Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/washington/news.aspx?id=134401
Story Retrieval Date: 5/24/2013 5:47:26 AM CST
WASHINGTON --At first blush, Trevor Young is just another cab driver roving the streets of Washington, DC looking to get ahead in life.
He is a family man with a wife and four kids and every morning he drops his oldest daughters, Kai, 4, and Tseai, 3 off at school. Young is also an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland College Park.
Above all, he is a dreamer.
On May 8, his biggest dream was set in motion after he won $25,000 for a business plan competition he entered. Young says his startup called Tseai Energy Unlimited will “provide sustainable electricity to rural communities in the developing world” by using waste derived from farming activities.
Young came to the U.S. in the 1980s when there was political upheaval in Sierra Leone. Then nine years old, his mother who had been diagnosed with cancer asked an uncle in New Jersey to take him in.
He began to lose his drive in high school and by the time he enrolled at the University of Maryland College Park in 1993, he had lost his ambition.
“I was not very focused so I was not successful at my first attempt,” he said.
In 2002, with civil war ended in Sierra Leone and his country trying to rebuild, he paid a visit. Young says he wanted to contribute to the rebuilding effort but found that his skill set did not equal his sense of duty. He redoubled his efforts to get an education and enrolled at Prince George’s Community College.
After two years, a funny thing happened. “Ironically I got the scholarship to go back to Maryland in 2007,” Young said.
After what he saw in Sierra Leone he decided the best way to help the rural community in his country was to develop a system that provided cheap electricity in a sustainable way.