SOLARKIOSK introductory video

SOLARKIOSK introductory video


When you fly over Africa at night, it’s a dark place. There’s no electricity, there’s no light. And that’s an absurdity because during the day it’s the brightest place that you can possibly think of with so much sunlight. So what we want to do is,
we want to capture the sunlight, transform it into energy,
and bring electricity and light at night to rural Africa.
And that’s the concept of SOLARKIOSK. Worldwide nearly 1 billion people live without electricity Over 600 million of them in sub-saharan Africa alone. Most of them are living
in rural areas in developing economies, which are often hardly accessible due to the lack of adequate roads and infrastructure, and earn a meager living as smallholder farmers. Most likely they will never get connected to the grid
and have roads, as it is simply too expensive to build the infrastructure, and thus connect the communities
to the rest of the world. This is why formalized distribution and retail
are currently not reaching out to those areas so they are often left with unreliable supply to essential goods like water and food. They are punished with a poverty penalty.
which means that poor people pay more for worse quality products
than wealthier consumers. SOLARKIOSK’s mission and passion is
to bring much-needed products and services to the communities in the bottom of the pyramid, and help eradicate the poverty penalty. There is a general misconception
about BoP (Bottom of Pyramid) communities. The fact, that these communities are underserved and disconnected from the rest of the world, doesn’t mean that there’s
no commercial potential for businesses. To understand this better
let’s have a look at the energy market. Consumers in Africa pay for a phone charge
between 20 and 50 US cents. Often they have to walk for hours or days to the next place where they can charge their mobile phone. A typical off-grid household in rural Africa spends
an average of 140 USD per year to purchase kerosene, dry cell batteries
or candles for lighting and 400 USD per year on charcoal for cooking. The global off-grid lighting market alone is
a 25 billion USD per-year market. If you drive out all the way to visit some of the SOLARKIOSK communities you’ll see that people at the BoP are very active consumers, and find bustling commercial activity. Organizations, such as
the International Finance Corporation and the world Resource Institute, estimate, that the global household income of all BoP households is over five trillion USD per year, which represents a substantial commercial power. The fact, that we can help these communities’ socio-economical development, and offer them renewable energy
and affordable better-quality solutions, led us to venture out
and develop our business in rural areas. But how to establish a business that thrives,
when you have to close your shop at 6 p.m., because there’s no light, no adequate infrastructure,
and no connectivity for your IT systems? Our top priority was to invent an infrastructure solution
– the “E-HUBB” – that integrates solar technology. Over the past years, we’ve spent a lot of resources
in design, research and development and through a constant improvement process,
were able to perfect the technology design. Today, the E-HUBB is a one-of-a-kind lightweight
turnkey-solution that can be transported easily. It comes as a kit of parts, and is assembled
in only three days without the use of heavy machinery. This makes it possible to implement the E-HUBB anywhere, regardless of the existence of roads and infrastructure. This way we can bring access to electricity, and enable and empower businesses
in all remote areas of the world. The E-HUBB runs 24/7 with the electricity
it’s integrated solar system produces, and can be connected to the Internet. The next thing for us was to build headquarters in each country where we operate, invest and implement E-HUBBs,
connect them to our supply chain and logistics, and finally, find and train local operators
that run our E-HUBBs. This way we’ve become
the biggest rural retailer in East Africa, providing access to modern retail,
much-needed high-quality products, services, electricity and connectivity
at affordable prices to the BoP communities. Children want to buy these notebooks We have solar products in our kiosks. They’re affordable, they’re durable, they have warranty, and they’re good quality. Food is for women. They come to buy the food and they go home to prepare it for their family. We have advantages like
photocopying, the printer, internet. We have a system, whereby we can charge
more than 80 phones at the same time. I have Mobile Money
and Me2U (an airtime-sharing service). These condoms are for people
who are 18 years or older. This helps them to protect their health. So all they have to do is, just walk to the solar kiosk, to charge their phones, get solar products,
get their daily sugar, get their daily milk. It’s a hub. After having implemented
our retail shop in a rural community, we are expanding our business by establishing
business centers around our E-HUBBs, which we call Connected Solar Market Centers (CSMC). In these CSMCs we build
public and business infrastructures, that we provide with
the energy and connectivity from the E-HUBB. Within the market center other local entrepreneurs
– such as tailors and barbers – have the opportunity to establish and conduct
their businesses in a modern rural mall. So SOLARKIOSK doesn’t only provide
infrastructure, energy and connectivity, but also access to a marketplace. In the CSMC customers can
e.g. visit the local tailor, enjoy a snack, get a haircut, visit the beauty salon, play pool, meet friends in a green relaxation space, and watch the Manchester United game in the local cinema. We even integrate technology into our E-HUBB
to purify unclean water sources, supplying communities with safe drinking water. Water is life. We also offer them our
logistics- and supply-chain-capacities, to bring these value-added products
from our communities to the world. Creating even more value for the local communities. But what is more:
Through the connectivity we are able to bring much-needed health services, educational tools, insurances and Financial Inclusion
to these communities. This way we are transforming our communities, and bringing them from a pre-industrial area
to the 21st century, thereby increasing
the social and economic development
in an environmentally sustainable way. Fostering and enabling entrepreneurial activities
and creating jobs. Since 2012 we have already implemented, opened
and are operating 100s of shops, which makes us
the largest solar-powered retail network in East Africa. In 2018 all of the E-HUBBs that we’ve established so far have helped save more than 1.4 million kg of co2. We’ve successfully distributed and sold tens of thousands of solar products
and energy-efficient cooking stoves. We’ve employed 100s of people and created 1000s of jobs, and are reaching millions of people in rural communities. We’ve implemented projects with numerous partners
in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. In 2017 SOLARKIOSK received special recognition
from the Alliance for Rural Electrification. For our work, we’ve won numerous prizes and awards, e.g. the Bloomberg New Energy Pioneer Award, the Connected World Award,
the Empowering People Award by the Siemens Stiftung, and for our E-HUBB the silver prize from the German Federal Design Award. The E-HUBB is an ideal solution for all types of organizations that work in hard-to-reach locations, such as refugee camps and disaster zones. Banks, MFIs, insurance companies
and other organizations can now establish agencies in communities,
where business could not be established before. Thanks to its modularity and versatility we are successfully also using E-HUBBs as clinics
e.g. in refugee camps in Bangladesh and Jordan, as well as schools, vocational training centres,
food and beverage stands,
and water purification- and sales hubs. My name is Cecilia Lamei,
I come from the Massai community (Kenya). I’m called Noisetti, Janet. I am 26 years old.
I was born here at Rubona village (Rwanda). I work here at SOLARKIOSK. My name is Maria Mokumolo, I am 34 years old. I have one child and I am not married, a boy 8 years old. (Cecilia:) By 6:30 at least, customers start to stream in. I start selling and go until the afternoon. I’m happy because
I have found ways to help other people. First I worked at Sapphire Hotel in Mnasi Mmoja (Tanzania),
but now I’ve worked at SOLARKIOSK for one year. I send my kid to school, I have to support my family. Before I have been with SOLARKIOSK, I was working selling TIGO cards, but I did not earn a good salary. When I got a job with SOLARKIOSK, I started a new life. I have money to solve my problems
and I can help my parents. (Cecilia:) When I was employed by SOLARKIOSK I was taught record-keeping, such as stocktaking, Before being employed by SOLARKIOSK, I never had enough money. I used to depend on the salary of my husband. But since getting a job, I don’t ask him for much. I have no problem, because I have SOLARKIOSK. I thank SOLARKIOSK because my life now has changed. I like my work and I love so much my work.

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