EFP Energy Solutions Limited

EFP Energy Solutions Limited: Modernise and commercialise rural solar phone charging businesses

Uganda
Year Founded:
2015
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

EFP Energy Solutions sets up portable phone charging micro businesses to charge phones, sell air time scratch cards and engage in mobile money services, on payment plans to Uganda's rural poor. These products improve wellbeing and create potential for diversifying into other services.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if off grid rural populations could charge their phones at any time of the day?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Rural populations lack affordable and reliable sources of electricity for charging phones, denying many people the full benefits of increased economic activity, banking services, information, to be derived from phone use. Some rural trading centres receive paraffin and/or petrol once a week, Power fluctuations and outages, power thefts resulting from illegal power connections, most notable in rural areas impedes economic and social growth.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Grid Connected phone charging businesses already spend $14/month on electricity. By spending this on a commercial solar phone systems they increase daily household income, and have better light to work by. We recruit micro-entrepreneurs to offer these life-changing technologies, they charge a fee for phone charging and related services to rural households in their local region. We train them; provide a start-up stock, and business promotional support to advertise their businesses. Once the entrepreneurs increase their daily income and experience better quality of life they expand their businesses to include other products (like solar lanterns, solar home systems, mobile money). This model can be replicated in grid conneted areas.

Awards

The company has not won any awards.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

While undertaking a solar feasibility study at Naweyo Health Centre3 in Butaleja District, Paul walked for over 30 minutes to the nearest town to charge his phone. When the town was faced with a power outage, and paraffin and kerosene scarcity, no running generators, he walked to the another town, an hour’s walk away, only to often encounter the same challenges, Paul saw the opportunity of introducing commercial solar phone charging businesses in community, he instantly recognised that most shops in hard to reach rural areas are not connected to the grid and discovered what a solar lighting and commercial phone charging system could do for the community businesses and decided to invest in a 10 phone solar charging and lighting system.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Since 2012 EFP Energy Solutions founders have collectively sold over 1,000 solar lights across Uganda with a network of partner retail outlets and Village Savings groups offering the different products to their members. This means – the company has removed an unsafe and expensive fuel from the homes of more than 5,000 people; over 6,000 children can study improving their chance at a better education; 5,000 families now enjoy over 6 more hours of light daily to study, work and socialise; average customer savings of $150USD/year can now be spent on education, clean water, and other health products. By the end of 2020, we aim to be in Uganda’s 40 largest rural trading centres, and to grow until every rural area has access to our commercial phone charging entrepreneurs and life-changing products. By that time, a network of over 2000 phone charging businesses will have impacted 5 million peop

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

To impact over 5million people by 2020 with sustainable growth, we must both spread geographically and expand our product offering. Expanding into 15 more districts by 2017 will prove our adaptability in new regions which will form the foundation for a franchised solution growing into Uganda’s 40 largest rural trading Centres, and possibly adopted world-wide. We will also continue to trial new products in established cities, as is currently being performed in Busolwe Sub County, which will only be rolled out across other regions once deemed a successful and appropriate product.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Within one year of establishing a solar charging business in each new rural trading centre that we launch, partnerships will be made with distributors to offer other solar products, increasing the market share of the entrepreneurs in the local solar industry. We will focus on improving identification of commercially viable businesses, monitoring and evaluation of business partners so as to break-even in each rural trading centre within one year.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

We have pieced together successful approaches by those tackling energy poverty, and essential services distribution. We are mentored by many of these organisations. In ‘access to energy’ we have learnt from the distribution success of AB Mantra, Solar Now, M-Kopa Solar, and Barefoot Power Uganda (all the company founders are previous associates of Barefoot Power Uganda) and built on this by using local partnerships to improve customer management. We have then gone one step further by undertaking feasibility studies on solar powering of rural health facilities.
Team

Founding Story

EFP Energy Solutions was founded by 3 freinds, all originally associated with Barefoot Power Uganda. In August 2015, while undertaking a solar feasibility study at Naweyo Health Centre3 in Butaleja District, the health centre was not connected to the grid, so Paul walked for over 30 minutes to the nearest town to charge his phone. When the town was faced with a power outage, and paraffin and kerosene scarcity, no running generators, he walked to the another town, an hour’s walk away, only to often encounter the same challenges, Paul saw the opportunity of introducing commercial solar phone charging businesses in community trading and rural centres.

Team

We have a combined 10 years’ experience in entrepreneurship, sustainability, renewable energy, economics, microfinance, and rural development. We structure our managerial roles as executive officer, operations and finance. We are currently recruiting electrical and solar technicians to support our expansion. Our business mentors have complementary skills in marketing, fundraising, legal, strategy, Uganda’s renewable energy markets and governance.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

I heard about the Uniliver Awards through an online search on solar projects.

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Co-founder of EFP Energy Solutions, in the capacity of Operations Manager.

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Gender Equality, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Climate Action.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

We have established 5 distrbution outlets in Kampala's urban areas, worked with RIIs Coffee farmers in Buikwe District to supply lamps to the coffee outgrowers, we have worked with The Aged Family Uganda, supplying the organisation's beneficiaries portable solar lighting and phone charging systems.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

We are working with Global Business Labs Uganda, that is providing mentorship, marketing support and network building.

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