Wardah Inam wins D-Lab Scale Ups fellowship for social entrepreneurship

Her uLink project is “an all-in-one, plug-and-play solution for energy service providers.”

Inam Wardah

Tata Center alumna Wardah Inam graduated from MIT with her PhD in Electrical Engineering this June, but her work is only getting started.

Inam is one of the creators of uLink, which seeks to help off-grid communities (and energy service providers) build smart microgrids to get electricity access. The uLink system consists of a power management unit (smaller than a shoebox) and software to manage the grid, including power conversions, payments, and resources. Numerous boxes can be linked together to form an energy marketplace, even in rural villages that may never have been electrified before.

After three years of development through the Tata Center, uLink will now continue to grow with support from the D-Lab Scale Ups program.

From a report in MIT News:

Inam says, “The D-Lab Scale-Ups fellowship came at a perfect time for me and the company. I have worked on this for the past three years and we have been able to demonstrate the technology and conduct a pilot . . . I recently graduated and was looking for resources to work full-time and to scale the technology beyond pilot stage with the goal of reaching hundreds of households.”

Currently, Inam and the uLink team are working with a design consultancy and a major IT firm to make uLink more rugged and reliable, with revenue-generating capabilities through mobile payments. Inam also hopes to take advantage of D-Lab’s resources to do some hands-on work. “I got a tour of the shop and workspaces in D-Lab and was amazed to see the amount of useful machines and facilities D-Lab has. I am looking forward to using these machines to improve our product.”

Four total fellowships were given to social entrepreneurs; three of the four are applying their work in India. Read the full report on MIT News.