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SOLARKIOSK strengthens last mile distribution with motor bike safety training

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One of the most important factors in last mile distribution is enabling safe transport for your employees.
 

SOLARKIOSK’s Area Officers, who supervise the daily operations of SOLARKIOSK’s E-HUBBs, use motorbikes to visit the 5-8 E-HUBBs they manage. The roads leading to the E-HUBBs are generally in quite a rough condition: very dusty when it’s dry and very muddy when it’s raining. A motorbike is the most efficient way to travel within the 25 km radius of the E-HUBB cluster.
 

On their way to visit the E-HUBBs, Area Officers frequently encounter various wild and domestic animals such as donkeys, antelopes, zebras, buffalos and even elephants. Most Area Officers have had to deal with rather challenging situations on rural roads during their daily commute.
 

Therefore, SOLARKIOSK Kenya has taken the step forward to ensure their safety on the road through a workshop dedicated to safe driving practices. The workshop was facilitated by Kibo, a mobility company based in Nairobi that originated from the acknowledgement of the importance of having access to safe and reliable mobility for everyone.
 

“The workshop was incredibly valuable for all of us,” said Mary Katana, Solar Kiosk Kenya Regional Manager. “We started by sharing some stories of the Area Officer’s biking experiences and ended realising how critical the training was to enabling our business to thrive in some of the hardest to reach places in rural Kenya.”
 

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Welcome Sören to Solarkiosk!

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Sören has recently joined the Business Innovations Team and has been actively supporting us in emerging markets in his work on Business Incubation and Acceleration Programs worldwide. Sören has a great background in business and sustainability management and cannot get enough of transformation power of entrepreneurship. He recently came to Germany’s vibrant capital after being six years abroad to continue his search on great inspiration.
 
We are happy to have you here Sören.
 
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SOLARKIOSK, ERGO and Munich Re inaugurate a new E-HUBB in Migori county

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Single-storey house lining a red dirt road, trees dotted between the buildings, children and goats playing everywhere: This is Wath Onger, the location of one of five E-HUBBs implemented by SOLARKIOSK in Migori county in Kenya with the generous support of Munich Re and ERGO.
 

On 5 December 2017, the local community along with SOLARKIOSK representatives from Kenya and Germany celebrated the inauguration of the E-HUBB in Wath Onger.
 

The region, located in the western part of the country on Lake Victoria, is dominated by agriculture and the electricity network is poorly developed. The electricity produced by the E-HUBBs will allow locals to recharge their mobile phones, get access to quality solar products and consumer goods and even access the internet.
 

The people of Wath Onger are looking forward to the E-HUBB becoming the new center of their community, bringing internet, electricity and new business opportunities to the rural area.
 

Follow to the dedicated microsite to discover more details about the newly opened E-HUBB in Wath Onger and read the interview with Zainabu Akoth, its operator.
 

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Impact: Putting your metrics where our mouth is!

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There has been a lot of talk about impact in recent years, particularly in the impact investment crowd and within social enterprise circles, i.e. the investees. But on what basis can investors or businesses really claim to be impactful and when is this merely an assumption and/or an aspiration?

 

At SOLARKIOSK, we feel that the concept of impact needs to be clearly defined, rigorously backed up by data, and certainly not confused with or mistaken for terms like output or outcomes.

 

This is why we have built a small but dedicated internal task force to try and tackle some of the grey zones surrounding impact and find answers to these questions that are so pertinent to SOLARKIOSK’s mission. Not only do we want to translate exactly what impact (as well as output and outcome) means in the context of our work, but we also want to tie our socio-economic, environmental, and governance goals to measurable indicators that we can track and improve on over time.

 

As part of this exciting and quite frankly, also challenging undertaking, Yasmin and Pia attended a conference in Berlin last week entitled Role of Impact Management in Financing Small and Growing Businesses in Developing and Emerging Markets, which was hosted by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. One of the poignant questions being discussed was how impact investors and fund managers can devise credible and consistent reporting standards for their portfolios without overwhelming social enterprises, particularly those who have to measure and manage different impact (and financial) metrics for different investors.

 

Our take-away from the conference was that when it comes to impact, if you don’t measure it, it doesn’t count. As a company, we have impact in our DNA and the assumption that our work is improving the lives of hundreds (if not thousands) of people living in remote communities across Sub-Saharan Africa is a huge motivation and reason for each of us to come to work each day! However, in order to back up this claim and prove that our work as a social enterprise is holistically impactful, we need to step up to the plate and become forerunners in putting our metrics where our mouth is.
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A royal E-HUBB visit in Ethiopia

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The SOLARKIOSK team in Ethiopia recently welcomed the Crown Prince of Norway Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit, along with delegates of several Norwegian renewable energy companies in an E-HUBB in Butajira cluster.

Representatives of Innovation Norway who organized the visit have mentioned that SOLARKIOSK’s unique business model and success story made it a perfect example to share with the renewable energy sector and potential Investors.

The delegates were impressed by the impact that SOLARKIOSK’s last mile distribution network offers to Bottom of the Pyramid communities.

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Shared knowledge for a shared vision

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One of the great advantages of SOLARKIOSK’s Pan-African setup, which spans no less than 6 countries, is that our teams can consistently learn more from one another’s trials and tribulations. This means that solutions that have been tried and tested in Tanzania for example, can serve as a blueprint for Kenya, and vice versa. We believe that this is the most exciting and interactive way to solve common challenges that affect our unique business model across Sub-Saharan Africa.

This collaborative approach inspired us to recently conduct a workshop at our offices in Nairobi, Kenya. We had colleagues from different countries and departments share their ideas and discuss ways in which we could streamline some of the most important policies and procedures within the business. The devil is always in the detail, and some of our teams have very successfully tackled the many little “devils” of our daily operations, particularly in supply chain management, which is so critical in providing reliable last mile distribution to the communities we want to impact.

This is just the beginning in a series of workshops that we hope will nurture not only the sharing of best-practice solutions across teams and countries but also help build strong relationships between SOLARKIOSK teams within Africa and Germany.

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SOLARKIOSK in Cleantech Group’s Global Cleantech Ones to Watch list

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CTG (Cleantech Group) released their latest Global Cleantech 100 Ones to Watch list this week – and SOLARKIOSK is excited to announce we’re on it! The GCT100 Ones to Watch list seeks to highlight a group of up-and-coming companies that are catching the eye of leading investors and corporates in the market.

This year, a record number of nominations for the annual Global Cleantech 100 list were received: 12,300 distinct companies from 61 countries. These companies were weighted and scored to create a short list of 312 companies, with these nominees reviewed by the 86 members of Cleantech Group’s Expert Panel. The Ones to Watch list, a sister list to the annual Global Cleantech 100 list, is created from the top 250 of the shortlist. To qualify for either list, companies must be independent, for-profit cleantech companies that are not listed on any major stock exchange.

The complete GCT 100 Ones to Watch list is available here.

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SOLARKIOSK speaks at “Renewable Energy for Sustainable Growth” Conference in Rwanda

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The “Renewable Energy for Sustainable Growth” Conference, dedicated to rural electrification and agricultural development, took place on October 19-20, 2017 in Kigali, Rwanda. Private and public sector players engaged in this 2-day event to scale-up the use of renewable energy for sustainable growth.

Evary Musara, Managing Director of Solarkiosk Rwanda Ltd., represented SOLARKIOSK as a speaker (as seen on the center of the stage in the image below). Limited purchasing power by local communities to buy a high-value solar product and high-interest rates by local banks that limit borrowing by end users were highlighted as main challenges. However, the market maintains to be attractive and growing and continues to raise interest of investors and financiers.

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