Category: Energy Entrepreneurs

One of the most effective ways of sharing information and disseminating experiences of energy access and rural development success (and failure) is through case studies. Smart Villages interviewed energy access and development practitioners around the world to collect their stories and insights.

Sunlabob: Pioneering rural electrification in southeast Asia

Mid-90s, Lao People’s Democratic Republic. As a German electrical engineer who has recently moved to one of the poorest countries in the world, Andy Schroeter sees the potential that can be had for energy access in remote areas. At the time, Laos has an electrification rate of 30%. “Aside from cities in the Mekong Valley,” …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/sunlabob-pioneering-rural-electrification-southeast-asia/

Svati Bhogle, social entrepreneur and founder, Sustaintech

Svati Bhogle, social entrepreneur and founder, Sustaintech Location: Bangalore, India “Grow, but don’t spread yourselves too thin.” How long do you blend tea leaves with milk? Should you brew the tea for a shorter few minutes after that, or turn the gas off? When Svati Bhogle, a chemical engineer by training, went from one of …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/svati-bhogle-social-entrepreneur-founder-sustaintech/

Rafiki Power and E.ON: Mini-grids for improved livelihoods in Tanzania

Interview with Daniel Becker Managing Director, E.ON Off Grid Solutions and Founder, Rafiki Power Location: Tanzania Daniel Becker is the Managing Director of E.ON Off Grid Solutions and founder of its Tanzanian brand, Rafiki Power, which focuses on mini-grids for productive uses of energy. For a look at how Rafiki Power operates, watch their short …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/rafiki-power-e-mini-grids-improved-livelihoods-tanzania/

Lighting up rural Bangladesh

Interview with Farzana Rahman Senior Vice-President (Investment), Renewable Energy, IDCOL Location: Bangladesh “The amount of solar home systems we have installed – 4 million – speaks for itself” Around 12% of Bangladeshis, or 18 million people, currently use solar home systems. Solar panels sit on top of rural homes with corrugated tin roofs, connected to …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/lighting-rural-bangladesh/

Can telemedicine revolutionise rural healthcare in Africa?

A clinical officer uses The Virtual Doctors' app to get more information about a girl's symptoms.

Interview with Huw Jones Executive Director & Founder at The Virtual Doctors Location: Zambia “If you’re got education and health, that’s a foundation.” Huw Jones traces the earliest origins of The Virtual Doctors to a trail of blood he saw while travelling through rural Zambia to buy pumpkins for soup. It was the mid-1990s and he was …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/can-telemedicine-revolutionise-rural-healthcare-africa/

Micro-entrepreneurs and business model innovation in Madagascar

Interview with Rik Stamhuis Co-Founder and Managing Director, Jiro-Ve Location: Antananarivo, Madagascar “It is the business model, and not the product, which needs innovation in solar” How do you change people’s behaviour forever? Rik Stamhuis says you need to ensure that there is a solution which won’t force people to have to go back to their …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/micro-entrepreneurs-business-model-innovation-madagascar/

Solarkiosk: Innovative “connected solar market centres” drive small businesses, solar energy

Marc Zedler, Project Manager, Connected Solar Market Centers (CSMC), Solarkiosk Location: Berlin, Germany and across Africa “Focus on a core group of entrepreneurs who engage with the community” For Marc Zedler, there is a bigger picture at Solarkiosk, a German solar company operating in multiple African countries. Having a service which provides rural communities with …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/solarkiosk-innovative-connected-solar-market-centres-drive-small-businesses-solar-energy/

A breath of fresh air: How Envirofit is doing social good with a for-profit model

  Interview with Ron Bills CEO, Envirofit Location: Across the developing world “People want to be treated as customers, with dreams, desires, and aspirations, not as aid recipients” Ron Bills is Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board for Envirofit, a global social enterprise that has revolutionized the way we think about energy access …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/breath-fresh-air-envirofit-social-good-profit-model/

Making an impact with clean tech in Tanzania

Interview with Jodie Wu CEO & Founder at Global Cycle Solutions “New products need to be used and experienced and taught” When Jodie Wu was still an engineering student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she invented a simple device that let farmers use a bicycle to shell corn. The mechanism allowed rural farmers to …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/making-impact-clean-tech-tanzania/

Can mini-grids be profitable? SOLshare in Bangladesh doubles down

Interview with Dr. Sebastian Groh Managing Director of ME SOLshare Location: Dhaka, Bangladesh “People are very smart about solar home systems in Bangladesh” In Bangladesh, 17 million households are off-grid, and 85% of the population lives in rural communities. Solar works here and has done ever since the early nineties when the first solar home …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/can-mini-grids-profitable-solshare-bangladesh-doubles/

Solar technologies offer hope in post-disaster Nepal

Interview with Avishek Malla Director of Engineering and Operations for SunFarmer Nepal, a subsidiary of SunFarmer International Location: Kathmandu, Nepal “Farmers in Nepal could never in their lives imagine having a solar-powered pump” In 2015, Nepal was hit by a series of devastating crises. One earthquake was followed by another, and the year ended with …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/solar-technologies-offer-hope-post-disaster-nepal/

Franchising renewable energy: Smart kiosks across Rwanda

Interview with Henri Nyakarundi Founder, The African Renewable Energy Distributor Location: Kigali, Rwanda “Looking back, the only way you can be in business is to be a little bit naive” From bus stops and hospitals, to marketplaces and health centres, to Nyabiheke, one of the four major refugee camps in Rwanda, Henri Nyakarundi is ensuring …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/franchising-renewable-energy-smart-kiosks-across-rwanda/

A clean energy crisis: One Burkina Faso social business aims to address it

Interview with Sayouba Guira Director of Nafa Naana, a social enterprise providing clean cooking and lighting products Location: Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso “It’s a crisis, but we are in a country with so many other priorities that people don’t talk about it, which is why we are doing something about promoting clean and affordable energy solutions” …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/clean-energy-crisis-one-burkina-faso-social-business-aims-address/

Unlocking rural electricity with a text message in Nigeria

Interview with Nir Marom Co-founder, Lumos Global Location: Israel “Time is the most expensive resource for an entrepreneur” On the same day that Nir Marom’s company won a tender—he spent about seven years working in on-grid solar energy—he came across an article about people living off kerosene or candles, spending 50 cents a day. “I …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/unlocking-rural-electricity-text-message-nigeria/

Women’s entrepreneurship: Ending energy poverty

Interview with Simbo Sojinrin Solar Sister Nigeria Country Manager Location: Nigeria “f you look at what constitutes energy poverty and how it affects society, you see women are far more affected by it”. Solar is one abundant source of energy that offers a bright future for African communities. Another is the abundant energy of empowered …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/ending-energy-poverty-womens-entrepreneurship/

When villages become education hubs: the work of the Akaa Project in Ghana

Two village students practice reading at the Akaa Project's school.

Interview with Lauren Grimanis Founder, The Akaa Project Location: Eastern Ghana / Boston, Massachusetts “I love the notion of bringing things back to the village”. When Lauren Grimanis first visited Ghana, she was a senior in high school. It was July 2007, and she was working on her college applications. She only stayed there for …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/villages-become-education-hubs-work-akaa-project-ghana/

Raising US$1 million in equity to take off-grid energy in Pakistan to next level

Interview with Shazia Khan Co-founder and Executive Director, Eco Energy, an off-grid company in Pakistan Location: Washington, DC and Pakistan “Instead of thinking like a manufacturer, I ask how I can best meet people’s needs” In 2010, less than a year after Shazia Khan co-founded Eco Energy, devastating floods hit Pakistan. Through her non-profit organisation, …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/raising-us1-million-equity-take-off-grid-energy-pakistan-next-level/

Off-grid green cooling breakthroughs improve farmers’ incomes

Philipp Denzinger, GIZ Proklima Off grid pilot locations: Swaziland, Seychelles, Jordan and Kenya “Even in an off-grid system, if you’re not considering natural refrigerants, you’re not really being green at all”. In developing countries, a refrigerator is often a first important purchase for a family moving into the middle class, while advantages of cooling technology …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/green-cooling-fishing-agriculture-farmer/

ONergy: India can’t rely on coal – it must go renewable

A computer centre powered by ONergy solar technology.

Interview with Vinay Jaju Co-founder and COO at ONergy, Head at Switch ON “Energy is not the end. It’s just the means to the end”. Vinay Jaju’s interest in environmentalism first got serious while he was working in Australia and got involved with local forest conservation efforts. When he returned to India in 2008, he …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/onergy-india-cant-rely-coal-must-go-renewable/

Juabar’s “Media Hubs” bring women’s health TV and Swahili “Sesame Street” to rural Tanzania

Interview with Olivia Nava Co-founder and CEO, Juabar Location: Oakland, California / Tanzania “Anywhere where there is mobile money, there is a potential for services in delivery and market opportunities.” Juabar is a solar entrepreneurs’ network which has been based in Tanzania since 2013. The three-person company behind the initial model, of a solar panel …

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Permanent link to this article: https://e4sv.org/juabars-media-hubs-bring-womens-health-tv-swahili-sesame-street-rural-tanzania/

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