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SOLARKIOSK’s E-HUBB Provides Energy to Local Entrepreneurs.

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SOLARKIOSK’s Connected Solar Market Center (CSMC) is one of the most powerful off-grid concepts currently being developed. Each CSMC hosts multiple independent businesses accessing energy from the central E-HUBB, while enjoying space, infrastructure and support – all provided by SOLARKIOSK.

The first CSMCs were implemented in Rwanda in late 2016. The quick success of the model, exemplified by the increase in local economic activity, foot traffic to the E-HUBB and social benefits for the community, encouraged SOLARKIOSK to quickly scale this concept in a variety of designs. Today, the company runs 15 CSMC in its three core countries: Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania.

The businesses currently powered by the CSMCs are: restaurant, viewing hall, barbershop and a billars table. All business further benefit from co-location and a safe, lighted area where business hours can be extended into the evening. SOLARKIOSK is currently evaluating adding other commercial and/or productive activities, from farming services such as food cooling or drying, to more complex integration with health, education and financial service providers.


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SOLARKIOSK Kenya featured on a national “Young Entrepreneur” program

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SOLARKIOSK’s innovative business model was recently covered in the “Young Entrepreneur” broadcast on the national Kenyan TV channel, Biashara TV.

The station aired the new episode reporting SOLARKIOSK’s impact in rural communities on the 14th of June. Managing Director, William Mukaria, was interviewed in his office and highlighted the unparalleled market approach of SOLARKIOSK – a supplier-independent retail network of quality solar lamps, solar home systems and clean cooking stoves.

The entire episode can be viewed on Youtube.

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SOLARKIOSK provides credit facilities to over 1,000 solar clients in Rwanda.

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SOLARKIOSK began its micro-lease pilot program in Rwanda in 2016. The mission is to finance supplier-independent quality solar products to private consumers, without further engagement of banks or other lending facilities. Usually PAYGO companies offer finance to their own branded products, whereas SOLARKIOSK is supplier agnostic and offers a range of different quality suppliers.

The pilot was conducted by a team of 4 local finance managers and one senior finance manager, who developed and implemented the inclusive finance facility from scratch including all products, finance conditions and customer base, with a strong focus on small holder farmers in Rwanda via the country’s farming cooperatives.

SOLARKIOSK offers a vast product range, starting from small lamps to larger home systems and even solar powered TVs through its micro-lease program. Yasmin Olteanu, the Microfinance Manager leading the team, comments: “Farmers perceive the broad and supplier-independent range of high-quality solar products they can access with micro-lease as very attractive. This way, they can choose from many available products and suppliers what fits best to their situation and wallet! In addition, they don’t have to worry about accessibility of maintenance or repairs, since the E-HUBB is just around the corner”.

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The micro-lease team

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SOLARKIOSK is proud to announce Ketan Patel has joined the company as the new Director of Retail.

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Zimbabwean-born Ketan Patel is the new Director of Retail of SOLARKIOSK. Ketan joins the company following a 25-year successful track record of establishing, growing and managing businesses in challenging operational environments, dating back to the first experience he gained behind the counters of his father’s retail stores in Harare.

Passionate about Africa and entrepreneurship, Ketan has worked on over 15 concepts and 5,000 combined units, developing a deep global retail experience in chain and franchised companies. During his rich international experience, Ketan was a key executive at both private and public entities in Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Middle East and United States, developing and executing marketing strategies for multinational brands with budgets above $10 million.

Among his achievements, Ketan lead the introduction of new product lines for a multi-million dollar investment in a bakery chain and founded a social entrerprise for urban vendors in Harare. Imhanya employs mobile cloud technology and recycled containers to provide income to over 300 families per unit.

In his new role, Ketan will continue spending the bulk of his time in Africa to support the expansion of SOLARKIOSK’s retail and distribution channels, while his wife and 6-year old son will relocate to Berlin. The cosmopolitan family enjoys frequent travelling to Asia and is looking forward to discovering new places and foods in Berlin.

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SOLARKIOSK is featured at the European Development Days

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SOLARKIOSK took part at the European Development Days held in Brussels, Belgium on the 7th and 8th June.

The event, organized by the European Commission, brings development actors together to share ideas and experiences, inspire new partnerships and innovative solutions for the world’s most pressing challenges. In particular, EDD 2017 emphasized private sector engagement as a partner in economic development, to strengthen inclusive growth and jobs creation for women and youth.

Andreas Spieß, CEO at SOLARKIOSK, spoke at the debate Bridging the Digital Divide in Africa. “Energy enables connectivity, which enables content. Content comes with a responsibility and therefore SOLARKIOSK focuses on working with partners who bring content to enable health, education, communication, financial inclusion, agri-solutions and more for our rural customers in off-grid areas worldwide” commented Andreas.

SOLARKIOSK’s work was also featured at the stand of the Inclusive Business Action Network, a network for development actors providing insights, analytics and best practices to its members. During the event, IBAN promoted the understanding of partnerships through the Partnership Challenge, a game inviting visitors to put themselves in the role of impactful businesses to better assess the value of partners at all stages of the value chain and in relation to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

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This week SOLARKIOSK reaches 50 active solar-powered retail hubs in Kenya

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With the launch of three new E-HUBBs this week, Solar Kiosk Kenya Ltd. is now operating 50 E-HUBBs. Most of the E-HUBBs in Kenya are branded as “EKOCENTER powered by SOLARKIOSK”, and implemented in cooperation with The Coca-Cola Company.

Solar Kiosk Kenya was founded four years ago, with the first E-HUBBs inaugurated in Narok and Kajado county. Since then Solar Kiosk Kenya has expanded its footprint into five more counties – Samburu, Laikipia, Isiolo, Nakuru and Makueni.

In the next months, SOLARKIOSK plans to reinforce its presence in Narok and expand to the north of Nairobi to Migori and Tharaka Nithi, thus further extending its footprint in rural, off-grid Kenya.

William Mukaria, Managing Director of Solar Kiosk Kenya, is especially pleased about the recent developments: “In the last few months I have witnessed Solar Kiosk Kenya picking up speed in both the E-HUBB’s network expansion and the sales performance. The dedication of the whole team has been crucial to achieve such positive results in both areas. It’s also so fulfilling to know that we continue giving our customers an opportunity to light up their lives by accessing quality solar products in our shops.”

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SOLARKIOSK presents at the Off-Grid Power Conference in Munich

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Director of Business Development, Virginia Taborda and Director of Technology, Sebastian Massmann introduced SOLARKIOSK’s Solar Infrastructure Solutions for Humanitarian Actions at the Off-Grid Power Conference taking place in Munich.

The conference program spans over two days, from the 31stMay to the 1st of June and is organised by the Alliance for Rural Electrification in cooperation with the German Solar Association, as part of the collateral events of Intersolar Europe.

Read SOLARKIOSK’s presentation here.

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SOLARKIOSK to play an integral role at GOGLA Member Conference

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SOLARKIOSK’s CEO Andreas Spiess and Sales and Marketing Director Thomas Rieger are currently attending the GOGLA Annual Member Conference held in Paris, France.

The Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA) is an independent, not-for-profit industry association, representing eighty-five stakeholders from the off-grid lighting sector. Springing from the Lighting Global initiative of the World Bank in 2012, GOGLA has quickly become a prominent voice of the off-grid solar energy industry, advocating for its members. 

Exactly one year ago, SOLARKIOSK’s CEO Andreas was elected to the GOGLA Board of Directors. SOLARKIOSK will play an important role at the annual conference, representing the biggest Pan-African last-mile retail network and independent supplier of solar and impact products.

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SOLARKIOSK now operates 50 solar-powered retail hubs in Rwanda

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SOLARKIOSK Rwanda is currently operating 50 of its award-winning E-HUBBs, branded as “EKOCENTER powered by SOLARKIOSK” across 9 regional districts.

In December 2014 SOLARKIOSK, together with The Coca Cola Company, inaugurated the first cluster of solar-powered retail hubs in Rwanda as part of the EKOCENTER project. The network has since grown at a steady pace, reaching the 50 units milestone last week. The first retail clusters were implemented in the East and North Provinces, while more recently SOLARKIOSK’s reach has been extended to the South Provinces.

In the coming months the geographic expansion will continue, as SOLARKIOSK plans to extend to the West Provinces, thus becoming one of the strongest retail networks for sustainable and solar products and services in Rwanda.

Evary Murasa, Managing Director of SOLARKIOSK Rwanda, is very proud of the milestone his team has achieved: “In 2016 the team invested a lot of resources to expand SOLARKIOSK’s footprint in the country and now we can see these very positive results. We will strive to meet the year-end goal of operating even more solar powered retail hubs on the ground”.

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New partnership to enhance SOLARKIOSK’s operations

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SOLARKIOSK is excited to be partnering with Energy4Impact to bring energy access to entrepreneurs in rural off-grid communities in Kenya.
E4I is a non-profit organization working with local businesses in several East and West African countries to help grow sustainable clean energy markets, improve livelihoods and accelerate economic growth. They offer advisory services to clean energy-providing businesses and projects to help overcome challenges and resource gaps in technology, skills, delivery networks and capital.
SOLARKIOSK will soon implement its first Connected Solar Market Centers in rural Kenya. At these market centers, local entrepreneurs will access the clean energy produced by the E-HUBB to develop their business activities side by side with those of the E-HUBB, thereby strengthening economic development in these villages.
At these centers, SOLARKIOSK hopes to make it possible for barbers and hairdressers, small restaurants, motorbike repair shops, tailors, cyber cafes or viewing halls to grow and thrive alongside the E-HUBB, benefitting not only from reliable renewable energy but also from the foot traffic around the E-HUBB. Sun shading, tables and seating in the market center will also make it possible to host social and educational events, creating an environment which strengthens community cohesion.
Energy4Impact will join SOLARKIOSK in this endeavor by providing business advisory support to deploy the first Connected Solar Market Centers in Kenya, providing tools for development of entrepreneurs and customized businesses for the rural market.
Images from the upcoming CSMC
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