Selling solar to keep Tanzania connected

Juabar leases solar-powered charging stations to rural Tanzanians to provide electricity and create sustainable micro-businesses.

Access to electricity is scarce in Tanzania’s rural areas, but 60 per cent of the population living in these areas require electricity to charge their mobile phones and other devices. Juabar’s solar charging kiosks aim to provide a sustainable solution using renewable energy while providing a business opportunity to Tanzania’s rural population.

Juabar, which means solar bar, is the brainchild of US entrepreneurs Olivia Nava and Sachi DeCou. The two teamed up to build a franchise network of micro-business owners who offer phone charging services and a trade point from which to offer other retail services.

As of this year, over 30 entrepreneurs have been kitted out with a Juabar kiosk, a mobile, light-blue, small wagon able to charge up to 20 mobile devices at any given time or a variation of other devices.

“Our kiosks are an ‘instant business’ ready for dedicated entrepreneurs to operate as part of the Juabar network and delivered with everything an entrepreneur needs to immediately start their charging business,” the company writes of the product.

The franchisees, called “Juapreneurs”, receive support from the company in the form of financing, technical support and sales training. Each kiosk costs $600 and Juapreneurs pay a monthly lease fee to operate it.

Juabar hopes to expand the list of services offered to include Wi-Fi access, information and media centres, as well as solar-powered grain mills.