than Ecuador’s legal minimum wage of $2.60/hour. Some eke by on $0.80/hour for 20 hours a week. We foresee two income streams: for our students in data analysis, we are bidding for work to build a centralized data system for a Jesuit organization across Latin America. If successful, we will have the funds not just to pay our students $4.00/hour, but also to provide them with training and experience in data science.

For our collaborators in eco-tourism, we are building a restaurant and hostel to create a business in which our collaborators will keep the majority of the profits. From these profits, we will establish a portfolio of stocks for the long-term benefit of our collaborators, as social security benefits and 401(K) plans are not firmly established in Ecuador.

Minimum wage in Ecuador is $450, but most people in Mindo make much less than this. To start with, we use $500/month as a baseline per individual employee, or $6000 per year. Within the first two years, we want to create 10 jobs in Mindo, or $60,000 total for wages per year.

For our first year, we envision a scenario where we can generate:

  • $500 for guests in 3 cabañas over 12 months: $18,000;
  • $1000 for 6 boot camp students in 1 week: $6,000;
  • $50,000 for one Data Analytic project (through InterAmerican Development Bank: $50,000.

We believe this $75K revenue is feasible and should help put us on track to create 10 jobs. Presently, Mindo is almost completely dependent on ecotourism; we hope to create an industry in Data Analytics which we hope will create a more stable, resilient economy for Mindo.

In the middle term (5 years), for our students in data analysis, we hope to build pax.green’s credibility as a data service provider, as well as enhance the marketability of our students by paying for various data science certifications for our students. For our collaborators in eco-tourism, we will expand their earning potential by creating other ecotourism opportunities beyond Mindo and offer guided tours to the Amazon jungles and to the volcanoes that dot the high sierras along the Andes.

Moving beyond this small circle of students and collaborators, we will serve the broader community of environmentalists and researchers by continuing to publish scientific papers and to codify our algorithms in freely-available applications using freely-available data. The broader research community can benefit from our work and modify our algorithms to monitor forests, greenhouse gas storage potential, and biodiversity in forests across the globe.



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Additionally, we will offer data science courses in our physical headquarters set on top of a mountain in the center of cloud forests in Mindo. The building will have solar panels and compost toilets and will sit in the middle of a permaculture farm. It will therefore serve as a center for learning how to use data science to investigate and protect nature, as well as serving as an example for sustainable living.

If we are successful in attracting international visitors to our site, this should have a multiplier effect for the ecotourism businesses in Mindo, a pueblo of 4000 people.

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How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

There are two leads for this project: Pasky Pascual for data analytics and Isidro Ortiz for ecotourism. Originally from the Philippines, Pasky has lived and worked in Mindo over the past two years. As a lawyer and scientist formerly at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Pasky is an expert in using computational models to monitor the environment. Isidro has lived and worked in Mindo’s ecotourism business for over 10 years. During this time, Isidro has successfully managed hostels and restaurants. 

Both Pasky and Isidro are passionate about the work they do for Mindo. Isidro is regarded as a one-person stimulus package for the pueblo. He links visiting tourists with other businesses, connecting them with local taxi drivers, restaurant owners, massage services, and other tourist-related services. Because Pasky teaches English and data analysis for free, he is well known among the residents, most of whom know about and are supportive of his plans to build a business integrating data analytics and ecotourism. People in Mindo learned this hard lesson following Covid’s outbreak: Mindo cannot depend solely on ecotourism; they want pax.Green to succeed in its efforts to build an internet- and knowledge-based industry. If pax.Green succeeds, it will bring in more visitors, to the benefit of the entire pueblo.

All of our students have lived their entire lives in Mindo. They are future engines of economic growth in Mindo, and all of them are recognized as hard-working exemplars for the future of the young in Mindo. All of them work as staff for local businesses.

Beyond these team members who will be working together intimately in Mindo, we have also asked three people to serve as informal advisors. Collectively, they bring expertise in law; employee-owned business structures; and diversity, equity, and inclusion. They are:

  • Flor Maria Patino Sanchez has lived her entire life in Mindo. She is a lawyer with much experience working with the county government in Los Bancos, the administrative agency responsible for all land transactions, business certifications, and environmental laws in Mindo.
  • David Binns has extensive experience in supporting employee-owned organizations. A former Executive Director of a national trade association promoting employee ownership and a former President and CEO of a 100% employee-owned company, David has worked on efforts to promote employee-ownership and enterprise development in over 20 countries.
  • Grace Nakar has decades-long experience leading change initiatives to elevate talent development and embed Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into organizations. She is deeply passionate about working with organizations wanting to match intentions around DEI with actions and impact. She provides holistic services with a consistent DEI lens: analytics, strategy, training, workplace reinforcement, talent management, and process change.


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Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Support local economies that protect high-carbon ecosystems from development, including peatlands, mangroves, and forests.

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Where our solution team is headquartered or located:

Mindo, Ecuador
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Our solution's stage of development:

Pilot
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How many people does your solution currently serve?

Ten

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Why are you applying to Solve?

The primary help we seek is finding a client base for our Data Analytics services. Second, we need help developing a business structure for an employee-owned business with investments to ensure long-term stability of our employees.

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In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

Business model (e.g. product-market fit, strategy & development)

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Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Pasky Pascual

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More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

Looking at our project as a whole, the innovation lies in integrating Data Analytics and Ecotourism to grow a sustainable, profitable, and resilient business.

We will exemplify a developmental path for the many in developing countries who live in forested areas rich in natural resources, but who have not shared equitably in the global market for high-tech skills. During the Covid pandemic, knowledge-based companies have had to trust remotely-based workers. We believe this will lead companies to gain more trust in outsourcing services to overseas workers.

We are using high-tech tools both to monitor nature and poverty, while also training at-risk students to use these tools to provide services to the Northern hemisphere…at a fraction of the cost and with equal or better quality of services offered by their Northern counterparts. This is a business model that has proven successful for call services in the Philippines and India.

 Looking specifically at our high-tech applications, we are innovating in several ways. First, we have developed an approach to an AI algorithm (Random Forest) that has increased accuracy of detecting forest loss from 85% (as cited in the literature), to 96-100%. Our algorithm is also user-friendly, enabling other users to generate simulations of their forested areas within a matter of hours.

Secondly, we have developed a method (using Bayesian analysis) for researchers to use Citizen Science data in a way that is statistically robust.

Taken together, these two technical innovations will put researchers and environmental organizations in a better position to use publicly-available data to produce empirical evidence of forest and biodiversity loss over a periodic basis.

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What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?

As stated earlier, we are addressing these joint problems: climate change is exacerbated by loss of biomass; this results from deforestation, which also harms biodiversity; these occur because joblessness and poverty compel illegal mining, cattle ranching. Covid has prompted people to leave the city and move to forested areas.

To prevent deforestation and biodiversity loss, we are using AI’s Random Forest and Neural Networks, as well as Bayesian Analysis, to monitor decreases in tree cover and bird biodiversity in Mindo, a cloud forest in Ecuador. We are working with Mindo stakeholders—summarizing our results so they serve as an empirical, evidence-based metric to convince the county government to protect these forests, as it is required to do under law.

At the same time, we are collaborating with Mindo students so they can acquire skills for jobs in Data Analytics. The grants we have to investigate environmental and poverty risks are an opportunity to train our students; give them job experience; and provide them with money.

Within a year, we hope to create long-term jobs and security when we finish building our headquarters in the Andes forests, which will serve as a place to learn and work on Data Analytics, while also earning money from ecotourism services.

Within 5 years, we hope that other researchers and environmental groups can make use of our scientific work, which we are codifying in R packages. After 3 months, our publication on our work on AI to track deforestation has already had almost 1200 visits. Within two months, we anticipate publishing our work on using Bayesian analysis to track biodiversity with Citizen Science data.

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How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

Our major objectives are to combat climate change, deforestation, and biodiversity loss, while creating jobs. We have performance metrics for our nature work; for our business; and for our intellectual contributions.

To measure our progress towards preserving nature, we will create a public dashboard that annually updates Mindo stakeholders on:

  • gains/losses of forested areas (at a spatial resolution of 10 sq.m.);
  • carbon dioxide stored/lost (based on conversion factors for biomass in forested area);
  • bird biodiversity lost/gained (based on ebird submissions).

Along with these metrics, the dashboard will also provide uncertainty information for each metric.

For job creation and economic advance, we will internally track number of employees and their salaries.

Presently, most visitors to Mindo are either on their way to/from the Galapagos Islands. Our success will depend largely on how Mindo brands itself as a destination spot for tourists in search of adventure in nature. Working with other businesses in Mindo, we will measure our success in strengthening this brand by comparing Google searches for Mindo over time, using searches for Galapagos as a benchmark.

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To measure the impact of our intellectual contributions to the field of Data Analytics, Environmental Protection, and the Systemic Analysis of Poverty, we will continue to publish in peer-reviewed journals and to track citations to our papers.


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What is your theory of change?

As stated earlier, we are addressing these joint problems: climate change is exacerbated by loss of biomass; this results from deforestation, which also harms biodiversity; these occur because joblessness and poverty compel illegal mining, cattle ranching. Covid has also prompted people to leave the city and move to forested areas.

To prevent deforestation and biodiversity loss, we are using AI’s Random Forest and Neural Networks, as well as Bayesian Analysis, to monitor decreases in tree cover and bird biodiversity in Mindo, a cloud forest in Ecuador. We are working with Mindo stakeholders—summarizing our results so they serve as an empirical, evidence-based metric to convince the county government to protect these forests, as it is required to do under law.

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At the same time, we are collaborating with Mindo students so they can acquire skills for jobs in Data Analytics. The grants we have to investigate environmental and poverty risks are an opportunity to train our students; give them job experience; and provide them with money.

Within a year, we hope to create long-term jobs and security when we finish building our headquarters in the Andes forests, which will serve as a place to learn and work on Data Analytics, while also earning money from ecotourism services.

Within 5 years, we hope that other researchers and environmental groups can make use of our scientific work, which we are codifying in R packages. After 3 months, our publication on our work on AI to track deforestation has already had almost 1200 visits. Within two months, we anticipate publishing our work on using Bayesian analysis to track biodiversity with Citizen Science data.

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Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

To repeat, pax.green’s business includes two revenue streams in (1) Data Analytics and (2) Ecotourism. Complementing these, we anticipate implementing a combination of two technologies: (1) High-Tech and (2) Green Tech.

Starting with the former, we are creating a physical space in the middle of Mindo, a pueblo surrounded by cloud forests in the Andes. For this, we are applying principles of Green Technology. We plan for this space (formerly a cow pasture) to be a community center/campus for the local people of Mindo, and to be a restaurant/hostel/visitor center for tourists.

This will be a place to demonstrate principles of sustainability and ecosystems. The Green Technologies include:

  • Solar panels, rain cisterns, compost toilets.
  • Using non-invasive vetiver grass to control erosion, a severe problem in these forests.
  • Permaculture and aquaponic farming to supply our farm-to-table restaurant.
  • Using Guadua angustifolia, the native bamboo, as building material.
  • Using native plants for landscaping. To extent possible, re-wild our land with native trees.
  • As part of aquaponic farming, creating artificial stream to provide habitat for amphibians, reptiles, and birds.
  • To integrate Green Tech with High Tech, we will provide broadband for digital workers. Currently, we can provide 80 Mb/second connections. We anticipate broader bandwidth when Starlink is available (1-2 years).

 

For High-Tech:

  • Current data sources include: remotely-sensed satellite images to monitor land use/land cover classes; and Citizen Science data (primarily, ebird) to monitor biodiversity.
  • We anticipate using drones to provide higher-resolution images to distinguish among vegetation types.
  • We will offer discounts to our ecotourism clients to share their photographs (along with spatio-temporal metadata) to add to our database for monitoring biodiversity.
  • To store these data and all data for our clients, we are using PHP/SQL/R to organize and manage data in the cloud.
  • To analyze these data, our methods include: AI (specifically, Random Forests and Neural Networks) and hierarchical Bayesian analysis. (We use real-world data, so we tend not to use methods based on traditional p-values.)
  • We foresee building a point-of-sales app to enable us to enter sales data of our ecotourism business directly to the cloud; to track costs/profits; and to identify high-profit opportunities. We foresee using analytics to maximize our efficacy in using social-media. If successful, we can scale these applications up for other small businesses in Mindo.
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Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new business model or process that relies on technology to be successful

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning
  • Big Data
  • Imaging and Sensor Technology
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Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 1. No Poverty
  • 4. Quality Education
  • 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 10. Reduced Inequalities
  • 13. Climate Action
  • 15. Life on Land
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In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Ecuador
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In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Ecuador
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Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

Hybrid of for-profit and nonprofit

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How many people work on your solution team?

We hope to have 10 full-time staff within the year.

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How long have you been working on your solution?

Two years

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What is your approach to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusivity into your work?

Mindo, our home in the Andes mountains, is composed of an increasingly eclectic mix of people from Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Europe, Canada and the United States. The barriers among people here are not so much between races, but between classes—between those who have and don’t have money, education, and land. Therefore, to be truly committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, pax.green looks to the example of the Mondragon Cooperative, in the Basque region of Spain.

pax.green’s founder, Pasky, is an immigrant from the Philippines, the father of two bi-racial daughters who identify as queer. It goes without saying that there is zero tolerance for race-, gender-, creed-, and sexuality-based insensitivities in our work place.

Pasky heads the Data Analytic portion of our business, while Isidro Ortiz, an Ecuadorian, heads the Ecotourism portion of the business. All other employees and students in pax.green are born and raised in Mindo. One of Pasky’s former students, a North American woman currently finishing her Master’s, hopes to collaborate with pax.green and, if we can afford her, she will likely assume a leadership role in Data Analytics, with her expertise in analytics and poverty.

Pasky and Isidro have been talking about the best business structure for our business. Although the details have to be determined, they are very much attracted to Mondragon’s focus on employee ownership; cooperative decision-making; long-term assurance of employee financial security; and opportunities for continuing education.

As detailed earlier in our description of our team, pax.green has invited two people to serve on its advisory group. David Binns is an expert in establishing employee-owned businesses, while Grace Nakar brings her expertise on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.


 

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Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?

Our Business Model has two revenue streams from (1) Data Analytics and (2) Ecotourism services. Within each broad type of service, we segment our customers further because this will help us to target our marketing and our products more effectively. 

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In Ecotourism, we segment possible customers (and their needs) as follows:

  • Tourists seeking Adventures in Nature. Presently, most tourists in Mindo are either on their way to/from the Galápagos Islands, or are passionate birders. We distinguish ourselves from other nature tours in Mindo by providing hiking tours guided by our scientific investigations. We provide a natural history of Mindo’s evolution; an explanation of the bird population demographics; and an opportunity in conserving the forests and biodiversity by submitting photos to our database.
  • Digital Nomads seeking to work remotely, surrounded by nature. For them, we provide workspace with whiteboards, a video-conference room, and broadband. We also offer expertise in Data Analytics work.
  • U.S. retirees seeking to stretch their pensions. For them, we offer a chance to “test the waters” of living in Ecuador. We offer a transition space with good food and comfortable living quarters; with on-premise masseuse and nurse; and with visa assistance.

In Data Analytics, we segment possible customers (and their needs) as follows:

  • Public Service Organizations seeking assistance in Data Management. Our substantive expertise is in developing data-centric applications addressing environmental and poverty risks. For these customers, we offer everything from scraping data from spreadsheets, Word or pdf documents, or web sites; to structuring these data into formal databases; to analyzing these data; to creating visualizations for the analyses; to building dashboards for customers to view these results.
  • Universities seeking to provide training for graduate students in Data Analysis. For them, we provide an educational boot camp in the middle of the cloud forest.  We have built up considerable experience teaching all aspects of Data Analysis to young students with minimal background. In a single week, we will cover R/SQL/Python coding; data management;  Bayesian and AI theory; and data visualization.
  • Small businesses in Mindo seeking to manage their data. We are creating a point-of-sales app to track our own business’s sales and costs. We will offer to manage this app for other businesses in Mindo so they can identify opportunities to maximize their profits.

For our first year, we envision a scenario where we can generate:

  • $500 for guests in 3 cabañas over 12 months: $18,000;
  • $1000 for 6 boot camp students in 1 week: $6,000;
  • $50,000 for one Data Analytic project (through InterAmerican Development Bank: $50,000.

On the cost side, we estimate monthly costs of $400 for food and $200 for utilities.

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Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?

Individual consumers or stakeholders (B2C)
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What is your plan for becoming financially sustainable?

We foresee two revenue streams to complement our two core competencies in (1) Data Analysis and (2) Ecotourism.

 Over the past two years, we have received two grants from Microsoft’s AI for Earth program (totaling ~35K in kind) and are currently bidding on grant from the InterAmerican Development Bank (totaling 50K).

 Microsoft provided us with free use of its Azure platform to store our data and to run our AI algorithms to investigate deforestation in the Andes forests. With more than 20 million rows and 60 columns of data, we could not have completed our project without Microsoft’s support.

The IDB opportunity is through a Jesuit network of schools and centers. We have successfully built an integrated information system for this network. The system integrates and analyzes academic and socio-demographic information. The Jesuits would like us to scale up this project, but must comply with IDB’s requirement to offer this project up for competition.

 Minimum wage in Ecuador is $450, but most people in Mindo make much less than this. To start with, we use $500/month as a baseline per individual employee, or $6000 per year. Within the first two years, we want to create 10 jobs in Mindo, or $60,000 total for wages per year.

For our first year, we envision a scenario where we can generate:

  • $500 for guests in 3 cabañas over 12 months: $18,000;
  • $1000 for 6 boot camp students in 1 week: $6,000;
  • $50,000 for one Data Analytic project (through InterAmerican Development Bank: $50,000.

We believe this $75K revenue is feasible and should help put us on track to create 10 jobs. Presently, Mindo is almost completely dependent on ecotourism; we hope to create an industry in Data Analytics which we hope will create a more stable, resilient economy for Mindo.

 

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Share some examples of how your plan to achieve financial sustainability has been successful so far.

We foresee two revenue streams to complement our two core competencies in (1) Data Analysis and (2) Ecotourism.

 

Over the past two years, we have received two grants from Microsoft’s AI for Earth program (totaling ~35K in kind) and are currently bidding on grant from the InterAmerican Development Bank (totaling 50K).

 Microsoft provided us with free use of its Azure platform to store our data and to run our AI algorithms to investigate deforestation in the Andes forests. With more than 20 million rows and 60 columns of data, we could not have completed our project without Microsoft’s support.

The IDB opportunity is through a Jesuit network of schools and centers. We have successfully built an integrated information system for this network. The system integrates and analyzes academic and socio-demographic information. The Jesuits would like us to scale up this project, but must comply with IDB’s requirement to offer this project up for competition.

 

Minimum wage in Ecuador is $450, but most people in Mindo make much less than this. To start with, we use $500/month as a baseline per individual employee, or $6000 per year. Within the first two years, we want to create 10 jobs in Mindo, or $60,000 total for wages per year.

For our first year, we envision a scenario where we can generate:

  • $500 for guests in 3 cabañas over 12 months: $18,000;
  • $1000 for 6 boot camp students in 1 week: $6,000;
  • $50,000 for one Data Analytic project (through InterAmerican Development Bank: $50,000.

We believe this $75K revenue is feasible and should help put us on track to create 10 jobs. Presently, Mindo is almost completely dependent on ecotourism; we hope to create an industry in Data Analytics which we hope will create a more stable, resilient economy for Mindo.

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