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Our Alumnus, Urs Riggenbach – Social Entrepreneur

18th May 2015 by admin - , (1) Comment


To live the UWC mission of a sustainable future is challenging, but Urs Riggenbach (UWCMC, Class of 2008) from Switzerland is determined to change the way we use technology to help build a sustainable future. 

“Growing up in UWCMC helped me draw a circle around myself that does not just include my family and friends, but strives to include all life. That “idealism” that most people loose to consumerism while learning to make a living and integrate themselves into society was not called “idealism” at UWCMC; it was just philosophy, and it was allowed to grow on you. 

It’s hard to go through UWC without developing a strong vision of what’s on humanity’s path and get some ideas of how to affect it. Being witness to manifestations of poverty I had never encountered in Switzerland, I felt a sense of urgency that made me hold on to the solutions and innovations I came across. 

After graduating from UWCMC, I went on to get a degree in Human Ecology from the College of the Atlantic in the United States.

Toward the end of my studies for a degree in Human Ecology from the College of the Atlantic in the US, and finding that there was no organisation or business doing what I thought had to happen, I decided to become a social entrepreneur and put my vision to work. This path took me back to India and Nepal in 2012, where I started to work on spreading renewable energy access with a focus on appropriate technology. Later that year, I joined what would become GoSol.org – a startup developing and spreading a solar energy technology at both the industrial and artisan level.

At GoSol.org, we’ve just launched a crowdfunding campaign with the aim to connect makers, builders and entrepreneurs with our technology. We are releasing free construction guides allowing anyone to produce our technology royalty-free and we are working together with World Vision and other NGOs and social enterprises to spread our technology.

Humanity’s energy use is the core issue of this century. The future of energy use in the developing world is where the big question marks remain. Deforestation is fueling not only 3 billion cook stoves, but leads to particle pollution speeding up climate change.With zero imports and royalty, simple construction methods, and scalability from artisanal food processing to industrial thermal needs, we really think we have something at GoSol.org worth sharing with the world. With “Free the Sun” campaign, we hope to inspire a wave of solar entrepreneurship – a wave of solar entrepreneurs solving issues of energy access in the developing world. 

If UWC is making education a force to unite people, it’s time to turn this unity into impact. It’s a privilege to be an UWCer, and I’m excited about the future of UWC as an impact maker.

 If you want to know more about what’s happening at GoSol.org, visit our Free The Sun campaign.”

Urs Riggenbach ( Switzerland)

Class of 2008


One thought on “Our Alumnus, Urs Riggenbach – Social Entrepreneur”

  1. Urs Riggenbach

    2:26PM on 18th Jun 2015

    Thanks so much for the awesome post about me and my work with GoSol.org! Two days ago we reached the SECOND MILESTONE of the #FreeTheSun campaign, allowing us to progress on our path to democratize energy access. Have a look at GoSol.org: http://www.gosol.org/FreeTheSun

    Urs Riggenbach
    UWCMC 2008

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