We believe that by helping to establish an entrepreneurs business instead of giving a community solar lights for free, the community will have light for a lifetime. This can only be made possible through access to fair and flexible finance.
As for any business, most start off with equity investment or taking on debt. However, for the 1.7 billion unbanked people in the world, this is not an option.
This is where microfinance plays its part.
We know the entrepreneurial spirit can be within anyone so we are here to facilitate that journey for many.
We have been offering credit to the solar entrepreneurs we work with for several years. This credit is used to cover the upfront cost of solar light stock, as we often work with people who want to start a business but cannot afford one box of solar lights to start with.
In Malawi, where we work with a network of Agents (solar entrepreneurs), the Agents run their own businesses across large territories in Malawi. They have invested themselves into the businesses but need finance to achieve their ambitious growth plans and journey to profitability. It is possible for the Agents to access loans from banks or even existing microfinance institutions (MFI). In both cases, the astronomical interest rates and geographical availability of the loans make these options not suitable.
That is why we created our own cooperative, Financing Energy Business Cooperative (FEBCO). It is the first energy focused cooperative in Malawi. It is run by the Agents, for the Agents. They will be able to run this cooperative together and access all the finance they need to scale their businesses and reach as many people as possible with clean and affordable energy. Most importantly, the loans will be at the most affordable rate available in Malawi.
With this access to finance, we can ensure local entrepreneurs, from any background, can transform their own countries for the better.